12 E-Cigarette Problems and How to Fix Them

Updated: April 2020

Vape shops do a lot more than just sell.

For many vapers, vape stores are their first port of call when they have a problem. The enthusiasts in these shops are often experts in diagnosing and fixing problems with e-cigs – and this expertise can be essential in helping new vapers switch from smoking to vaping.

But at the time of writing, vape shops are shut around the country due to the ongoing Coronavirus emergency. Fortunately, though, most e-cig problems can be easily sorted with just a little bit of guidance.

So we’ve reviewed and improved our vape troubleshooting guide to help you resolve your issues, stay off cigarettes and carry on vaping.

1. Not getting enough of a nicotine hit

Many e-cigarettes deliver nicotine more slowly than cigarettes.

Because of this, you may need a higher level of nicotine in your e-liquid to get the same effect as a cigarette, so try switching to a higher strength e-liquid. Do note that strength is usually marked as either mg (e.g. 1.8 mg) or percent (1.8%).

Bottles of Halo Vapour Co e-liquid.

ii. Using a low powered vape battery

The type of device you are using can make a big difference to the nicotine hit you get. If you are using, for example, an old-style CE5 clearomiser with an EGO battery, you can expect both less nicotine and less flavour than you would get with a modern tank or pod system.

If you’re using a basic tank, a good step up is the Aspire PockeX. While not the newest kit on the market, this incredibly popular all-in-one device provides a super vape and throat hit, and remains popular with both our customers and our staff.

If you want something with a bit more oomph, you might want to try out the Coolfire Ingot. The latest in the popular Coolfire range, this produces up to 50 watts of power, and works well with the Aspire Nautilus 2.

At the other end of the scale (albeit suitable for more advanced users!), the Innokin MPV 5 Kit provides 120 watts of power and offers a superb vape. This device is very suited for heavy users, coming with a 5200 mAh battery that can last for days, and is best for vapers who are either experienced or prepared to learn how to use a more advanced device.

iii. Using the device incorrectly

If you are new to e-cigarettes, you may simply not be using the device correctly.

Most tobacco cigarette smokers draw short drags straight to their lungs.

Vapers, however, tend to take a long drag into their mouths, and then draw it into their lungs.

We find taking long, very gentle drags produces a better nicotine hit.

iv. Weak Battery

Your battery may simply just be running out of power. Try switching to a fully charged battery and see if it makes a difference.

If you are using a variable wattage device, try turning up the power. Don’t overdo it, through, as too much power can burn the coil.

Check your coil. If you are using a coil with a low resistance (measured in ohms) you will need more power. You may need a more powerful battery, or you could try a coil with a higher resistance.

For more information see our Guide to Vape Batteries. 

v. Tank Issues

Your tank may need a new coil, or it may be flooded. See below for the solutions!

vi. Type of e-liquid

Most vapers who need a strong nicotine hit use regular 10ml e-liquids. An alternative is nicotine salts, and many users find these give a stronger, quicker nicotine hit than regular ‘freebase’ e-liquids.

2. Not getting enough of a throat hit

i. Using the wrong e-liquid

All e-liquids maintain a balance between throat hit and vapour production. The exact throat hit/vapour production depends on the ratio of vegetable glycerine (VG) to propylene glycol (PG).

This is usually displayed on the label as a ratio e.g. VG:PG 50:50, which stands for 50% vegetable glycerine and 50% propylene glycol.

Propylene glycol (PG) leads to a greater throat hit, while vegetable glycerine (VG) leads to greater vapour production.

If the throat hit is too weak, you may need an e-liquid with more PG (propylene glycol), such as Halo Vapour Co. 10ml. If it is too strong, you may need an e-liquid with more VG (vegetable glycerine).

Different e-liquid bottles.

ii. Using the wrong device

Again, some devices produce a stronger throat hit than others.

Tank and pod systems generally produce more throat hit than cigalikes (e-cigs which closely resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes).

At the other end of the scale, some modern tanks have massive airflow. If you have these set to wide open, you may find the vape too airy to provide a decent throat hit.

If a good throat hit is important to you, it’s hard to do better than the Aspire PockeX.

iii. Flooded tank

Alternatively, your tank may be flooded – see our section further down this post for tips and advice on what to do.

Also see:

The Vaper’s Guide to Throat Hit

3. Not getting enough vapour

i. Check the mouth piece

Mouth pieces can get clogged up with dust and dirt, especially if you vape outside a lot. This can be cleared simply by removing the mouth piece and blowing through it to remove the dust and dirt.

From a vape hygiene point of view, though, it is also a good idea to clean the mouth piece out on a regular basis.

ii. Check the air-flow

If the airflow holes are closed off completely, you may not get any vapour. Check the airflow controls, and open them up if needed.

iii. PG/VG Ratio

Again, the PG/VG ratio may not be quite right for you! Using an e-liquid with more VG may increase vapour production.

A man exhales vapour while holding a pod device to his mouth.

iv. Use a More Powerful Device

This is starting to sound repetitive 😉 But the more powerful the battery you are using, the more vapour you are going to get from it.

4. Battery Not Working

i. Is the battery turned on?

If you are using a manual battery, click it 3, 5 or 6 times (depending on the model you are using) to make sure it is turned on. The light on the button should flash when either being turn on or off.

ii. Connection issues

The issue could be the connection between your battery and your tank. Ensure that the battery terminal and end of your tank are clean. Using a cotton bud is sufficient enough, although you will find more detailed steps in our tank and battery articles.

If these steps don’t work, check out the battery troubleshooting section on our Guide to Vape Batteries.

5. Leaking Tank

i. Is the tank fitted correctly?

The best way to fit your tank is to give it a half turn anti-clockwise till you hear a click, then screw it on clockwise till it is firmly attached. This avoids mis-threading the tank.

ii. Check the o-rings

Some devices use o-rings in the tank to prevent leakage. If you have a leaking tank, it’s worth checking to see if the o-ring has moved or is broken. Some tanks come with replacement o-rings just in case this happens.

O-rings next to part of a tank.

iii. Change the tank

If the problem is repeating itself, you may simply need to change the brand of tank you are using.

Many modern tanks now come with leak prevention technology. For example, the Aspire Tigon uses a spring loaded valve to seal wicking holes in the coil while the tank is being filled, reducing the chances of leaking.

For more troubleshooting tips, see 13 Tips For Fixing a Leaking Tank.

6. Getting a burnt taste

i. Using the tank straight after filling

Have you let your e-liquid soak in? Most tanks should be left for five minutes or so to allow the e-liquid to soak into the wick and atomiser. If you haven’t done this, you will probably get a horrible burnt taste!

It’s also a good idea (and essential with sub-ohm coils) to prime the coil first.

To do this, simply drip a few drops of e-liquid directly onto the coil and into the any ports in the coil.

If you have a more advanced coil, check out the video below for additional priming tips:

ii. Time to Change the Coil!

Coils (that’s the part that heats up the e-liquid) don’t last for ever. Most modern e-cig tanks come with replacement coils, and you will usually need to change the coil every 1-2 weeks. If you use a tank, pod or cartridge with a fixed coil, you will need to replace the whole thing.

Tip: The longer you hold down the button, the quicker the coil will burn out. It’s best to give your e-cig a few seconds break between each puff.

Tasting a burnt coil.

iii. Insufficient E-liquid

Coils will usually have little holes which soak in the e-liquid from the tank. Always ensure there is enough liquid in the tank to cover these holes and prevent the coil from drying out.

For more tips see 7 Easy Ways to Stop Your Coil From Burning.

7. Not tasting the e-liquid

Try gently blowing back through the tank (don’t blow too hard or you will get e-liquid into the center tube, leading to flooding issues). This works surprisingly well at releasing flavour.

If that doesn’t work, it may be time to change the coil. As coils age, they degrade, and become less good at producing flavour.

Alternatively, you may have the dreaded vaper’s tongue! This can be usually solved by changing the e-liquid you are using.

If this doesn’t work, check out our post Vaper’s Tongue: What is it, What Causes it, and How To Cure It, which includes a description of the problem, possible causes and 9 solutions to try out.

A man points at his tongue.

8. Getting a dry/sore throat

The propylene glycol in e-liquid can cause a dry/sore throat. Most people find that a drink of water is enough to resolve the issue, but a very few amount of people may need to switch to a vegetable glycerine (VG) based e-liquid.

A woman holds her hand to her throat while clutching a glass of water.

9. Gurgling noises

If you get a gurgling noise when you are using your electronic cigarette, you probably have a flooded tank. Possible causes include:

  • shaking the tank too much or too vigorously
  • inhaling too hard from the tank
  • overfilling the tank
  • cross threading the tank (always give a half turn anti-clockwise first to ensure correct threading)
  • screwing the tank on to the battery too loosely or too tightly
  • pressing the button for too long before you inhale
  • incorrectly filling the tank (e.g. accidentally filling the center tube that runs through the tank)

If you are having problems filling your tank correctly, the video below shows how to fill different types of vape tanks:

Solutions to try include:

  • removing the drip tip and blowing through it
  • cleaning or changing the coil
  • draining the e-liquid and cleaning it with some tissue paper
  • cleaning the tank by running it under hot but not boiling water. If you do this, ensure the coil and tank are completely dry before using it again.

For more tank problems and solutions, see 14 Tanks Mistakes and How to Fix Them, or our Guide to Vape Tanks.

Cleaning a tank.

10. Charger Not Working

i. Are you using the right charger?

We have found that many problems are caused by using the wrong charger or plug. If you’re having problems, try using a Veho plug and AnyVape USB charging cable.

ii. Are the terminals clean?

Ensure that the charger and battery terminals are clean – if not, clean them with a cotton bud.

Also remember that electronic cigarette batteries are not designed to be used with tablet or phone chargers (again, electronic cigarette batteries should only ever be charged using the charger provided).

iii. Are the terminals touching?

Sometimes it’s possible for the charging terminals to be pushed in and not make proper contact.

iv. Check the USB charger

Before reporting an issue to your vape vendor, it’s worth doing some checking to isolate the problem. Charging with a different USB charger will identify whether the problem is with the battery or the USB charger.

11. Spitback

Spitback, in vaping parlance, is when your tank spits back a little bit of hot e-liquid. If you get a little pop when you first fire up your vape, you’ll know what we are talking about.

You can read more about spitback and its causes here, but essentially its an easy problem to solve. Simply point your vape away from you when you first fire it up!

If you continue to find spitback annoying, you might want to consider switching to a tank which is designed to eliminate it, such as the Eleaf Rotor Tank.

Eleaf Rotor tanks on mods.

12. Coughing when vaping

Some new vapers cough when they vape.

We’ve written extensively about this, but for a quick solution, try changing your vaping style.

Take a long slow drag, and ensure you do not breathe air in around the mouth piece.

For an in-depth guide, see: Why you cough when you vape, and how to stop it.

What common problems do you have? Let us know in the comments!

77 thoughts on “12 E-Cigarette Problems and How to Fix Them”

  1. One problem I have quite often is the damn drip tip coming loose. An easy fix to this is to remove the o-ring from the drip tip and wrap a very, very thin piece of tape that fits in the groove around a few times, and then put the o-ring back on. this produces a nice tight seal with my vivi-nova!

    If I win, I’ll take some delicious Butterscotch liquid please!

  2. From experience I would say a pack of baby wipes is the vapers friend, you can use these to keep the outsides clean, with a q tip on the inside of a wipe can clean out the battery channels and terminals quite nicely and ideal for anyone filling tanks etc to wipe away the drips and stuff.

    Try and keep clearo’s and tanks for the same flavours, strong flavours like menthol will permeate subsequent juices for a considerable time so keep a clearo for fruit flavours and a clearo or tank for menthols and mints as not all fruits appreciate well with a mint mix.

    And of course battery safety is a must, don’t leave a battery charging unattended for long periods and don’t leave ’em in sunlight say on the dash of your car.

    The advice on strength of nic is top notch in my opinion, if you are a very heavy former smoker then you really do need to start off on a high nic content, many people fail to crossover to e-cigs on this small but important aspect because the body is used to metabolising large amounts of nicotine and is suddenly starved of that level and goes into craving mode making life unpleasant, if you are a 20+ cigarettes a day person, a 3% or higher nic will match that and you can then wind down the nicotine levels over time. I tried e-cigs on the weaker content and found they didn’t work for me then my second try on 36mg cartomisers saw me move flawlessly in one go from one to the other, not even a craving once and I never looked back 😀

  3. Vikki Prichard

    one time i had a major panic as my battery wasnt charging yet it was only a month old. after googling for ages i came across a solution. when people screw the clearo on too tightly over time it can push the connector pin down. make sure that the battery is locked then using something small and not metal (i find a biro lid is perfect) VERY gently and carefully ease the connector pad up ever so slightly. you must be careful and gentle or you risk breaking your battery so i am giving fair warning. it only needs to be lifted a mm or 2, no more. you should find the battery charges again. also make sure you then dont continue to screw the clearo on too tight 🙂

    1. Thanks for the tip, haven’t had my evod long but couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting anything out of it-problem now solved!

    1. I dropped mine while riding my bike and when I found it it had been run over the clearomiser broke but the battery actually survived. I used some JB weld putty around the cracks to make sure it wouldn’t come apart and I am still using that battery.

  4. I soak my atomizers in vinegar for the night then rinse them thoroughly then let them air dry this can be done a few times and when I notice that it’s not lasting as long as the first few times then I change to a new one.Another thing I try before the vinegar soak is I crank my voltage to the highest possible and take a few puffs off it making sure not to inhale becasue it will taste burnt then go back to my normal voltage. I do all of this to extend the life of my atty, allowing me to use one atty a month instead of one a week.I Am on a fixed income so every dollar I can save is important

  5. I have an ego battery and I just got it about a month ago. It charged fine until now. When I screw it in, the light turns red and I let it sit for a day and when I come back and the light is green, I take it off and try to use it and it won’t even turn on. I hit the button 5 times and 6 times in a row fast and nothing is happening but when I plug it into the charger, the light on my battery lights up and everything. I even lifted up the center pin and let it charge for a day and it still won’t work. My charger charges my other ego battery perfectly fine and if anyone has any ideas feel free to throw them out there.

    1. Sounds Like a faulty chip My batteries have a 6 month warranty so I have tried disassembling batteries that have failed and it is never the battery cell it is always casue by 2 issues. 1)The cell wasn’t tight enough allowing it to move severing a wire or 2) The more common issue being the chip itself.
      I have not been able to fix these issues myself I have many battery cells If I could find battery covers and chips I could rebuild all my broken batteries giving me years of batteries. To protect against these issues is to buy from places that have a warranty longer then 1 month…

    2. Got exactly the same trouble, I have an Ego-II Battery with exactly this issue, so you are not alone. I think it may be a design flaw as the shop owner I got it from, cannot get any components for the Ego E-Vape units; i.e. Batteries, coils, tanks etc etc. So it looks like the whole Ego system is currently being re-designed. 🙁

      1. I have the same issue, I have got eGo-T battery and eLeaf clearomiser. I think there is problem with the twist on battery because it fits on my friends e-cig. Pls send me an email with solution.

  6. how long should i charge my evod e-cig?
    when i charged it with my laptops usb port the charger got hot and it was the first time i was charging it? is it ok for it to get hot when i use it?

  7. I have just purchased a Baccy electronic cigarette,I have charged the battery and filled the cigarette with the liquid to 1.6 mm mark,but the cigarette does not work. Any idea what the problem could be.

    1. Hi Edward, I had never heard of them before but just googled it – do you mean the iBaccy e-cigarette?

      If there are no lights on the battery it could be a battery issue. It could be an issue with the connection between the atomiser and the battery, or a dud atomiser. Your best option is probably to contact the vendor for support.

  8. I’ve just just started using an e-cigg, i noticed a air bobble in my tank every time i suck on it it didn’t do it when i first got it is it an problem or is ok.

  9. I have an EGO cigarette, it worked great until one day, when i charged it. I was releasing it from the charger, but then the power light on the cigarette just kept emitting light, like i was using it, but i couldn’t use it no matter what i tried. It kept emitting light until the battery was empty, so i tried recharging one more time, and i ended up with the same result. Can you guys think of any way to fix this?

  10. hi, i have a question. my e cig is the brand tsunami. it was working fine for a while, but now the battery wont work. i tried clicking the button 5 times and it did nothing. when i try to plug it into the charger, the light on the charger stays green. the battery doesnt light up no matter what i do. is the battery faulty or is there something i can do to fix it?

  11. Well i had just recently dropped mine :(( and the button had slightly gone in but i did get that out! Now it wont fire up! The light turns on so that works but no crackling sound? Is that going to be an expensive fix? Please tell me some good news lol!

    1. Hi Ashley, First if it is damaged (any denting or cracking), then we’d advise you not to use the device again as it could be unsafe (see https://www.ecigarettedirect.co.uk/ashtray-blog/2015/04/e-cig-battery-safety-infographic.html

      If it’s not visibly damaged, it could be a problem with the contacts. With some devices you can pull out the terminal to ensure it is making a contact – this might be worth a try, as it has solved the problem in the past for people with a similar problem. However, make sure you don’t use anything metal (maybe a toothpick).

      It might also be worth trying with a different clearomiser. If the problem is with the chip or the contacts between the battery and the terminal then it’s probably a gonner.

      It’s worth mentioning that fiddling with the internals can be dangerous, and would invalidate any product liability insurance.

  12. I just bought the Infinity vapour ecig I plug the battery in I filled it up with the e-liquid nothing at all the blue light comes on but no smoke does anybody have a clue thank you

  13. I have an eGo-T, and I’ve been having problems with it a lot lately. I turn it on by pressing the button five times. I hold the button down, it produces vapor for a few seconds then flashes five times. It doesn’t turn off, but stops working. Is there anyone who knows why?

    1. I have an ego CE4 Battery, well three of them all together. But one of them refuses to work unless I PRES IT 15 TIMES! Then it works! lol, and one of the others the silver band fell off and I kept wondering where all the grease/oil was coming from. It wasn’t until I looked closer the ejuice was oozing in between the battery and the clearomiser! lol – I liked the CE4 because it is simple to use, but very hard to find any about now, and I am not too happy about shopping on Amazon for them.

  14. I am having problems getting the atomizer head to unscrew so that i can refil my ego-T. How can i get it to twist off without breaking it?

  15. Pingback: 10 Tips For Fixing Leaking Clearomisers

  16. Hi, using aspire Atlantis having problem with juice tank can’t open for refill, it’s jammed .
    Few days didn’t use. And traveling by Airlines with this. Is that problem for weather or humidity???? Really can’t open for refill and use. Help me please….

  17. THANK YOU – my Fin wasn’t working after being charged. I cleaned it with a cotton swab as suggested AND IT WORKS! Such a simple thing but something I didn’t think of.
    GREAT POST AND HELPFUL – HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

  18. My ecig had stopped working. Came across this site, all my ecig needed was the 5 clicks to get it working again. Thank you for this advice

  19. Linda Hocking

    Hi there
    I use a Halo Aspire ecig and find I need to replace the coil quite frequently, at least twice a month. Is this normal? I wouldn’t say that I use it overly much to warrant having to change it so often. I also have to charge each battery every 24 hrs too, which seems excessive. Apart from that it has kept me off the cigarettes since January 1 2016, so I am very happy with it!

  20. Hi I am using a twisp clearo but it is not making the full potential amount of smoke that it supposed to. And I cant really taste the flavour.

  21. I Have a Vammo V7 With a Nautilus aspire tank.. but i dont get much vapor as i expected.. is it just the juce.?? or do i need differant coils. i have a 1.6 fitted now and have a1.8 spare one.. would more ohmm coil make the differance.??

  22. I find that coils already in new tanks I buy always last a lot longer than replacement coils I purchase. Why is this – are they superior in some way?

      1. Thanks! It’s definitely something I’ve noticed time and time again … especially with my Innokin iClear 16. No replacement coils ever last anywhere near the time the original ones do.

  23. Hello – I’m using a Tecc Arc 3 cigarette, and I seem to get the liquid in my mouth when I use it.
    It’s definitely producing a small amount of vape, but it seems to be leaking the liquid out of the mouthpiece for some reason? Also having difficulty unscrewing the bottom of it. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  24. My believe be simple Njoy ecig doesn’t flash when i click it but when iIplug it on charge it starts flashing blue from the button. The charger doesn’t have a light on it so I don’t know if its charged. Iv kept it on for like 2 hours when I took it of and try clicking it, it doesn’t work. And ive only got it a few weeks ago

  25. My mini Arc will not work when warm , recently I have had to put in fridge to get a vape all be it 2 Max after this. Very frustrated. Have had new coil, and filled. Seems to be a over heating prob. Unless I live in Iceland it wil not work! ! Help and advice please thank you x

  26. This is Rohith…. My ce4 battery is working well it is not attached..when it is attached it blinking 3 times while the button is pressed..I thought it battery problem but I charged fully..buy same problem is repeating…the smoke .. Thanks s not comming…can help with this problem….

  27. I have a ijust one it started to switch on its own so I removed the coil later when I put it on the charger its just showing a red light when I try to switch it on it won’t do anything please help

      1. Hi I bought ego-T electronic cigarette yesterday and it fall out my hand so I plug it to charge n the red light on n then green light come on so I take it off n I use it but I didn’t get anything from it so I plug it bk in the charge and green light comes on and blink 3 times after 5 second the green light come on and blink 15 times then I try pressin it 5 times but still nothing please help me

  28. I don’t know the name of my e cig but I have just changed the coil & am still getting a very burnt taste every time I use it , does this an I need a new atomiser?

  29. when I connected the battery and press the button to create vapour light is flashing 3 times but not create smoke…what’s wrong with my cigarette?
    plz give me a solution…

  30. I have a e-cigarette that is a istick 50 watt eleaf and it turns on automatically after I use it it turns on again and I have to unscrew the top to turn it off it ranges up to 50 kind of scares me what should I do?

  31. Hi. I had a Smok Vape Pen Plus for not even half a year I didn’t drop it anywhere, I took good care of it and now I have this problem where the button doesn’t press sometimes. For example, i’m in the middle of taking a hit and it just cuts off. Sometimes i press the button and it works just fine. Do you have any ideas how I can fix this problem? Thanks.

    1. Mine is just the opposite. The light just stays red forever yet It will work.
      I just don’t know how charged it is. I have three chargers and four Kanger evod Vapes. They are all doing this.

  32. what are the name of the funny little screws holding the bottom of my vape on.mine keep coming undone,,i need a screw driver

  33. Michael Andrew Duffy

    I’m trying to charge my 88 mod vape pen and nothing is happening , tried plugging it into the usb port on the TV as suggested but doesn’t do anything

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