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%).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!