11 Vape Device Problems & How to Fix Them [Without Visiting a Vape Shop]

illustration of vape pen problems

Look, I’d love to tell you that your day-to-day vaping will be blissfully devoid of any issues and vape problems.

I would. I’d love to be able to tell you that.


Life doesn’t work like that. And neither does vaping.

But I’ll tell you this — whatever vaporizer problems you’re having [with your cartridge or your battery], you probably don’t have to run to your local vape shop to get them fixed. In fact, nine times out of ten, you just need a bit of guidance to fix that vape malfunction that’s been bothering you.

So here’s that guidance.

This is a pretty long post, so if you’re strapped for time, here’s a quick cheat sheet of common problems with vapes:

  1. Your device won’t turn on? Check for common issues such as charge, fire button, and connection.
  2. Throat hit not enough? Increase temperate re settings, up nicotine levels, and check your cartridge.
  3. Vape cartridge/tank leaking? Check for cracks, look at o-rings [if tank], use thicker e-liquid.
  4. E-juice leaking through air holes? Use thicker e-juice, increase temperature incrementally.
  5. Getting ‘No Atomizer’ message? Recheck the connection, clean the firing pin with isopropyl alcohol.
  6. OLED screen not working? Restart the device, press and hold all buttons for 5 seconds [exit stealth mode].
  7. It’s not charging? Use the product’s charger, clean the charging terminals, use a new charger.
  8. Vape juice flying into your mouth? Lower temp on the device, point away from the mouth when hitting.
  9. Vape juice tastes burnt? Lower temperature. Try changing the coil because it might be burnt out.
  10. E-cigarette making gurgling noises? Clean the tip; reduce the time pressing the fire button; drain the tank.
  11. Can’t taste your e-liquid? Blow out the central chimney; change your coil; switch e-liquid flavor.

Got everything you need from that?


If not, read the full post to find additional tips and tricks and troubleshooting that will help you fix the main parts of a vape battery and improve your vaping experience.

And we’ll start with the number #1 vape device trouble… the damn thing not turning on!

#1 My Vape is Not Working (Won’t Turn On)

You’re clicking the damn thing, and it’s just not showing any signs of life.

You turn to the true and tried method of thumping it against the side of your desk, but no luck — it’s as dead as a doorknob.

Here are a few things you might want to check:

  1. The power button shenanigans — some products start with a single click on the button. Others need three clicks. And then others need five clicks (damn child safety features — what would we do without them). Try all three versions of this intricate power dance, and remember to check your user manual to see if your manufacturer came up with yet another different way to turn on the pen. [All our devices start with either three clicks or five clicks — just so you know!]
  2. Maybe it’s not charged? — just maybe? Did you check? Do so right now – it might save you the trouble of trying everything else on the list. Also, if this is a new pen you’ve got there, chances are that it will need a full charging cycle before you turn it on. These things come out of the factory as empty as a church on a weekday. (Also, check out this post on how to extend the life of your vape battery if you want it to last longer.)
  3. Connection issues — no, I’m not talking about your phone. I’m talking about that little pin [connection plate] that connects your vape battery to your tank/pod/cartomizer. Recheck the pin — if it’s dirty, use a cotton bud to clean it. If it’s receded, try to pull it up by a millimeter or two. Tweezers will work here, but you can also make use of a paper clip. Simply position a paperclip under the pin and wiggle it until the pin comes up a bit.

If none of these work, it might be time to replace your battery. You know, these things have an expiration date (not really — they have a predetermined number of charges; maybe you’re there already?). If it’s not that (and it’s a new pen), the problem might be that you’ve received a dud. This happens — contact the seller to request a replacement.

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#2 I’m Not Getting the Hit That I’m After

Of course, the hit being either the nicotine hit or the throat hit (which is important for beginners because it reduces cigarette cravings).

Here’s what you do to solve this particular bag of problems:

  1. Use a high-powered battery — low-powered batteries can’t keep up with you! They produce a wisp of vapor, so of course, you feel cheated out of both the nicotine and the throat hit experience. Get yourself a 40W vaporizer, and you’ll solve most of your problems.
  2. Up your nic levels — you can’t go from cigarettes to a 3ml/nic liquid. You just can’t — you’ll never get the experience you’re looking for that way. Up that level to around 9ml, and you should see the difference in both nic experience and throat hit.
  3. Use the device properly — most problems stem from people not using them the right way. When you inhale, make your drags long and steady; keep the vapor in your mouth; inhale it into your lungs, and then exhale. Remember — this is not a regular cigarette. You’ll need to change your angle of approach a lil’ bit.
  4. Your tank might be busted — or your coils. Replace the coil and see if you have the same issues. If not, then the coil you were using was a dud. It happens.
  5. Switch up your vape juice — some vape juices are just not that good at delivering nicotine or throat hits. Try something else, especially if you’ve been using your e-liquid for a long time and now you’ve just gotten too used to it.

If none of this works, you might need to upgrade to nicotine salt e-juice. This type of liquid is much better suited for vapers who want a powerful nicotine/throat hit.

#3 My Tank is Leaking


Is there anything worse than reaching into your pocket only to find it covered in sticky vape juice? Bye bye, clean wallet. So long, new smartphone. Sayonara, now slippery keys!

Leaky tanks were the bane of my existence… until I figured out a few fixes:

  1. Don’t leave your device lying on its side — that vape juice is gonna seep no matter how tight and bolted everything is, especially if you leave it like that for hours. So, tank side up, whenever possible.
  2. Check to see if everything fits nice and snug — double-check your top cap and bottom cap to make sure that they are tightly screwed on.
  3. Is your vape juice too thin? — cause it just could be… and if it is to think for your set-up, you’re gonna have to add a few drops of VG to the mix next time.
  4. Maybe it’s time to replace those O-rings — these little rubber rings deteriorate over time. Make sure to replace them if you notice a break or a snag in one of them.

None of these malfunction fixes are doing it for you? Well, it just might be the time to invest in a new tank — that one seems to be busted. Good news, though — most new tanks have leak prevention tech built in, so this type of issue won’t be plaguing you again.

#4 E-Juice Leaking Through the Airflow Holes

Same end problem — different cause. And, different solutions.

When your e-juice is leaking through the airflow holes, it doesn’t have to be that the issue is in the tank — the issue might be in the pressure or the juice that you’re using.

So let’s check out the solutions:

  1. Use thicker vape juice — or, you know, don’t leave your device exposed to direct sunlight for any amount of time because that will cause the juice to become more viscous. The right temp for e-juice is room temperature – higher temperatures are not good.
  2. Use the right gear for the right style of vaping — that means D2L tanks for D2L (direct to lung) vaping, and M2L tanks for M2L (mouth to lung) vaping. Airflow holes are built specifically to fit the style of the pen, and if you’re using it wrong, they will start to leak.
  3. Increase wattage incrementally — your coil might be wicking way more than you are evaporating. Go to higher voltage so that your wick is not completely soaked even after you take a hit – higher temperatures and faster evaporation usually solve this.
  4. Empty your tank before flying on a plane — high altitude messes up the pressure in every electronic cigarette. That’s why it’s always best to fly with an empty tank.

#5 I’m Getting a ‘No Atomizer’ Message

An ‘atomizer’ in this context is a coil. What your product is telling you is that it won’t fire because it doesn’t have the appropriate tech connected to the battery.

But you’re staring at the coil. So what gives?

Most of the time, it’s just your software being stupid, so try some of these obvious vape pen fixes:

  1. Unscrew your tank — and then screw it back and try again. That’s it — this usually does the trick, and will save you the headache of dissembling everything.
  2. Check your connection — that little pin at the top of your battery — when you screw the tank on, is it touching the other pin? It should. If it’s not, try lifting it a bit.
  3. Clean your coil and connection — sometimes, there’s just too much muck on your gear for the power to go through. Use a cotton bud to clean everything before trying again.

#6 My Pen’s OLED Screen is Blank

You might be tempted to write off your vape when this happens.


It usually comes down to the stealth mode being active, especially with new pens.

Here’s what you can try:

  1. Press the power button three times — this should force the pen to give some indication of life — at least force it to show a blinking light — as it will usually force it to go into the menu mode.
  2. Hold all buttons at the same time for three seconds — the same thing — if this is stealth mode you’re dealing with, this should force it to close.
  3. Check the user manual —  manufacturers always try to one-up each other. If your screen is blank and the two tips above are not working, check if there isn’t a different button combination that you’re supposed to press.

None of these tips are working?

Might be that your wiring is busted. If you’ve dropped your device recently, the wires that run to the OLED screen might be a bit finicky. Before you toss your device away, take it to the shop and have an electrician check it out.

#7 My Charger is Not Working

You’re looking forward to spending the next few hours with your device — just as soon as it charges. But then you notice something — it’s not charging at all… the light is completely out! And you’ve plugged it in hours ago.

What could it be?

Well, it could be a couple of things, such as any one of these common faults with chargers:

  1. You’re not using the right charger — your best bet at successful charging is to use the charger that came with your device. Even if you can’t see the difference between two chargers (or two USB cables) there’s a chance that something inside might be a smidge different — and that smidge can be the cause of your device not charging. You can read this post to get the info on how to properly charge 510 vape pens.
  2. Your terminals are obstructed — with dust particles, gunk, or ketchup (hey, it happens — don’t judge). Use a cotton bud to clean those terminals and then give charging another go.
  3. Charging terminals are bent — the little rods inside can bend to either side. Make sure that they are not touching, and if they’re out of place, use a small tool to gently edge them into the right position.
  4. The charger/cable are busted — check your charger (or your USB cable) to see if the problem lies there. If it does, charge your device with any charger that will do the job, but make sure to order a replacement charger from the manufacturer.
  5. Check your power source — your outlet might be busted so that’s also one of the first things to take a look at.

Recommended reading: Ultimate Guide to Vape Pen Batteries

#8 Hot Juice is Flying into My Mouth

Auch — that’s not pleasant. 

And the technical term for it is spitback… and it’s usually accompanied by very loud crackling and popping noises. This means that the coil is cooking up your choice vape juice so hard, some of it flying out the chimney and hitting you straight in the top of the inside of your head!

  1. Reduce your airflow — as you get more liquid onto your wick, it should cool it down so that you don’t experience any spitback. This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a shot.
  2. Point the mouthpiece away from your face when you hit the fire button — spitback is only mildly unpleasant when it hits you on the nose or the lips. So point it away from your face when you first hit the fire button — a bit of warm e-juice that gets into your mouth will instantly cool and you won’t even feel it. To stay safe, take slow, measured puffs.
  3. Invest in vape with spitback protection — high-quality newer devices have a little guard in the chimney that was designed to catch any spitback.

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#9 My Flavor Tastes Burnt

guy coughing after vaping
Choking on your vape is NOT what you signed up for…

Well, that’s no bueno — you definitely want to enjoy that chocolate chip flavor… and not the burnt variety.

Luckily, there are a few easy fixes for this malfunction that you can try out immediately.

Hint — the biggest culprit is definitely #1, so do that before trying anything else.

  1. Let your tank sit after filling it — especially if you just put in a new coil and you didn’t prime it (soak it with e-juice before putting it in). When you let your tank sit for a couple of minutes, gravity and osmosis do their job and soak that wick for you. This solves burnt tasting vapor nine times out of ten.
  2. Don’t hold the fire button for too long —  when you do, you’re basically blasting your vape juice to smithereens.
  3. Change your coil — if the damage is done, it’s done. Burnt-out coils need to be replaced — thankfully, you should have a couple of spares in your kit.

#10  My Pen Vape is Making Gurgling Noises

Gurgling noises are almost exclusively a sign of a flooded tank or vape cartridge.

A flooded tank simply means that you didn’t fill it correctly and now there’s vape juice in places where there shouldn’t be any vape juice.

If you encounter this error, try the following:

  1. First thing, remove the drip tip and blow through it — if there’s any liquid in there, this should help you get rid of it. If it’s caked in, use a q-tip and a bit of isopropyl alcohol to clean it out. If you’re using carts with cannabis oil, this will be a common reason, so make sure to double check this because oil cartridges are the worst.
  2. Drain the tank — after draining it, soak up the excess juice with a paper tissue. Fill the tank back up (correctly this time), and you should be good to go.
  3. Run the tank through hot water — same as above, empty it, clean it, and then run it under hot water. Make sure that everything is dry before using it again. The best way to do it is to let it sit for a day to dry out naturally.

One piece of advice – if your disposable vape is gurgling, it’s better to throw it out than try to fix it. Disposable vapes have a lot of problems… and none that are worth fixing when the cost is that low.

#11 I Can’t Taste My Vape Juice Anymore

This can sometimes happen with older tanks. 

Simply remove the drip tip and blow (gently) through the center tubing. This should stir up the juice and release more flavor.

However, in most cases, this is down to you using your preferred e-liquid for too long a getting a bad case of vaper’s tongue. Essentially, this juice will not really work for you for a while because your taste buds and olfactory nerves are now used to it. The best solution here is to switch things up for a bit — try a different quality juice [for example, custard!], and come back to this one after a few days.

All Your Vape Device Issues — Solved

At least, I hope they are.

Sometimes, there’s no alternative but to chuck a bad pen and get a better piece of equipment. These things do have a lifespan, you know.

Batteries fizzle out. Heating elements on coils get busted. Vape cartridges die. It happens.

But if it’s a new pen, don’t give up on it until you’ve tried everything from the list above. These common reasons for vape failure are easily solvable so don’t throw in the towel just yet. And if that doesn’t work, leave a comment with your question here and I’ll try to help!

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Best part? You’re not risking anything because all our gear is covered by our

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10 thoughts on “11 Vape Device Problems & How to Fix Them [Without Visiting a Vape Shop]

  1. IvanS says:

    Hey Sean,

    definitely send an email at support@thekindpen.com.

    Our team will help you troubleshoot the device, and will have other suggestions if that’s not possible.

    So sorry you’re experiencing problems, btw — shoot us that email so we can get that sorted out!

  2. IvanS says:

    Hi Michael

    Bummer that you’re having issues with your vape pen – may I ask which model it is? I might be able to dig up something for you.

    Regardless, my advice is to shoot us an email at support@thekindpen.com. The team will take care of you there.

    And sorry for the hassle. Although rarely, these things do happen – we have a tight QA process but duds sometimes wiggle their way through. We do our best to sort it out ASAP.

    • DanA says:

      Hi Christine, so sorry to hear you’re having trouble with Breezy.

      Can you please contact our support team? That particular pen comes with a lifetime guarantee, so we’ll make it right either way.

      Again, sorry about this!

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