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Expert Advice: How To Fix A Broken Vape

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Vape pen not working?

We understand just how irritating it can be to own a vaping device and not be able to use it.

Whether the vape juice isn’t vaporising fully, the tank is leaking, or the entire device simply refuses to switch on, this can be a deeply frustrating experience.

Vaping devices, though they are relatively straightforward machines, can still develop a range of technical and physical issues.

Before taking it straight to a technician, it's always better to find out what exactly is causing these issues and see what you can do to solve them.

This process is actually very simple, so long as you have some clarity about how your vape works and a little guidance.

Once you know exactly what you’re looking for you’ll be able to separate the simple-fixes from the serious issues.

We've put together a guide explaining why your vape may not be working and letting you know how to go about getting it back into top shape.


Check The Battery

First, make sure you have a fully charged battery.

Check if the charger you are using is the right one and whether it is properly connecting to your vaping device.

Most devices will give you a signal to show that the connection is correct and charging, usually a flashing LED or a prompt on a digital screen for those higher-tech devices.

If this is relevant to your device, look for these signals to know how to proceed.

Unfortunately if it does seem that your charger has stopped working, odds are you’ll be needing a technician’s help.

If charging doesn't resolve the issue then it could be an internal connection problem.

Ensure the battery terminal that connects to the vape device's tank is well-positioned.

Find a cotton bud and wipe away any dirt or spilled e-liquid on the battery terminals, then fit it back with the battery itself, making sure that the battery is facing the right direction.

If the ideas above don't work and you strongly believe the issue is with the battery, find a technician to examine its capacity. Alternatively, if you’re convinced that it’s a faulty battery, buying a replacement could be the answer.



It may seem obvious, but are you sure you’ve turned your device on?

Many vapes will require a sequence of button presses in order to switch on correctly, mostly to prevent accidental firing.

Many will require you to press the firing button several times fast in succession, often somewhere between three and six times.

There’s a chance you may have pressed the firing button an insufficient number of times, or indeed too many and have switched it on and off before taking a drag.

If you have a user manual for your device read it carefully to make sure you are operating it correctly.

If you’re still having trouble operating your device’s controls, there are many videos online for specific brands that can guide you with this.


The Chimney Has A Problem

The chimney is a general term for the hardware at the very top of a vape, usually encompassing the tank, the coil, the airflow and the drip-tip.

With so many components that can be adjusted, swapped out and replaced at will, there’s a plethora of issues that can arise in your device’s chimney.

Any of these could be the cause of a vape suddenly ceasing to work.

A crooked tank is a common problem that occurs when you drop or knock your device.

This damage can also happen to a vape held loosely in a bag or in a pocket, as a blow of some kind could simply knock the tank out of sequence.

Rotate your device as you inspect the tank, making sure it’s in good condition and that the tank isn’t slanted.

Some damage will be repairable, with connection issues between the coil and the battery or the tank and the drip-tip often just requiring a simple disassembly and reassembly.

Other problems however may be less easy to fix, and unfortunately may require a replacement. This is also the time to check for any potential leaks in the tank.

Some tanks come with an adjustable 510 connector pin.

Adjustable pins allow for an even greater range of versatility and customisation amongst devices, but they do carry the chance of slipping out of place.

If your device has a 510 pin, check to make sure it's adjusted to fit properly.

It’s also worth noting that e-liquid can sometimes leak through a loose connector, clogging the coil connection and preventing full firing.

Un-clog the connection and tighten your coil accordingly. Don’t just do it once either; make it a habit to clean all the connecting terminals of your device so that it works optimally.

This kind of regular maintenance will extend the lifespan of your device and avoid unnecessary disappointments in the first place.

If your hit tastes burnt or otherwise is not meeting your standards, there’s a good chance that your coil has burnt out.

Many coils only have an operational life of two to four weeks, with lower-resistance coils lasting even less than this.

This is why they tend to come in packs of two or more. If your device comes with replacement coils, just take a new one and replace what's in there.

Make sure you prime your new coil properly before using it to avoid an immediate burn-out.

For those devices with tanks that don’t have the option to swap out the coil, you'll unfortunately have to replace the entire tank.


The E-Liquid Is Leaking

For a vape device to work properly the e-liquid has to fill the tank to the recommended levels.

Overfilling creates a pool of liquid that is impossible to vape, resulting in a range of performance issues including leaking.

Leaking is also an indicator that you may have overtightened your device, screwing everything in too firmly and preventing the proper flow of e-liquid.

It’s tricky, but you’ll want to make sure your device is well threaded yet not overly tight.

Another cause of leakages is dirty, dislocated or damaged O-rings. O-rings help to form a seal around the tank specifically to prevent leakage.

This can be solved by readjusting, cleaning, or replacing the affected O-ring.

Some vape tanks come with replacement O-rings for exactly this purpose. Otherwise you may need to purchase them separately.

We should reiterate that it’s a good idea to make sure your tank is not cracked.

Vape tanks are made with toughness and longevity in mind, designed to withstand both impact and frequent high temperatures, but they aren’t invincible.

If it is cracked, your tank is sadly no longer safe to use.

If possible remove the coil, the drip-tip and anything else useful from the chimney before throwing the tank away.

If you don’t have a replacement handy you’ll need to scour the market to find a one, or potentially an entirely new vape device.

Always remember to handle your device carefully to avoid cracks and store it upright to avoid easily prevented leaks.


Not all vape devices are the same. Some are rechargeable while others are disposable.

If you are using a disposable vape device that has suddenly stopped working, chances are that its batteries are dead.

But what if you’ve only used it once?

Unfortunately many disposable vape devices are built with a pre-set battery capacity that stays switched on from the moment you start using it.

As soon as you take the first puff that clock is ticking down. Because they are not rechargeable, most disposables will require you to use them continually within this period.

So, even if you’ve only used it once and you’ve got plenty of e-liquid in the tank, your device might not have any battery power left.


Strange Noises

If your device is making a particularly loud gurgling or crackling noise, there’s a good chance you are using a flooded device.

Devices can flood for a range of reasons:  you may have shaken it too vigorously, your draws could be too long, you may have overfilled the tank, or you could have screwed the tank in either too loosely or too tightly.

Flooding is one of the most common issues to plague vape devices.

There are a few different ways to correct this kind of fault.

Cleaning and changing the coil, draining the e-liquid and cleaning the tank, removing the drip tip and making sure it is free from detritus, are all first-step solutions for these strange noises.

For a comprehensive list of fixes and an idea of why these things happen, see our guide to strange vaping noises here.


Bad Tastes

If you are trying to enjoy your vape but can't because it has a horrible burnt taste, then there’s a few things that could have gone wrong.

First, you might be using the tank immediately after filling it.

Ideally, you should let your tank settle for about five minutes after a refill to let the e-liquid properly soak the wick and atomizer.

Be certain to also prime the coil first before installing it. You do this by dripping a few drops of e-liquid onto the coil and ports.

Burnt coils can be an absolute nightmare, ruining both your experience and a perfectly good coil, so be sure to treat your coils correctly and use your device properly.

If your hit tastes particularly stale, there’s a good chance that the e-liquid you’re using has gone bad.

As a general rule e-liquid has a good shelf life, remaining stable and of high quality for roughly two years from bottling.

This isn’t a completely fool-proof rule however; there’s always a chance that there has been an issue in production or storage that has caused your e-liquid to go off.

In general, keep an eye on the smell and consistency of your e-liquid to avoid unpleasant experiences.



In this article we’ve addressed some of the most common causes behind a faulty vape, giving you the best possible approach to figuring out why your vape isn’t working.

Vaping devices are relatively straightforward pieces of technology, something that is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to diagnosing technical problems.

For the most part identifying and solving these issues can be done easily, with good practice and an understanding of your device helping you to overcome the most common setbacks.

Unfortunately this is not always the case and, from time to time, you will have to take your device to a specialist technician or get a new vape entirely.

These moments are a shame, but with the right knowledge you’ll be able to avoid them as best you can, making sure that your vaping experience stays firmly in your own hands.

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