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Three Reasons Why Your Coils Burn Out

Posted by Evelyn V. on October 16, 2017

Three Reasons Why Your Coils Burn Out

Table of contents - Click on the links below to skip around

  1. Three reasons why your coils are burning out
  2. When to replace coils
  3. Cycle e-juice regularly

If you're a long-time, veteran vaper, then you've most likely experienced the unfortunate taste of a burnt coil and wick. If you're still a bit new to the vape game, then it's quite possible you've gotten lucky and haven't burnt out a coil, yet.

  • Chain vaping - Taking multiple draws over a few seconds will dry out the wick faster than it can soak up e-juice.
  • Breaking in coils - New coils that are heated too high can pop or break.
  • E-liquid selection - E-juice high in sugar caramelizes the coil leading to a gunk buildup

Coil burn outs are somewhat dependent on the type of device you use. Following the tips below to ensure that you are healthy and ready for your next vaping session.

Chain vaping may be causing your coils to burn out

The most common reason that e-cigarettes and portable vaporizers burn out is that of chain vaping. Chain vaping is when a vaper takes multiple draws within a small time frame.

Taking multiple draws over a few seconds will dry out the wick faster than it can soak up e-juice. For a sub ohm vape tank especially, taking multiple hits does not allow the wick to soak up e-juice fast enough.

This also over stresses the battery and the coils. Coils are meant to be rapidly heated to a certain level to vaporize the e-liquid coursing through the wick, and then rapidly cool down when the battery is turned off. By keeping the battery turned on and the heat raised, the coil will burn out significantly faster (and the vape battery life will drain faster as a side effect).

Solution: Wait at least 10 to 20 seconds between pulls.

Not breaking in your new coil / wick may be causing your coils to burn out

Running high wattage through a brand new replacement coil will cause it to pop and immediately burn out, since the coil goes from having no current and heat to having extreme amounts of both. This can be prevented by following a few steps to break in your new coil.

  1. When using a coil and wick for the first time, apply the e-juice and let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Next, open the airflow and take a few draws without firing your mod. This is known as "priming" and the suction will spread juice into the dry parts of the wick.
  3. After the coil/wick is primed, simply start vaping with a lower wattage. This will help break in the coil.

You should always start at the lowest voltage necessary and slowly ramp it up over about an hour.

Solution: Keep wattage low when breaking in new coils/wicks.

The type of e-liquid that you're using may be causing your coils to burn out

The final reason a coil can burn out applies to MODs, portable vaporizers, and e-cigarettes alike, as it has to do with the vape juice you choose to use. E-liquids range in sugar content and VG/PG ratio.

High sugar content e-liquids can present a problem when it comes to long vaping sessions. When sugar is exposed to high heat, it'll instantly caramelize. Since e-liquid is only exposed to high heat on the coil, this means that some sugar will caramelize on the wick. This actually produces the same poor flavors that burning a wick will provide.

Solution: Avoid overly sweetened vape juices; they create gunk on your coils. While this doesn't instantly burn out a coil, it can significantly shorten the life of a coil. High VG content in e-liquids can create the same effect, as vegetable glycerin is far more viscous than propylene glycol. The VG can build up on the wick, causing it to burn out much faster. Be wary of the e-liquid you choose to use, and try to choose juices that'd lower sugar content and lower VG/PG ratios.

When should I replace my coils or wicks?

Take care of your coils to take care of yourself. Your health is important so we strongly recommend vaping on a clean set up. After all, we are inhaling vapor created by our coils so their hygiene should not be overlooked. Here are some guidelines to maintain an optimal vaping experience.

Dust builds up on coils that are exposed to air

If you haven't used your vape for a few weeks, consider changing the coils and wicks. Vape juice that's been sitting on your coils is exposed to dust and bacteria. This applies especially to rebuildable atomizers.

Dust is inevitable. The longer e-juice has been out of it's sealed bottle, the more prone it is to acquire dust and any other floating particles in the air over time.

It is the safest to vape e-juice that has been dripped straight out of the sealed bottle. Imagine firing up an RDA after two weeks of sitting on your desk. Take the safer route and replace your wicks with freshly dipped vape juice for a cleaner experience.

Black residue buildup on coils

Sugar in vape juice caramelizes and builds up a black gunk on your vaping coils. This carmelization process happens faster with higher sugar e-juices but will ultimately affect all coil set ups over time.

It is recommended you replace your coils when your coils acquire a decent amount of buildup. Factors such as vaping frequency and e-liquid selection will determine how quickly your coils become compromised.

Check your coils once a day for buildup and replace them when needed.

Replace e-juice regularly

E-liquids are perishable and should be treated like food and water. We here at Vapebox suggest changing out old juices with new ones. Ingredients in vape juice last longer than food because the ingredients are encapsulated in glycerin as opposed to food that is exposed to air. The standard life span of any juice is 12 months.

Like all consumables, e-juice has a shelf life and should be replaced frequently to ensure freshness. We here at Vapebox throw out e-juice that is 6 months or older just to be safe.

Vapebox is a subscription service that sends out new juice, vape starter kits, and atomizers every month. Every Vapebox is custom tailored to your flavor preferences. If you are interested in learning more or in receiving free vape juice, click the button below.

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is "Why my vape tastes burnt?". We want to make sure you are getting all the information needed to diagnose the issue of dry hits so we are going to recap common questions among new vapers. 

Why does my vape taste burnt with new coil?

Nobody likes when a vape tastes burnt with new coil. The most common reason why a new coil taste burnt is because it was not primed for enough time. Remember to prime the coil for at least 10 minutes and avoid high power vaping for the first puff. After it is primed and ready, set up your device at a low wattage range. This will help avoid dry hits and burnt cotton taste. 

Why does my vape pen taste burnt?

Usually the vape pen is not the reason behind burnt hits. Common causes behind burnt cotton taste are if vapers chain vape, use high vg e-liquids (gunks up the coil head), vapes at extremely high wattage ranges, and not using the correct battery for the vape device used. 

Why do my coils keep burning out?

Common reasons coils keep burning out is either the coil head is defective, or they are not compatible with the sub-ohm tank being used. Before throwing out the replacement coils, try vaping at a low wattage with lower vg juice.

How to fix a vape that tastes burnt?

Fixing a vape that tastes burnt depends on the reason why its omitting a burnt taste. As we mentioned earlier, the coil in the atomizer being used is usually the issue. So the best way to fix the burnt taste is by changing the coil, priming it properly, vaping at a lower wattage, or vaping lower VG juice. 


Vaping can be a delicate balance of many technologically advanced parts. Coils in particular need to be especially taken care of, as they can truly make or break your vaping experience. With the tips provided above, you'll be able to know exactly why a coil has burnt out. These simple fixes will extend the lifespan of your coils and will keep them from burning out in the future.

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Evelyn V.
Evelyn V.
Evelyn is a writer at Vapebox. She's passionate about two things: vaping and animals. She has been vaping for 5 years. Currently, her ADV is Red's Iced.
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