In order to know if your oil cartridge is dead, you will have to test it first. The only way to test an oil cartridge is with a working, compatible vape battery. If your oil cartridge is not working and you have fully charged your battery, try using another oil vape battery. If you do not have a spare battery, stop by a local vape shop and they should have a working battery they can use to test your cartridge. We put together this article to show you how to diagnose problems with your oil cartridge.
You may think your oil cartridge is not working, but this might not be the case. We will outline some common oil vape problems below and list solutions to each problem.
A clogged vapor pathway is the most common problem with oil and wax vapes, especially in colder temperatures. Warm the mouthpiece and give it time to heat up so that the oil residue clogging the vapor pathway can heat up and clear the clogged residue. If you have a variable voltage vape battery, try turning it up to a higher setting and taking a long, smooth inhale to really heat the oil up. You may need to take two or three hits in succession to really clear the blockage completely.
If your oil vape battery has no power button and is only activated by taking a pull (like the SteamCloud Stylus), it can be more difficult to clear the vapor pathway. You may have to heat the oil in the cartridge manually. The best method is to hold the cartridge inside your hands for a few minutes. Your body heat should be enough to loosen the clogged oil enough to start vaping again.
Some cartridges will work fine on a low setting of a variable voltage battery but others will not. If you are pressing the power button down and getting little or no vapor, try turning the battery to its highest setting and try taking a few pulls. Also, some batteries may lose power even before they are completely drained. Fully charging a low battery often results in heavier hits.
Most vape batteries and cartridges use standard 510 threading. If you are trying to match a 510 cartridge with another style threading on the vape battery, for example, 710 threading, it will not work. Sometimes oil can leak into the threading and it may feel like your cartridge is screwed on completely but it is not making a solid connection to the battery. Try disconnecting the cartridge and clean both the threads on the cartridge and battery with a Q-tip, paper towel or rag dipped in rubbing alcohol. When you reattach the cartridge, make sure it is screwed in completely.
Some vape batteries are just not compatible with certain cartridges. Try another battery and if this does not work, bring it to a local vape store or contact an online vape shop as they should know which batteries are compatible and will have one to test the cartridge.
Of course, if your vape battery is dead, it will not work. This is not always as simple as it sounds. Sometimes, you can plug your battery into the charger and it will go from red to green, showing your vape battery is charged. There are two possible problems still. The charger might not be working correctly. Try charging on a friend’s charger or taking it to a vape shop to charge. The other problem is that your vape battery is failing to hold a charge. This happens over time and you never know when a vape battery will stop holding a charge. Just think about an old iPhone that dies after an hour of use. Vape batteries are the same but often use much lower quality batteries and thus die more quickly. Most vape batteries made for pre-filled cartridges are not meant to last forever.
If none of the solutions above work, then you most likely have a dead cartridge. There are a variety of reasons this can happen which we will outline below.
Too much power can burn out a cartridge. Different cartridges and oils require different levels of heat. It is always recommended to set your battery at the lowest setting that gives you thick enough vapor. Many box mods have safeties built-in to prevent using them with incompatible cartridges but if you are using a cartridge with a box mod, it is easy to set the wattage way too high, burning out the atomizer in the cartridge. If this happens, you will not be able to use the rest of the oil left in the cartridge so be very careful with this.
Dry firing is mostly an issue with refillable cartridges that use a wick. If you heat the cartridge without any oils absorbed into the wick, you will burn it and forever have a burnt taste coming out of that cartridge. The cartridge is technically not dead but it will taste awful.
A blast of 40 watts to a skinny, 510 thread cartridge will burn out the cartridge immediately but even holding the power button down for too long at an acceptable wattage can have negative consequences, especially if done frequently. Most vape batteries have an auto shutoff after 10-15 seconds but there is usually no safety built in for time between hits. Hitting an oil cartridge for 15 seconds and then again a few seconds later could easily stress the atomizer in the cartridge. Make sure to take sufficient time between pulls. This usually is not a problem with one person but can happen if you are passing around a vape pen.
It may not be burnt out, but if you have had a refillable tank or cartridge for awhile, you may notice the flavor degrading over time. Or if you are mixing flavors, it could result in a bad taste. Using a fresh tank is definitely worth the investment.
Some vape cartridges have a problem from the start. Like any electronics, there could be a small problem that got through quality control but then happened during transport or once used. If you get a DOA cartridge, most shops will replace it free of charge. If you think this is the case, just go back to the shop where you got the cartridge and they will test it for you.
The exact age the atomizer in a cartridge will last is dependent on the specific cartridge, the oil, how often it is used, and the manner in which it is used, among other things. Most cartridge atomizers are built to last the life of the oil inside, but this is not always the case. Especially if a cartridge has been abused by overheating or in extreme cold, it may die early. Hopefully, you got most of the oil out of the cartridge. If you believe it was a defective cartridge, return it to the shop where you purchased it.
Sealed oil cartridges are meant to be kept sealed and we do not recommend opening them unless you are out of other options. However, if you are left with a significant amount of oil in a dead cartridge, you could attempt to open up the cartridge. The cartridge definitely will not work after this but you could transfer the oil to a refillable tank.
The best oil cartridge vape pen varies based on personal preference. Some users prefer the ease of just a simple battery with no power button. However, most users like variable voltage batteries so they have more control over the thickness and smoothness of the vapor. The best variable voltage vape pen is the SteamCloud Mini 2.0. If you're looking for higher battery capacity, the SteamCloud EVOD is an excellent option too.
You can find refillable oil cartridges at a local head shop or vape shop. Pre-filled cartridges with CBD and other concentrates can be found in their respective dispensaries where legal.
Written By: Nate C.
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