How to Fix a Disposable Vape Pen That’s Not Hitting

Are you struggling with a disposable vape pen that’s not working? 

Even though we have seen a tremendous rise in the quality of disposables like those we’ve included in our best disposable vapes round-up list, it doesn’t mean they are free from issues.

The most common issue is that the disposable stops firing (or hitting) or drastically loses performance.

You could be one of the unlucky users that end up with a disposable that just won’t hit or fire. However, before you dispose of the device prematurely, there are some troubleshooting tips you might want to try.

However, before we cover some practical steps into how you might resolve the issue, first, it might help to understand more about the components of a disposable vape pen. So we’ll give you a quick rundown below.

You can also learn more about disposable vape pens in our beginner’s guide to disposables.

What are the Components of a Disposable Vape Pen?

Most disposable consist of three main parts: pre-filled pod/cartridge, coil, and battery.

Pre-filled Pod/Cartridge

Most disposables, whether it’s a nicotine disposable or CBD disposable, will come with an integrated cartridge or pod. Some may be classed as a disposable vape that feature a removable pod/cartridge – but typically, these are what we call pod vapes. This means there’s not much that can go wrong with connections between the pod and the battery, as it’s all integrated. In addition, the pod will have a mouthpiece at the top that allows the vapor to enter your mouth as you inhale or draw on the device.


The coils in disposables (the heating element) are integrated into the cartridge/pod and therefore, the device. The coil is surrounded by a wicking material that is soaked (or pre-filled) with e-juice. The coil is the part responsible for heating the e-liquid as it connects directly to the battery for power, and as it heats up, it will deliver vapor through the mouthpiece. Coils will have different resistance ratings, and some may be regular round wire coils, but with most new disposables, a form of mesh coil.


The final and very significant component is the battery. Most disposable devices will have a battery with a capacity ranging from 280-1000mAh. Typically the larger the device, the larger the in-built battery. However, with newer disposables, you may find they have a small battery that is also rechargeable via USB-C. Generally, the battery size is determined by the coil’s resistance and the amount of pre-filled e-juice in the disposable. The battery is designed to last as long as the pre-filled vape juice. This isn’t the case with rechargeable disposables devices.

Other vital components of a disposable

There are a few other components of a disposable that enable it to function. The first will be some type of airflow hole.

This enables air to travel from outside up to the coil as it is heated and then out through the mouthpiece as you inhale.

Another crucial component, the auto-draw trigger, works in conjunction with the airflow.

Nearly all disposable vape pens rely on an auto-draw trigger to activate or fire the device. They do not have a designated fire button like regular vape pens.

The auto-draw trigger typically sits beneath the coil, and as you inhale, the suction of air will trigger the switch, which sends a signal to the battery to activate and start heating the coil.

How to Troubleshoot a Disposable Vape Pen

So now you understand a little bit about the mechanics of a disposable vape pen and its main components. Hopefully, this should help as we cover some simple methods to get it working again.

1 – Give it a Tap

This may sound daft. But sometimes, air bubbles can get trapped in the cartridge or around the coil, preventing airflow. There could also be something blocking the auto-draw switch. So try tapping or flicking the side of the disposable where the pod/cartridge section is (the top of the device). This may free up anything blocking the airflow and get you back on your way to vaping.

2 – Dislodge Debris from the Mouthpiece

There may be debris in the mouthpiece, another culprit for blocking the airflow and preventing your device from firing.

It’s pretty common with disposables as they are usually in and out of pockets or bags and can easily pick up lint or fluff that gets stuck in the mouthpiece. First, check to make sure nothing is blocking the airway. If there is something there, use a toothpick or safety pin to try and remove it.

3 – Check the Battery

Most disposables will have a battery indicator light somewhere on the device. If this light is not glowing or lighting up as you inhale on the disposable, the issue may be that you have a dead battery. Sadly, if the disposable is not rechargeable one, there is very little you can do to fix it, as it’s just a manufacturing error. However, if it is a rechargeable disposable pen, plug it into a charger, and the LED light should light up if it’s receiving power.

4 – It Might be a Dud

No manufacturer is perfect, and with so many disposable devices entering the market at a low cost, sometimes it’s just a case of poor quality control, and you have received a dud. It could be that there are faulty internal connections, a dead battery, or a damaged coil. This might not have been the case when it left the manufacturer’s warehouse, but it could’ve occurred during transportation. You might have to cut your losses and invest in a new device if this is the case.

The Bottom Line

Some disposable vapes are fixable with the methods above, but sadly as often is the case, some or not, and it’s just a bad unit that you received. Of course, you could always contact the store you purchased it from or the manufacturer to see if you can be compensated, but as disposables are such a low cost, it might be a lost cause.

You won’t always be safe from errors from manufacturers, but it’s best to stick to trusted brands with a good reputation for quality control (like the ones we recommend). That way, you have less chance of ending up with a disposable device that won’t work.

Danny B
Danny B
Danny is the self-proclaimed, world’s greatest vaping enthusiast. He has tried nearly every type of device and tank on the market, in search of finding what he calls ‘the ultimate vape.’

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