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Why Does My Cart Taste Burnt?

Do you ever take a puff from your vape and get a nasty burnt taste? It happens to the best of us! There are several reasons why your vape cartridge might taste burnt, and luckily, there are also solutions for most of them. This guide will help you troubleshoot the issue and get your vape back to tasting great.


Why Does My Cart Taste Burnt?



Your vape cartridge might taste burnt for several reasons. Check the oil level – a low refill will burn the coil. If your vape has adjustable power, make sure it’s not set too high. Coils wear out and need replacing eventually. A clogged cartridge can also cause burning. If none of these solutions work, the cartridge itself might be faulty. There are a couple reasons your vape cartridge might taste burnt.

Getting to the root of a burnt taste in your vape cartridge can help you fix the issue or know when it’s time to replace it. Some fixes are quick and straightforward, while others might mean starting anew with a different cart.

Residue Builds Up

Refillable cartridges don’t last forever. Over time, residue builds up on the heating wire and inside the wick, leading to a burnt, smoky flavor. If your cartridge’s flavor quality has deteriorated, it’s time to replace it.

Your Battery’s Voltage is too High

One of the most frequent causes of burnt hits is high voltage, but the good news is that it’s usually an easy fix.

Make sure your battery’s voltage isn’t too high. While some devices can go up to 4.0 volts or more, that’s excessive for weed oil carts. Most cannabis carts work best at around 3.0 volts or lower. Lower settings help preserve the delicate terpenes, giving you better-tasting hits and preventing burning.

With each new cart, start vaping at the lowest voltage setting. Gradually increase the power while checking the vapor output, flavor, and effects until you find the sweet spot.

You Vape too Quickly

Pacing your puffs is important, whether you’re using pre-filled or refillable vape cartridges. After each puff, give the oil time to reabsorb into the wick. If you vape too quickly, the wick won’t be saturated enough, resulting in a burnt hit.

Poor Storage Can Make Your Hits Taste Burnt

Cannabis oil is sensitive and needs proper storage. Even with an expiration date, poor storage can spoil your oil faster.

Keep your carts out of direct sunlight. UV rays can damage your product, destroying valuable terpenes and cannabinoids, which reduces flavor and potency. Too much sunlight exposure can make your hits taste burnt.

Also, avoid storing your oil carts in very cold places. Moderate or slightly cool rooms are ideal. Cold environments can thicken the oil, making it harder for the coil to saturate, especially if you’re not priming your cart or preheating the battery. This can lead to dry, burnt hits. Balance is key!

You Vape too Soon After Filling a New Cartridge

If you fill your own vape cartridges, patience is key. After filling a new cartridge, you need to give the oil time to absorb into the wick. For very thick oils, this can take at least half an hour. If you start vaping too soon, you’ll get a burnt hit because the oil hasn’t fully saturated the ceramic core.

You are Hitting Empty Carts

Trying to use up every last drop of oil in your cart might seem like a good idea, but it can actually lead to burnt hits. Keeping an eye on your oil level is crucial to avoid this unpleasant experience. Whether you’re using a pre-filled or refillable cartridge, vaping with an empty cart is a surefire way to get a burnt hit.

When the oil level is low, it doesn’t effectively reach the heating mechanism. The coil heats up, but there’s little to no oil to vaporize, leading to dry or burnt hits and poor-tasting vapor.

To avoid this issue, dispose of your pre-filled vape cart when it’s about 95% empty. For refillable 510 thread carts, make sure to refill them when they get low to prevent these problems.

You are Using Fake Carts

First, rule out common issues like voltage and coil saturation. Then, consider where you bought your cart and if the seller is trustworthy. Some companies use low-quality oil or cheap carts that don’t efficiently deliver oil to the atomizer.

Check for a certificate of analysis (COA) to ensure third-party lab testing. Verify the product on the manufacturer’s website. If there’s no website or your product doesn’t match what’s sold, you might have a counterfeit cart. Look for batch and lot numbers on the packaging and check for a QR code to easily verify authenticity through the COA.

You are Using the Wrong Cartridge

One possible reason for experiencing burnt hits with an oil-based concentrate is that you’re using equipment not designed for oil. Vape tanks, pods, or cartridges intended for thin liquids won’t perform well with thick, oily concentrates.

For the best experience, use cartridges specifically designed for oil-based concentrates. These cartridges are built to handle the viscosity of oil, ensuring smooth vaporization and avoiding burnt hits. Make sure to choose the right equipment for your concentrate to enjoy optimal flavor and performance.

The Coil isn’t Saturated or Primed

A ceramic or metal coil in the cart’s atomizer is key for creating vapor. Once it’s saturated with oil, it heats up to produce vapor. If the coil isn’t saturated or primed, it won’t vaporize effectively, leading to burnt hits.

To manually prime a new coil or one that hasn’t been used in a while, position your cart upright for several minutes to let the oil settle towards the heating element. Take a few short, dry hits and rub the cart between your palms to loosen its contents and saturate the coil. Some vape batteries have a preheat function, which is useful for overly thick, cold oil.

You are Drawing Hard on a Clogged Cart

Clogs in the mouthpiece or deeper in the airpath put stress on your device. Drawing hard on a clogged cart can flood the chamber with oil, causing a burnt taste and aroma.

If your cart is full of oil but produces little to no vapor, the chamber might be flooded. This means the coil is overwhelmed with oil and can’t heat or vaporize properly.

Avoid priming your coil long before you’re ready to use the cart to reduce flooding risk. Regular use of your cart can prevent clogs. For refillable carts, disassemble and clear out any clogs manually. For prefilled carts, try flicking the device from side to side to dislodge oil, then blow gently into the mouthpiece before firing up your device.

If none of these solutions seem to fix the burnt taste, it’s possible the cartridge itself is defective.  In that case, you might be out of luck and need to get a new one. 


How Do You Fix a Burnt Taste in a Cart?

By following these steps, you can maintain your vape carts in good condition, avoid burnt hits, and ensure a more enjoyable vaping experience.

Voltage Adjustment

Lower the voltage setting on your vape. High voltages (e.g., 4.0 volts) can burn the oil. Settings below 3.0 volts are usually sufficient. Adjusting the voltage helps prevent overheating and burning the cannabis oil, ensuring a smoother vaping experience.

Priming the Coil

Ensure your coil is properly primed or saturated, especially if using a new or stored cart. This is crucial if the cart has been in a cold environment. Priming the coil involves soaking the wick with oil before use, which helps to prevent dry hits and burnt taste.

Check for Clogs

Determine if the cart is clogged and take steps to clear it. Note that not all clogs are fixable, particularly in disposable carts. Common methods to clear clogs include gently blowing through the mouthpiece or using a thin needle to clear the airway.

Oil Level and Quality

If the cart is low on oil or the oil is damaged by sun or heat, it’s often best to replace it. Damaged oil should not be vaped. Proper storage away from direct sunlight and heat sources can help preserve the quality of the oil.

Keep Your Vape Upright

Make sure that your vape is constantly in an upright position to keep the vape juice or distillate flowing into the coils. This helps to ensure consistent oil feeding to the coil, preventing dry hits and burnt taste.

Maintain a Full Vape Tank

Regularly fill the vape tank before it becomes empty. When the tank is not full, the wicks can burn. Keeping the tank filled protects the wick and avoids burnt hits.

Use Empty Oil Cartridges

To avoid burnt and unwarranted tastes, consider using 510 oil cartridges without wicks. A 510 cartridge consists of a mouthpiece and a filling material, either sponge or polyester, inside a small plastic or metal cup. Your flavored juices are drawn towards the heating coil by the steel wick of the atomizer. These cartridges simplify vaping and reduce the risk of burnt hits.

Ensure Compatibility of Battery and Tank

Use the right vape battery and tank. The connection of a vape battery to a vape tank does not necessarily indicate their compatibility. Vape batteries with high power requirements can easily burn coils when connected to tanks with modest power needs. Ensuring compatibility prevents overheating and extends the life of your coils.


What Does a Burnt Cart Taste Like?

The flavor of a burnt vape cartridge can vary, but it often results in a noticeable lack of flavor, sometimes with a metallic taste. If you enjoy thick vapor clouds, you might be disappointed to find that the vapor is thinner than usual.


Why Does My Cart Taste Burnt When It’s Almost Empty?

The burnt taste you experience when your vape cart is almost empty happens because there’s not enough vape juice or oil left.  Normally, the liquid keeps the coil cool and saturated as you vape.  When the juice gets low, the coil heats directly on the wick, burning it and producing that unpleasant burnt flavor.  This is why it’s important to keep an eye on the oil level in your cartridge and replace it when it gets low.

Signs You Need to Know If Your Vape is Empty:

Why Does My Cart Taste Burnt When It’s Full

  • Low-Quality Cart
    Carts made with cheap materials, such as a cotton wick instead of a ceramic heating coil, are more prone to burning. To avoid this, purchase from trusted brands known for their quality.
  • Inferior Batteries
    Cheap batteries often have a shorter lifespan and less reliable temperature settings compared to higher-quality batteries, which can contribute to a burnt taste.
  • Frequent Use
    Using the same cart frequently over a short period can cause the oil to overheat, resulting in a burnt flavor.
  • High Temperature Settings
    Setting the vaporizer device temperature too high can cause the cannabis oil to disintegrate faster. It’s advisable to set the vape below 600 degrees Fahrenheit or 3.4 volts, depending on the type of cannabis extract in the cart. Lowering the voltage can result in smoother, less harsh hits and prevent a burnt taste by reducing the pressure and heat on the cart.


Do Burnt Carts Still Get You High

Burnt carts can still get you high, but the cannabinoids in them are often degraded, leading to less effective results. Each time the coil heats up and the oil burns, the cannabinoids degrade further, reducing their potency. This degradation process can significantly impact the overall experience. Although it’s difficult to precisely determine the remaining usable cannabinoids without lab retesting, you can get a general sense of potency by paying attention to the flavor and effects after each hit. A burnt taste or reduced effects are indicators that the oil’s quality has diminished.

Heat and light are detrimental not only to cannabinoids but also to terpenes in cannabis extracts. Terpenes, which are responsible for the distinctive aromas and flavors of cannabis, are particularly sensitive to these factors. Improper storage, such as exposure to high temperatures or direct sunlight, can cause terpenes to degrade quickly. This degradation leads to a loss of flavor and potency, and can result in unpleasant odors or tastes.

When the temperature of the oil exceeds the boiling points of terpenes and cannabinoids, their quality and quantity are reduced. Each compound in cannabis has a unique boiling point, and surpassing these points can cause them to evaporate or break down. As a result, the overall composition of the oil changes, potentially diminishing the high you experience. This is why maintaining proper storage conditions and avoiding overheating are crucial for preserving the quality and effectiveness of cannabis oil in vape carts.


Do Fake Carts Taste Burnt?

Yes, fake carts very often taste burnt.  This burnt taste is a red flag because it indicates potential problems with the cartridge.  Here’s why:

Low-quality ingredients:  Fake cartridges may use fillers, thickeners, or other unknown substances that burn at lower temperatures than proper vape juice, creating a burnt taste even with a full cart.

Contamination:  Counterfeit carts might contain impurities or contaminants that scorch when heated, producing a burnt flavor.

Poor construction:  Fake cartridges may be poorly made, with faulty coils or inadequate wicking that leads to uneven heating and burning.

If you experience a burnt taste from a supposedly full cart, it’s wise to stop using it and  consider it potentially counterfeit.  It’s safer to purchase vape cartridges from reputable sources.


How Can I Make My Cart Taste Better?

There are a few ways to try and improve the taste of your vape cartridge, but it depends on the reason it’s tasting bad:

If it’s tasting burnt

Check the oil level:  If your cart is getting low, that’s a common culprit for burnt taste. Refill it or replace the cartridge.

Adjust the wattage: If your vape has adjustable power settings, make sure it’s set within the recommended range for your cartridge. Lower wattage is usually better for flavor. 

Consider the coil: Burnt coils are a replaceable part, and if yours is old it might need swapping out for a fresh one (disposable carts typically can’t be repaired).

General tips

Store your cartridge upright: This helps prevent the oil from pooling in one spot and burning unevenly.

Take shorter puffs: Long, deep drags can overheat the coil and lead to a burnt taste.

Let it rest: Give your cartridge a few minutes between puffs to allow the coil and wick to properly saturate.

Clean the connection:  Built-up residue on the battery connection can affect flavor. Try cleaning the connection point on both the cartridge and the battery with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol (when the vape is off and cool).


Is It Bad to Hit a Burnt Vape?

Vaping with a burnt coil or cartridge is definitely not recommended for health reasons. Here’s why:

  • Inhaling Harmful Chemicals

Burnt coils or wicks don’t vaporize e-juice properly. Instead, they burn the material itself, releasing potentially toxic chemicals and byproducts into the vapor you inhale.

  • Lung Irritation and Inflammation

These harmful chemicals can irritate your lungs, causing coughing, wheezing, and discomfort. Long-term exposure might even lead to inflammation.


How Many Times Should I Hit My Cart?

There isn’t a single recommended number of puffs for everyone. It depends on a few factors:

Cartridge size: 0.5 gram cartridges typically last 80-160 puffs, while 1 gram carts last 160-320 puffs.

Your personal tolerance: If you’re new to vaping, you’ll likely need fewer puffs than a more experienced user.

Desired effect: Take fewer puffs for a milder effect, more puffs for a stronger one.

  • Here’s a general guideline

Start with 1-2 puffs and wait 15-30 minutes before taking more.

Listen to your body. If you feel the desired effect, stop vaping.

  • Safety first

Avoid hitting your cart too many times, especially if it’s new or you have a low tolerance. Inhaling burnt coils or overdoing it can be risky.


Is It Okay to Smoke a Burnt Cart?

I can’t advise smoking a burnt vape cartridge at all.  Inhaling anything burnt is not healthy, and burnt vape cartridges are no exception.


Is It Bad to Smoke a Brown Cart?

You shouldn’t vape a brown cart. 

A brown color indicates the oil in the cartridge has broken down. This means it’s likely past its prime and may not offer the intended effects or flavor.

Cannabinoids and terpenes, the active ingredients in cannabis vape oil, degrade over time. A brown color suggests these have significantly decreased, potentially reducing the oil’s potency.

Though research is ongoing, some experts theorize degraded vape oil could contain harmful byproducts.


Why Is My Cart Not Hitting but Not Clogged?

A clogged airway isn’t the issue here. There are a couple other things that might be preventing your cart from hitting.

  • Dead battery

This is a common culprit, especially with disposable vapes. If yours is rechargeable, try charging it. If it’s disposable and not hitting, it’s likely out of juice and needs replacing.

  • Empty cartridge

Even if the oil window looks full, there might not be enough vape juice or oil left for the coil to properly vaporize it. Check the oil level and replace the cartridge if needed.

  • Connection issue

The connection between the battery and the cartridge might be loose or dirty.  Look for any residue or damage on the contact points of both. Clean them gently with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol (when the vape is off and cool) and try reconnecting them securely.

  • Incorrect wattage (adjustable vapes only)

If your vape has adjustable wattage settings, double-check that it’s set within the recommended range for your cartridge. Using too high a wattage can prevent the coil from properly heating the oil.

  • Faulty coil (refillable carts only)

Coils are expendable and wear out. If your cart is refillable and you’ve been using it a while, a burnt-out coil could be the problem. Try replacing the coil with a new one.

  • Rare defective cartridge

In uncommon cases, the cartridge itself might be faulty. If none of the other solutions work, it might be a dud and you’ll need to replace the cartridge.

Read More: Why Is My Cart Not Hitting

Why Does My Cart Feel Clogged When I Hit It?

The most likely reason your cart feels clogged when you hit it is condensation buildup. This happens when:

Moisture builds up: Over time, vapor cools and condenses inside the cartridge, forming droplets that can block the airway.

You see oil in your mouth: If you end up with drops of vape juice or oil in your mouth after taking a puff, it’s a sign of condensation blocking the airflow.


How Long Do Carts Last Until They Go Bad?

Vape cartridges don’t last forever, and the quality of the oil can degrade over time. 

Recommended shelf life:  Most manufacturers recommend using carts within 6 months to 1 year of purchase.

Factors affecting lifespan: Exposure to heat, light, and air can speed up degradation. Store your carts in a cool, dark place for best results.

Signs of a bad cart: A brown color, burnt taste, or significantly reduced potency can all indicate an expired cart.


How Do You Know if a Cart Is Burnt?

A burnt coil or wick will struggle to properly vaporize the e-liquid, resulting in less vapor than usual.

This is the most obvious sign. Burnt coils produce a nasty burnt flavor when you vape.

In some cases, you might even smell a faint burning coming from the cartridge itself.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s best to stop using the cart and replace it.  Vaping on a burnt coil is unpleasant and potentially unhealthy.


Final Words

Vaping with a burnt coil is unpleasant and potentially unhealthy. By following the tips in this guide, you can identify the culprit behind the burnt taste and get your vape cartridge back to delivering delicious flavor. If none of the solutions work, it might be time to replace the cartridge altogether. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!  Always prioritize your health and safety over getting the last puff from a burnt cartridge.


Read More

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What Happens if You Smoke an Expired Cart

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Different Types of Carts

Carts vs Disposables

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Does Preheating a Cart Waste Oil

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Why Does My Cart Taste Burnt

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