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9 Tips for Troubleshooting Your Printer

Blog Post
November 1, 2021

Printers are a staple piece of equipment for in-office and at-home workstations. 

Whether you need to print out a new business contract another document, a broken printer can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with. 

Knowing some of the basic steps for troubleshooting a printer can help you alleviate some of the frustration. Sometimes a simple trick or two is all it takes to get your printer back up and running. 

While troubleshooting will vary depending on the type of printer and specific case, knowing the common issues is a great starting point. 

Here are the best tips for troubleshooting your printer. 

Solving Paper Jams

Is your printer displaying the dreaded paper jam error? Well first, check to see if there is actually paper jammed in the printer. If so, turn off the printer, and open it up to carefully remove the paper Then, implement the following to avoid more jams:

  • Align the paper correctly in the tray. It should be straight and the stack should be even. 
  • Don’t exceed the limit. Trays have a paper limit, they are not designed to hold a huge stack. Usually, the limit is 100 pieces. If you struggle with jams, try only putting the pieces you need for that print job. 
  • Make sure the media type matches the surface you are trying to print on. For example, it should be set to card stock if you’re printing on card stock. 
  • Check the paper rollers. If they are old, they may need to be replaced. 

Driver Issues 

If your printer shows a “no driver found” message when you go to print, then the software may be the issue. Oftentimes a quick driver update is enough to solve this issue and gets your printer working correctly. The easiest method is to uninstall any current driver you have for the printer. Then, find the latest version and install it. Head to the “drivers and support” page for your printer model to do this. 

Printhead Clog

When the printer head dries out, it can cause clogs. This most often happens when you don’t frequently use the printer. How can you tell if this is happening? When you see documents with streaks on them or some areas with lighter print, this can be a sign of a clogged printhead. 

Sometimes, a clogged print head causes the “change cartridge” signal to go on. It may also keep your printer from releasing ink on the paper. 

Unfortunately, unclogging the printer head is time-consuming and messy. You can use a damp paper towel to blot the cartridge printhead. Tap the cartridge, then slide it down the paper towel. When you see solid ink lines, then it’s cleaned. At that time, you should hold it against a dry paper towel.

Beware that some printers have printheads built into them, which makes them even harder to clean. These printers often have a cleaning setting that will help clean the machine. 

New Cartridge Does Not Work 

Sometimes, you pop in a brand new cartridge just for it not to work! One simple troubleshooting step is to swap it out for the old cartridge again. If the printer prints with the old cartridge, then change it out for the new one again. Sometimes this extra swap helps the printer accept the new one. 

If not, then there may be another issue. Did you remove the protective seal? Double-check for any pieces of tape or plastic on the new cartridge. 

Then, you can also check the cartridge vent. If the vent is blocked, ink cannot get out. If there’s a vent block, then you can clear the vent with a safety pin or needle. 

Speed Up Printing 

Slow printing may not be a big deal for one or two documents, but if you have a large print job then speed really matters. If you notice that your printer is being extra slow, it may need some troubleshooting. 

Try the following:

  • Update all drivers and software
  • Move the printer closer to your router (for wifi printing)
  • Try to print via cable instead of wifi
  • Put the printer in a lower-quality setting. High-quality settings use more ink, which takes longer. 

Low Print Quality 

If you’re not happy with the printer’s photo quality, then try to use the manufacturer’s branded paper. Furthermore, you should check that the settings are optimized for the paper type. You can also increase the printing quality to its highest setting. Lastly, clean the nozzle and align the print head. 

Improve Wi-Fi Printing 

Wi-Fi printing can be incredibly convenient, but only when it works. If you’re struggling with Wi-Fi printing, check that your router is sufficient before blaming the printer. The router should provide a 5GHz and 2.4 GHz band as well as 802.11n. Furthermore, it should have up-to-date firmware. Beyond that, you can try moving the printer closer to the router, or adding a wireless repeater to ensure it receives a strong signal. 

Keep in mind that some Wi-Fi-enabled printers still may not allow you to print via mobile device. Even if it does, you may need a manufacturer or third-party app to do so. 

Low Ink Message 

The low ink message is supposed to warn you to change the cartridge when ink is low. But what if you know your cartridge is not empty? Try to reset the cartridge counter, as this may need to be updated when you change the cartridge. If this doesn’t work, then you can head to “All Apps” on your desktop and then launch the printer app. Hit “configuration” and update the ink level estimation. Lastly, you can disable the notification. But be careful to monitor the ink levels yourself then!

Best Way to Prevent Printer Issues 

Are you doomed to wait for printer problems to arise? Not quite! There are some key ways to prevent printer problems. 

One of the most important ways to prevent printer problems is with proper maintenance. Over time and with use, printers will require maintenance to keep working well. You should be wiping down the inside of your printer, unplugging it when not in use, and purchasing quality ink cartridges. Learn more about how to maintain a laser printer here

To ensure you can properly perform printer maintenance, you should opt for a printer maintenance kit. This way, you always have the necessary tools on hand and can perform maintenance during regularly scheduled intervals. 

Is It Time for a New Printer?

Even with proper maintenance, printers eventually wear down. Occasional troubleshooting is part of having a printer. But if you’re spending more time troubleshooting than working, it may be time for an upgrade. 

Realistically, a printer and copier combination is often the best choice for business-related printing. There are so many to choose from, picking the right one for your needs can be difficult. Here are some helpful tips for choosing an office printer copier

For quality printers that you can count on, look no further than Teksetra. We have a wide selection of printers that will help you get the job done. Browse our selection of printers to find the right one for you! If you have any questions or need any help, contact our experts today. 


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