How to solve 5 of the most common printer and copier problems

Guy angry with copier

Aug 3, 2023

I love a paper jam... said no one ever. Few things lead to frustration quicker than when you need to print something in a hurry, and your printer doesn’t want to cooperate. While streaky lines or faded text may past for internal memos, if you depend on your office printer for presentations, sales materials, or anything that represents your brand, high-quality prints are a must. Whether you’re getting an error message that doesn’t sync up with reality or your printer is giving you the silent treatment, knowing where to start when your printer won’t print can relieve a lot of frustration.

Check out our list of five of the most common printer and copier problems, and how to solve them. You can thank us later.  

  1. Paper jams

    Paper jamA paper jam is one of the most common copy machine errors, and yet is the only thing that will make you feel like you need to throw the entire machine away. But not so fast. If your copier jams, it could be from using the wrong paper or improperly loading the paper tray. To prevent copier paper jams, make sure you're using the right type of paper and aligning it correctly in the tray. To fix a paper jam, try turning off or unplugging the machine. Then you can remove all the stuck pieces of paper from the tray and inside the copier. Lastly, plug the machine back up, turn it on, and print a test page. If your copier still isn’t working, the machine may need maintenance.

    Need help loading your paper correctly? See an example for the Ricoh IM C3000.

  2. Streaks or lines on paper

    If your copier is producing streaks, lines, or dots on your copies, it could be as simple as dust or smudges on the glass or scanning mirror where you place the original. Cleaning these surfaces with a lint-free towel should resolve the problem. Regularly cleaning and maintaining your office copier can prevent many issues with the machine. However, if your copier is clean and you are still experiencing issues, there could be a problem with its fusers or drum. In this case, you should call a technician who can identify the problem and replace the necessary parts.

    Need help keeping your copier clean? Download our cleaning guide for help.

  3. Toner or ink cartridge issues

    Using the wrong toner cartridge, a malfunctioning cartridge, or an empty cartridge can cause a number of problems with your copies. Replace your toner as soon as your copier signals it is low to prevent causing damage to your machine. It’s also important that you use the correct type of cartridge for your machine, insert the cartridge correctly, and that it is free of defects. If you properly replace the toner cartridge but continue to have problems with your copier, your machine may require maintenance or replacement. Also remember, you can recycle your used toner cartridges with Milner for free.

    Check out this quick tutorial on how to change out the toner cartridges on a Ricoh IM C4500.

  4. Wrinkled pages

    Wrinkles in your paper aren’t just unsightly, they can also cause the paper to get stuck in your copier and damage the machine. If your copies are coming out with wrinkles when the paper in the tray is smooth, it’s likely due to worn-out parts. Weak paper trays, feeds, and exit rollers can all cause wrinkled pages, so replacing these parts should fix the problem. Always remember to handle all components of the printer with care, including any paper that is jammed inside the printer as well as paper left in the tray. Although it's not common to get an electric shock from removing paper, it's still a possibility, so be safe.

  5. Light or dark copies

    pages with way too much tonerCopies that are too light or too dark may result from a change in the copier’s settings. Check to see if your copier is set on high (dark) or low (light) density. If you have configured the correct settings but are still having issues, it may be due to old toner or a problem with the drum. Try replacing the toner cartridge, and if that doesn’t work, it may be time to call a technician.

Avoid copier issues all together! 

Call us! We've got over 3 decades of experience and understand the unique needs of high-volume printing. Milner can help with any device issue or question you may have, including answering questions about printing and making copies in color, the right paper size and capacity for your business needs. Take a look at our Managed Print Solutions and maximize your productivity. If you are still having issues that cannot be resolved in-house, we are more than happy to assist. Contact our team of outstanding service technicians today!

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