When to troubleshoot your own printer vs. when to get it looked into by a professional

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11:20 AM

Good news! You can troubleshoot most printer problems easily by yourself, armed with a little knowledge about when you can solve and issue and when to call a professional. Here’s our guide to telling the difference:


  1. Your printer isn’t printing – at all. This is the most common issue that can happen. And there are lots of reasons why it might be the case, so let's go through them one by one.
    What to do:
    • First, check to see if your printer is displaying an error message (for home printers, you’ll usually see this on your computer screen in the print dialogue box). If you’re unsure what the error message means, you can do a quick web search to find out. Then it’s just a matter of following the instructions to get it back on track.
    • If there's no error message, start looking for other issues. Check that your ink cartridges are full and aligned correctly. Remove and reinstall the USB cable (or make sure your Wi-Fi printer is connected to the network. Turn the power on and off to reboot the printer – make sure it's connecting to your PC properly.
    • Sometimes a printer won’t print because the driver or printer software needs updating. To do this, you’ll need to search online for the most up-to-date version –your chosen search engine type in: “[your printer model] driver” to find the right link and download to update.
    • If you’ve tried all of the above and nothing works: It’s time to call a professional.


  1. Your printouts all have streaky vertical or horizontal lines on them. This usually indicates an unclean or damaged printhead, contamination or scratches on the drum, or low ink levels.
    What to do:
    • Replace the ink cartridges and/or toner.
    • Clean the printhead with a lint-free cloth and try a test print. If that doesn’t work, call a professional to check and replace the damaged printhead.
    • Check for visible scratches on the drum. If that’s the problem, call a professional to replace the drum.


  1. Photos or documents print in different tones.
    • If you have an inkjet printer, this is probably a low ink or toner issue.
      What to do: Replace both and try again.
    • If you have a laser printer, a nearby light source could be causing issues with the receptor.
      What to do: Move your printer away from the light source (or vice versa) and try again. If you’ve tried the above and different tones are still an issue: It’s time to call a professional – there might be damage to the photoreceptor.


  1. Paper keeps jamming. There's probably a piece of paper or foreign object stuck somewhere in the feed.
    What to do: Remove all paper from your cartridge or paper tray. Open up your printer and remove any object caught in the roller or feed – even the tiniest bit of paper can jam up the works.


Remember, if you are still experiencing printer problems after trying to troubleshoot the issue yourself, give us a call. We’re here to help.