6 Common Copier & Printer Problems and Their Solutions

By: Dan Larkin
June 26, 2019

pexels-fauxels-3184290Anyone who has worked in an office knows the frustrations of copy machine and printer problems—and anyone who's seen the movie, "Office Space," likely remembers the printer frustrations. If you haven't seen it, the film depicts a dramatization of typical copier problems for a good laugh.

However, anyone who's encountered a broken or malfunctioning copy machine when they need it most knows there isn't much humor in real life. Office copy machines have an incredible knack for causing frustrations.

Below are six of the most common printer problems and better yet, some tips for resolution.

Common Copier Problems and solutions

1. Paper Jams

employee working with a paper jam from the copier machineA paper jam is the most common copy machine error encountered. The reasons for occurrence vary from the wrong paper size to  improper paper loading. These issues cause copiers to pull paper through incorrectly, resulting in a jam. The resulting delay can cause employees to show up late to meetings or miss sensitive deadlines. Fixing these types of issues requires someone manually removing the jammed paper and reloading the proper paper size or correcting the paper alignment. There's also the issue of paper dust, which has a tendency to clog machines and cause paper jams. The best way to avoid paper dust is to periodically wipe the feed tires clean, and vacuum away dust built up inside the copier. 

2. Lines on Paper

pexels-anthony-shkraba-5816299When you copy a document with simple text or images and your finished copy contains streaks, lines or other deformities, there's an issue with the copier. There are multiple reasons this issue can occur, so finding a solution can require a bit of photocopier troubleshooting.

Potential sources for this copy machine problem include:

  • Foreign substances on the scanner glass or mirrors
  • Drum or developer unit malfunction (only applies to multi-component copier systems)
  • Drum-blade malfunction, resulting in large lines vertically down the page
  • Issue with fusers

The first issue is resolved through removing interferences and cleaning the scanner glass and mirrors. See your device's user manual for proper cleaning instructions. The remaining issues can be remedied by replacing the unit causing the issue. These issues should be addressed by contacting your service provider. 

3. Cartridge or Toner Issues

Low, empty or malfunctioning toner cartridges can cause issues within your copy machine. If toner or cartridges are low or empty, replacing them should resolve the problem. If a cartridge is malfunctioning, it's likely due to one of two things:

  • Manufacturer error – In this case, bring a copy of the poor quality copies and the cartridge to the place of purchase and request a replacement.
  • Incompatibility issues – Most copy machines require specific toner; if you try to use an incompatible version, your print quality will suffer. 

4. Wrinkled Pages

There is nothing professional about copy pages that come out of the machine crinkled. It might sound like a minor issue, but what would it look like if employees showed up for a big sales meeting with wrinkly flyers, or submitted reports that looked like they were dug out from the bottom of a student’s backpack? Wrinkled pages are often the result of worn-out feed and exit rollers that cause sticking or jamming. But, worn-out paper trays, moisture caused by humidity and fuser assemblies can also lead to wrinkled pages. If paper stock is noticeably damaged for any reason, do not use it. For issues with paper trays, you can purchase replacements. However, fixing the fuser assembly and feed rollers requires the assistance of a technician.

5. Copies are Too Light or Too Dark

image of copied papers that turned out too darkThe majority of the time, issues with lightness and darkness on copy pages is the result of an imbalance in the density controls on the copier. Someone may have inadvertently altered the settings previously, making subsequent images copied too light or too dark. In this case, resetting the density levels is the best solution. It's also possible, however, that the drum could be reaching the end of its work life, or that the toner in the machine has gone bad. Some aftermarket toners are not up to manufacturer codes and can result in light density issues. Replacements should be purchased and installed. 

6. Spots on the Page

As the name suggests, this copy machine problem consists of random arrays of dots marring an otherwise perfect copy. If you notice the dots in the same place every time, it is likely an issue of smudges or debris on the copy mirror or glass. Once again, this can be remedied by properly cleaning off the glass and mirrors.

A more random array of spots repeated throughout the document could be a defect in the drum. Replacing drums should fix the issue. 

Best Solutions

In addition to the solutions mentioned above, there are a few steps you can take to reduce problems with your office copiers and printers. First, never use force when loading or unloading paper from the machine. Second, make sure to follow the replacement timelines for vital parts and fixtures on the copy machine to avoid wear and tear issues. Finally, have the copy machine cleaned professionally from time to time. The buildup of dust and debris inside the machine can lead to many of the problems discussed above. 

As you can see, there are many elements that need monitoring to keep your copier or printer functioning efficiently. Oftentimes, the best way to ensure continued performance is through a Managed Print Services program. Connect with a Marco rep about how Managed Print Services can benefit your business.

Find the Right Printer for Your Business Use Our Interactive Flowchart

Topics: Copiers & Printers