Your printer may have to do a lot of work at times. Some print jobs really do put a strain on printers, particularly the home printer, which will bravely try to print anything you give it. The fact is that even the best top brand printers need some care and maintenance. It’s actually pretty easy to do, and you can keep your printer going for a long time. Even your ink cartridges can help.
Printer care basics
Printer care is really about being careful how you handle your printer:
- Paper feed: Never overload your paper tray, or use old paper that’s been sitting in the feed forever. Papers will jam together, and affect the paper feed.
- Operations: When making multiple copies, keep an eye on the printout, to make sure that the printer is working normally.
- Printer queue: It sometimes happens that a print job won’t print, for whatever reason and a series of jobs backs up on the printer queue. Delete all old jobs. This also helps reduce wear on the printer by preventing unnecessary work.
- Paper: Don’t use pulp paper or old, damaged paper in a printer. It will definitely stick, and do damage to the print feed.
- Card: If you’re printing on card, don’t use heavy gauge card. It’s not flexible enough to get through a printer, and will jam.
- General work: Don’t print continuously. Remember printers are mainly made of plastic and light metals. Give the printer a break every so often during a major print job.
Printer care and maintenance
Access the printer maintenance tab on the printer dialog box on your computer, and run the maintenance every week or so, if you’ve got a hard working printer. Make absolutely sure you do all the ink feed checks. If you get consistently poor results from the nozzle check, you may be running low on ink.
When you know there’s a problem
A printer has a problem when:
- It jams repeatedly.
- The printer won’t print jobs, although it will copy, etc., as usual.
- The printer won’t scan.
- The printer won’t copy.
- The printer prints, but nothing is on the page.
Your ink can also tell you a lot about printer problems:
- If the printer seems to be always running low on ink after jobs, and you’ve had some printing problems with splotchy prints, the ink feed is likely to be the issue.
- If you’re finding that even with new ink or toner cartridges and every print setting you try, you’re still getting weird looking colours and stripy pictures, your printer needs servicing.