8 common printer problems and how to fix them yourself

Posted on Nov 1, 2017 :: Guest Insights
Jerry Davis
Posted by of Insight Publications

It’s frustrating when a printer doesn’t perform its only job, and if that device is a multifunction printer (MFP) that also scans and emails documents, you lose even more precious time.

Here’s a helpful list of common printer problems you can fix yourself. But before you start troubleshooting, check the basics: Power on? Cables connected? Wireless connections working? Paper? Toner? With those marked off the list, it’s time to move on.

1. Printer won’t print

Make sure you’ve selected the correct printer. Print drivers may warn about issues and recommend troubleshooting tactics. If all else fails, turn it off and restart.

2. Bad print quality 

Generally, photo paper has fewer issues than generic paper. Make sure you use the right settings by selecting the correct paper and print quality. Don’t mix brands and types of paper in one tray.

3. Won’t scan 

Corrupted scanner software is often to blame, so reinstall it. If unsuccessful, check the user manual or look online at the manufacturer’s website. Hardware may need to be repaired or replaced.

4. Paper jams

Check for foreign objects inside the printer, an overfilled tray or misaligned paper. Try fanning the paper and re-insert it, keeping it flush with the guides. When using thicker paper, manually feed each sheet.

5. Prints too slowly

The lesser the print quality, the faster it will print.
Make sure you’re not printing in presentation mode
for simple black and white text documents.

6. Printing is too expensive

Will draft quality suffice? Need every page, or just a few? Is duplex printing an option? Using third-party ink? If so, clogged print nozzles often result in more frequent ink orders.

7. Can’t print from mobile devices

Most printer brands have apps to wirelessly connect mobile devices. Your printer needs wireless access and software like PrinterShare, Apple’s AirPrint, Epson Email print/Epson Connect, Mopria Print Services or Google Cloud Print.

8. Wi-Fi printing takes too long

If printer speeds are fine when connected via USB but slow using wireless, the printer is likely innocent. Move it closer to the router, and make sure the router is equipped with 802.11n support, up-to-date firmware, and that it offers the 5GHz band and has 2.4GHz. Switching to a wired connection, then back to wireless, may also work.

Ultimately, if none of these techniques work, or your printer is well beyond its expected lifespan, call a technician and consider getting a service contract with your next replacement. If you’d like help with your printing concerns, contact the Gordon Flesch Company for a free needs assessment.

About the Author

Jerry Davis: Sales Manager, Gordon Flesch Company, Inc.

Jerry has served in many roles during his nearly 20-year career with the Gordon Flesch Company, giving him first-hand insights into the technology challenges that many businesses face. He leads the Northeast Wisconsin branch’s team of account consultants and aligns customized technology solutions for clients to
optimize their productivity and profitability.