Like the ebb and flow of the tides, or the rising and setting of the sun, somethings are not predetermined but inevitable. They are not a question of if, but when.
And into this category firmly falls the fact that at some point your printer will develop a recurring jam. However, fear not because with this troubleshooting guide, fixing printer jams will become as easy as fixing a nice refreshing drink.
Here’s what you should do…
1. Check paper tray
The problem could be an overloaded paper tray. Print a test sheet with just a single piece of paper in the tray to determine if the tray is clear. If it turns out there’s a jam, try to keep your paper tray only half full in the future.
2. Check paper type
Like the true power structure behind a utopian communist state, not all paper is equal it would seem. Make sure you’re using the correct type of paper for the printer you’re using. Using ink jet paper in a laser printer and visa versa for example can cause problems. Also, thicker high quality papers can cause problems too.
3. Check for printed labels
Like a kid leaving sticky ice cream prints in the back of your car, so people who have been printing labels cause similar problems. They can come away from the sheet and get stuck inside the the printer.
4. Check for torn paper threads
If your printer has a history of paper jams then it’s probably got its far share of torn shreds of paper stuck inside from the last time ripped out jammed paper in a screaming frenzy. Approach it a bit more calmly this time and remove any of these shreds that have been left behind.
5. Check laser printer rollers
Like most things in life, as they get older or well used they start to show the signs of age. This is as true of your printer rollers as it is of your Great Aunt Doris. The rollers should be smooth but not shiny. And certainly any breaks or cracks could be adding to your problems. You can try cleaning them with a lint cloth and alcohol but, if needed, these can be replaced by a technician.
6. Changing toner or ink cartridge
Not an obvious one for a paper jam, but you could try changing your toner or ink cartridge to see if helps the printer run smoother.
7. Listen out for strange noises
Not the distressed cries of your colleague as they initiate another jam, but within the printer itself. If you hear an unusual sound then it could be a broken gear, which can be fixed by a technician.
Designing a box of moving parts which requires thin sheets of paper to pass through them is an obvious candidate for problems when it comes to paper jams, and printers so far really haven’t let us down in this respect (by which I mean they actually let us down frequently).
By following these trouble-shooting steps though, you should be able to eliminate most of the major causes and help keep your printer running as smoothly as it can.
Then, if they don’t work then it might be a job for a technician or a 3-wood golf club, depending on how frustrated your next paper jam manages to make you.
About the author:
Michael Furniss is regular contributor to the Cartridge Save blog. From starting out his career as a journalist in Bolivia Michael has written on such diverse subjects such as pensions and travel.