How to Extend Your Printer’s Life

Paper jams, blotchy ink, error messages - printer problems can mean business problems, especially when you really need to use the printer. Fortunately, you can avoid many of these issues with some easy maintenance.

    Here are some practical tips to keep your printer going strong, and what to look out for to avoid potential problems.

    What to Look Out For

    1. Fixing paper jams

    When you encounter a jam, you should refer to your printer model’s instruction manual. A general rule of thumb is to slowly pull out the paper so you don’t cause damage or leave torn bits of paper inside the machine.

      Jams are inevitable, but you can prevent them by not overfilling the printer tray and using paper that’s been stored in a dry place and isn’t wrinkled or torn.

      2. Location matters

      Printers don’t do well near heat sources, so keep them away from vents, radiators, or other machines that produce a lot of heat. Keep it away from windows too, as direct sunlight might cause problems.

        Keep the feeder tray folded in when it’s not in use so it doesn’t get damaged.

          Give your printer some personal space. If you place it in a high-traffic area, people will bump into and damaged it.

          3. Cleaning the printer

          Safety first. Shut down and unplug your printer and let it cool for at least an hour before you start to avoid burns and accidents.

          1. First, remove the paper trays. Next, clean the interior department with a toner vacuum. These are better than compressed air cans because they will remove the dust instead of blowing it around.
          2. You might see white, streaky lines across your printouts even though your printer cartridge is full. It could be from clogged printer head. Some printers have a self-cleaning tool while others need to be cleaned manually, so check your manual for specifics.
          3. Wipe down the exterior regularly with a clean, dry cloth, and occasionally with a wet cloth. Avoid spraying it with ammonia-based cleaners. If your printer resides in a dusty environment, put a plastic cover over it when it’s not in use.

          4. Using the right ink cartridge

          Don't clog your printer up with a second-rate ink cartridge. Always use HP genuine ink cartridges for the best results.

            Remember to keep ink cartridges sealed in their original packaging until you need them so they don’t dry out.

              Cartridges can handle a relatively wide range of temperatures. Just like printers, make sure they aren’t stored near any heat sources.

                Always turn your printer off using the power button, then wait until the power light goes off before you unplug it. This gives the printer time to move the cartridges into a capped position.

                  If you must remove a cartridge for any reason, put it back in as soon as you can so it doesn’t dry out.

                  5. Keep driver up to date

                  It’s important to occasionally check and see if your printer is running the latest version of its software.

                    HP provides free print drivers and updates over at These can include performance enhancements, bug fixes, and new printer features.

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