If you have an HP LaserJet printer that cost less than $200 and isn’t working as expected, we recommend reviewing the information below before calling for service or deciding to replace the printer. There may be a simple solution to your HP LaserJet printer problem. You may be able to fix it yourself!
Who should use this guide?
The troubleshooting and repair tips below are for users with less expensive models of HP LaserJet printers. The information is meant to help users troubleshoot and possibly repair their printer in cases where paying for professional HP printer repair services would exceed the value of the printer. Users with business class LaserJet printers or DesignJet plotters should not try to repair their printers. Warning, disassembling your HP printer may cause further damage and make it more difficult for a professional to repair.
HP LaserJet printers are among the best printers available! The print quality is outstanding, and they seldom need printer repair service. However, if you find that your HP printer is not working as expected try the “Do it Yourself” tips below to fix the most common HP printer problems.
Poor Print Quality and Image Defects
Your toner cartridge may be causing image defects or poor print quality.
Image defects are by far the biggest problem in HP printers today! Luckily for HP, it isn’t their fault and should not reflect on the quality of HP printers. In recent years, the market has been flooded with cheap knock-off toner cartridges. Most people think that the best way to purchase toner is to go to Amazon, search for their particular toner cartridge and get a great deal. Everyone likes a great deal from Amazon, right? Unfortunately, low-cost aftermarket toner cartridges cost consumers thousands of dollars in printer repairs every year.
If you have purchased an aftermarket toner cartridge from Amazon or anywhere else, your first step to troubleshooting print quality issues is to replace the toner cartridge with one that you know to work correctly (preferably an HP brand toner cartridge).
IMPORTANT:If you have used an aftermarket toner cartridge, you may find an excess of loose toner inside your printer. Fight every urge that you may have to spray canned air into your printer! Spraying canned air will push the loose toner into the fuser assembly of your printer causing more costly damage. Instead, try to vacuum any loose toner or try wiping it out with a dry cloth.
A bad fuser assembly may be making your prints look dirty.
A worn fuser assembly is the second most common reason for image defects in HP printers. Over time, the fuser assembly will develop a hotspot on the heat roller. This hotspot will cause the image to repeat down the entire length of the page. If you have already tried replacing the toner cartridge and your printer still doesn’t print correctly, you may have a worn fuser assembly. In the case of a worn fuser assembly, you will want to look into replacement options as the cost of replacing the fuser is likely to exceed the value of the printer.
What causes paper jams? We’re glad you asked!
1. Worn Feed Rollers
When feed rollers wear out, they become slick. Slick feed rollers make it difficult for the printer to pick up paper from the paper tray, which causes a paper jam. Try cleaning the feed rollers with rubber rejuvenator and a clean cloth (if you don’t have rubber rejuvenator, you can try rubbing alcohol).
2. Fuser Assembly
If the pressure roller in the fuser assembly has started to wear out, the result will be a fuser assembly that won’t turn. If the fuser assembly no longer turns, you will get a paper jam error. For lower cost, HP LaserJet printers replacing the fuser may exceed the value of the printer. We recommend replacing the printer if you have determined that the fuser assembly is causing the paper jam (this applies to HP LaserJet printers that cost less than $200).
3. Paper Sensors
There are paper sensors throughout your HP LaserJet printer. If the paper does not pass through a paper sensor at the expected time, you will get a paper jam error. Issues with paper sensors can require in-depth disassembly of your printer. For this reason, we recommend replacing lower cost HP LaserJet printers with paper jams that are caused by paper sensors (this applies to HP LaserJet printers that cost less than $200).
4. Paper and Paper Trays.
1. A paper tray is loaded incorrectly.
Remove any excess paper from the tray. Make sure that the stack is below the maximum stack height mark in the tray.
2. The paper is skewed.
The paper tray guides are not adjusted correctly. Adjust them so they hold the stack firmly in place without bending it.
3. The paper is binding or sticking together.
Remove the paper, flex it, rotate it 180°, or flip it over. Reload the paper into the tray.
NOTE: Do not fan paper. Fanning can create static electricity, which can cause the paper to stick together.
4. The paper was removed before it settled into the output bin.
Reset the product. Wait until the page completely settles in the output bin before removing it.
5. During two-sided printing, you removed the paper before the second side of the document was printed.
Reset the product and print the document again. Wait until the page completely settles in the output bin before removing it.
6. The paper is in poor condition.
Replace the paper.
7. The internal rollers from the tray are not picking up the paper.
Remove the top sheet of paper. If the paper is too heavy, it might not be picked from the tray.
8. The paper has rough or jagged edges.
Replace the paper.
9. The paper is perforated or embossed.
Perforated or embossed paper does not separate easily. Feed single sheets from Tray 1.
10. Product supply items have reached the end of their useful life.
Check the product control panel for messages prompting you to replace supplies, or print a supplies status page to verify the remaining life of the supplies.
11. Paper was not stored correctly.
Replace the paper in the trays. Paper should be stored in the original packaging in a controlled environment.