There are many different possible causes of blemished print work. It could be a defective cartridge (which can happen with any brand, including expensive OEM products), or it could be that something inside the printer needs to be cleaned or replaced. The specific problem will depend on your printer’s brand, series, model, condition, and environment.
Diagnosis: Unfortunately, this problem will require a bit of trial and error. You can use this handy troubleshooting guide as a starting point to figuring out what’s wrong with your print work.
- Blank spots – these may be caused by a simple cartridge defect, or it could be something more serious like a damaged transfer roller. Try replacing the cartridge first. If that doesn’t fix the issue, try examining the inside of the printer (if accessible on your printer model) to see if you can detect any obvious obstructions. If it still won’t print correctly, try replacing the transfer roller.
- Faded print work – frequently caused by a cartridge running out of toner, but it may also be a sign that you need to clean your printer’s laser mirror or replace the transfer roller.
- Lines across the page – may be a sign that you have a defective cartridge, or it could mean that some internal component needs to be cleaned or replaced.
- Smeared print work – could be a problem with the cartridge, but it’s also very probable that the problem lies with your drum unit. Every time you change the toner cartridge, a little bit of residual toner powder gets left behind in the drum unit, which is why it’s so important to change the drum unit after the estimated lifespan (usually measured in the number of pages printed) has passed.
- Smudges can sometimes be fixed by printing a series of blank pages. Try printing several blank sheets in a row and see if your print quality improves at all.
- Stretched/Distorted images – this problem is a bit more difficult to diagnose and it’s more expensive to fix. It could be caused by a problem with the laser scanner, the engine controller board, or the cables that connect to your printer’s engine controller board. You may need to replace one or more of these components if the problem persists.
Solution: Try replacing the toner cartridge first. If that doesn’t solve your problem, consider replacing the drum unit, cleaning internal components like the laser scanner/mirrors, or replacing those internal components.