5 Signs Your Printer is Dying (Solutions)

Submitted by Matthew Eberhart on Wed, 03/20/2024 - 14:32
Printer with blue background.


All technology is prone to error.

Printers, like all machines, require routine maintenance to function at a high level. On average, printers have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, so they’re bound to have issues after this time. How long your printer lasts depends on various factors, such as the type of printer you use (inkjet or laser) and how often you use it.

Maintaining and troubleshooting your printer is important because it can help you avoid replacement costs or extra maintenance fees later. The better you can identify issues with your printer, the quicker you can fix them or find a solution.

With almost 40 years in the business, STPT's knowledge of printers and office equipment has made us experts in their maintenance and upkeep.

We want to use our knowledge to help ensure your printer is well-maintained and doesn't fail unexpectedly. The last thing any business owner or team leader wants to hear is that one of their machines is failing.

Our article outlines the top five signs that your printer is on the verge of dying. Our experts will suggest practical solutions to help you troubleshoot the issue and offer tips to keep your printer functioning properly. By following our advice, you'll know if your printer can be saved or if it's time to say goodbye.


5 Signs Your Printer is Dying (With Solutions)

1. Your Printer is Making a Weird Noise

If your printer makes loud, strange noises, like clicking, grinding, or squeaking, it may have a problem.

Printers are digital devices with many moving parts that tend to make a lot of sound. So, how do you know if the noise you hear is abnormal or excessive?

If you hear a sound you don't usually hear, especially with a slow or non-functioning printer, this can indicate an issue. If your printer suddenly gets louder than usual, this can also signal an internal problem.

Solution: Start by rebooting your machine to see if the noise disappears. Then, check to see if all customer-replaceable items, such as toners, drums, fusers, or waste containers, are properly installed.   

If you still hear abnormal sounds, you'll want to call someone to do professional repairs. Most printer manufacturers make replacement parts, so your service technician can replace any damaged pieces affecting your machine.

2. Poor Print Quality (After Replacing the Toner Cartridge)

Poor print quality example

If you’re seeing dots, lines, smudges, or other imperfections on your prints, this can indicate that your device is suffering from an internal problem. It can also mean you need to replace or clean and reinstall a printer part. Sometimes, this issue happens because of a toner cartridge misalignment, but it could also be a sign of serious internal problems.   

Solution: There are a few ways to handle this issue. First, you'll want to ensure your device is properly maintained.

Excessive heat or humidity can damage your machine's parts, leading to poor print quality. Therefore, ensure your printer is in a temperature-controlled and dry environment. For example, avoid putting your printer in a small, confined area like a closet. A printer requires ventilation and good air circulation for best performance. You also want to avoid placing your printer where it can get water damage, such as near a fridge or water tank. 

Check your print driver for updates. Most manufacturers update print drivers to improve printer functionality. Check the manufacturer’s website for these updates.

Use high-quality supplies designed for your machine, such as OEM printer toners, and adjust print settings for high-quality prints. If none of these solutions work, consider re-aligning the printer head or cartridge.

Also, consider the lifespans of various supplies, such as toner or ink cartridges, which tend to dry out if not used for a while.

If your print quality still needs improvement after troubleshooting, it’s best to request service from your print vendor or have a professional look at your printer. If the issue is more severe, you may need to buy a replacement machine.

3. Poor or Outdated Connectivity Options

Bad internet connection to printer

Like your phone or laptop, your printer requires software updates every few months to function at its best. An older model will continue to run on updated software. Still, the manufacturer will eventually want to phase out that printer model, so your printer will stop supporting new software updates. 

When your printer stops supporting new software updates, your model will become obsolete. Once this happens, your printer will likely have connectivity issues as printer technology moves quickly.

Solution: These days, printers usually need to connect to the same Wi-Fi network as other devices, like phones and computers. This ensures that all the machines can communicate effectively. So, if your printer is not connecting to the Wi-Fi or to your computer, then it may be time to upgrade to a newer model.

If your printer frequently disconnects from Wi-Fi and goes offline, try relocating it closer to your router, rebooting it, or updating its firmware or driver.

If you need to move a commercial printer to a different location, it's always a good idea to talk to your print vendor or service technician. You want to avoid damaging the printer by moving it yourself or choosing a poor installation location that could be a fire hazard.

For more printer connectivity help, check out our blog on 9 printer Wi-Fi connectivity solutions.

4. Your Printer is Over 5 Years Old

Printers typically last for 3 to 5 years when used often.

Like cars or other expensive mechanical equipment, constant wear and tear affects the longevity of printers. When put in constant use, mechanical parts need servicing or replacing to keep up with demand.

But don't toss out your old printer just yet! If your printer still works, there's no need to automatically replace it. Routine maintenance and keeping it in a dust-free environment can increase its longevity. 

However, if your printer is 3 to 5 years old (or older) and it starts to suffer from constant part failure or needs more maintenance than usual, then it may be time to consider replacing it. 

Old printers

Solution: There's nothing you can do about age. As long as the manufacturer continues to make replacements, you can keep replacing failing printer parts. However, at some point, it is more cost-effective to replace the entire unit.

5. Printer Parts Keep Failing

A service technician with special expertise can replace printer parts. But, if the same printer parts keep failing or need constant maintenance, then it may be time to consider other possible issues.

Solution: Replace damaged printer parts and ensure firmware is current. If a part fails many times or multiple parts suffer consistent failures, consider replacing your printer.

Like cars or any other machinery, printer parts and labor can be expensive. Sometimes, it's more cost-efficient to replace the whole machine. 


5 Pro Maintenance Tips for Users With Failing Printers

  1. Always use OEM quality supplies. High-quality supplies will keep drums and transfer belts in working shape for as long as possible.
  2. To ensure your device continues to produce quality scans, keep the scanner glass clean with a solution like Windex.
  3. Have a routine maintenance plan so a specialist consistently sees and works with your machine. Regular maintenance will help ensure that minor issues don't become major ones.
  4. If your printer encounters a problem, request service and have the printer looked at as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more damage can occur.
  5. Don't kick or manhandle your printer. You can damage the frame or hardware, which is difficult and expensive to repair.

When Should You Replace a Dying Printer?

There are a few scenarios where your printer will likely need replacing. In these situations, new parts, printer cleaning, printer part adjustments, and software updates can't solve the issue due to its extensiveness:

  • For whatever reason, you cannot source a replacement for the broken part of your printer.
  • Multiple attempts to replace printer parts don't make the machine work better.
  • A catastrophic software failure causes the printer to lose its "identity."
  • Your printer suffers extensive internal damage.
  • You drop your printer, or the frame becomes twisted, bent, or broken.

What About Printer Maintenance?

Our service technicians at STPT have years of experience and can help you maintain or repair your office equipment.

We pride ourselves on honesty and are upfront with our customers. We don't want to waste your time or money.

We deal with these printers daily and can accurately troubleshoot them when problems occur. Contact us if your printer issue is more than you can handle. Our experts are ready to help.

If we can solve your problem with a simple service call, then we'll do that. If we know it's time for a new printer, we'll let you know that, too.

If you have decided to retire your old printer and are searching for a new one, please click on the image banner below to visit our printer configurator page.

Our product configurator will help you find the perfect printer for your needs, whether you need to replace a specific model or purchase a brand-new one. By answering a few questions about your requirements, our product wizard will give you customized suggestions. You can also compare features and easily find specifications for every printer.