5 Signs Your Printer is Dying (Solutions)

Submitted by Matthew Eberhart on Tue, 05/02/2023 - 14:32
Blue background with white outline of printer and title outlined.

All technology is prone to error. 

Printers, like all machines, require routine maintenance to function at a high level, and maintaining your printer is important because it can help you avoid replacement costs or extra maintenance fees later. 

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 make sure your printer is well-maintained and doesn’t fail unexpectedly because the last thing any business owner or team leader wants to hear is that one of their machines is failing.

In this article, our experts will explain the five most common signs your printer is dying, offer some helpful solutions to help you troubleshoot your device failure, and provide expert tips for keeping your printer running optimally.

5 Signs Your Printer is Dying (With Solutions)

1.    Your Printer Makes Strange Sounds

If your printer is excessively noisy or it is making unusual sounds, then it may be experiencing a problem. 

As a digital device with many moving parts, printers tend to make a lot of noise anyway. So, how do you know if the noise is abnormal or excessive? 

It’s normal for printers to make a variety of sounds, but a sound that you don’t usually hear, especially when coupled with a slow or non-functioning printer, indicates an issue. If your printer has suddenly become louder than normal, then this can also be indicative of an internal issue. 

Solution: These kinds of issues can typically be solved by resetting your printer or updating its software. If that doesn’t work, then you can check for paper jams and reinstall toner cartridges.

After you’ve checked all the usual issues, then 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 that are affecting your machine.

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

This can be sign that your device is suffering from an internal problem, and it can mean you need a replacement part or that a printer part needs to be cleaned and re-installed. Sometimes this issue can be caused by something as simple as toner cartridge misalignment, but in some instances, this could 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, which leads to poor print quality, so make sure your printer is in a temperature-controlled, dry environment. For example, you want to avoid putting your printer in a small, confined area, like a closet, because it the machine requires ventilation and good air circulation to work optimally. You also want to avoid putting your printer in a location where it may become water damaged, like near a fridge or water tank.

You can also check your print driver for updates, use high quality supplies that are designed for your machine, like OEM printer toners, and adjust print settings for high quality prints. If none of these solutions work, then you may need to consider re-aligning the printer head or cartridge. 

If your print quality is still poor after troubleshooting, the best thing to do is request service from your print vendor or have a professional look at your printer. If the issue is something more severe, then you may need to buy a replacement machine.

3.    Poor or Outdated Connectivity Options

Like your iPhone or laptop, your printer requires software updates every few months to work effectively. An older model will continue to run on updated software, but the manufacturer will eventually want to phase out that printer model. This means that your printer will stop supporting new software updates.  

When your printer stops supporting new software updates, your model will eventually become obsolete. Once this happens, your printer will likely begin to experience connectivity issues as printer technology moves at a quick pace.

Solution: These days, printers usually need to be connected to the same WiFi network as other devices, like phones and computers, so that all the machines can communicate effectively. So, if your printer is suffering from outdated or poor connectivity options, then it may time to upgrade to a newer model. 

If your printer does connect to the WiFi but often suffers from connectivity issues, then try rebooting your printer, moving it closer to your router, or updating your print driver or firmware.

It is always a good idea to talk to your print vendor or service technician if you need to move a commercial printer to a different location. You don’t want to damage the printer moving it yourself or choose a poor installation location that could be a fire hazard.

4.    Your Printer is Over 5 Years Old

Printers typically last for 3 to 5 years when in consistent use. 

Like cars or other expensive mechanical equipment, constant wear and tear tends to affect printer longevity. When put in constant use, mechanical parts need to be serviced or replaced to keep up with demand.

This doesn’t mean you need to toss your old printer out when it reaches the ripe old age of 5. If your printer still works, then there’s no need to automatically replace it. Routine maintenance and keeping your printer clean and in a dust-free environment can increase its longevity. 

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

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

5.    Printer Parts Keep Failing

Printer parts can be replaced by a service technician with special expertise. However, if the same printer parts keep failing or require constant maintenance, then it may be time to consider other possible issues.

Solution: Replace damaged printer parts and make sure firmware is up to date. If a part fails multiple times or multiple parts suffer consistent failures, consider replacing your printer. 

Like a car or any other machinery, printer parts and labor can be expensive and some of the time it is simply more cost efficient to replace the entire unit. 

5 Pro Maintenance Tips for Users With Failing Printers

1.    Always use OEM quality supplies. This will keep drums and transfer belts in working shape for as long as possible.
2.    Keep scanner glass clean with a solution like Windex to ensure your device continues to produce quality scans.
3.    Have a routine maintenance plan in place so that a specialist consistently sees and works with your machine. This will help ensure that small issues do not become big 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 is done.
5.    Don’t kick or manhandle your printer. You can damage the frame or hardware, which is difficult and pricy to repair. 

When Should You Replace a Dying Printer?

There are few scenarios in which your printer will likely need to be replaced. In these situations, new parts, printer cleaning, printer part adjustments, and software updates can’t solve the issue due to its extensiveness:

•    your printer has a broken part that can’t be sourced for replacement for whatever reason
•    multiple attempts to replace printer parts does not 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 up front with our customers. We don’t want to waste your time or money. 

We deal with these printers every day and can triage them accurately when there are problems. If we can solve your problem with a simple service call, then that’s what we’ll do. If we know it’s time for a new printer, we’ll let you know that too. 

Reach Out to Us