Can Printer Jams be Caused by the Toner Cartridge?

Are you getting paper jams in your printer occasionally. Here’s a common list of problems that may lead to printer jams.

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1. “Sticky” Paper – There are several manufacturers that make paper, but not all paper is the same. If a printer can not separate a paper fast enough and a few sheets sneak in the printer, several problems can occur. The printer may think the the paper going through is longer than it really is (since the paper stuck together and formed 1 longer piece of paper). The paper could also be much thicker than the printer expected and the fusing (heating) element won’t properly seal the paper in or the stack of papers won’t fit through the exit.

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2. A bad cartridge – Most cartridges for LaserJet printers contain both a drum (blue or green bar) and the toner. It’s very possible that the cover for the drum will get caught in the printer or askew. If this happens, you’ll notice that paper will stop right where the printer cartridge is. Usually taking out the cartridge and putting it back in will fix this. To be sure, try putting an old cartridge in (or a new one if you have it) to see if that fixes the problem.

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3. Rollers – By far, the most common reason why printers jam is because of worn rollers. All laser printers have rollers that are responsible for picking up (and separating) paper. These rollers wear a little bit each time paper passes through the printer. After a set amount of paper through the printer, it’s time to change the rollers. If your jams are usually “ghost” jams (no paper is actually picked up, but the printer says the paper is jammed), it’s most likely due to worn rollers. Occasionally, you can hear that the rollers are worn when the printer tries to pick up the paper.

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4. Label or other obstruction – Check the printer visually to see if there is a sticky mailing label or other obstruction. It’s possible that the leaf from a nearby indoor plant or a small paper clip can cause printer jams. If the item is found, try removing it very slowly to make sure that no other damage occurs to other things.

The key to finding the cause of printer jams is checking where the paper stopped and look around the area. Perhaps it’s an object that’s getting the way of the paper or it’s a bad cartridge drum door. Whatever the cause, laser printers are fairly simple machines that expect paper to feed in and out flawlessly, but sometimes that’s not always the case.

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