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How to Fix and Avoid Common Copier Problems

July 20th, 2023 | 4 min. read

By Marissa Olson

Everyone hates the copier and printers in their office, right? If not every day, everyone has wanted to kick their copier at LEAST once. Heck, you can find multiple videos on YouTube showing people doing exactly that, taking out their frustrations on their printer – many of them are homages to the great scene in Office Space (embedded below for your viewing pleasure).

Anyone who's worked in an office can relate. Before you take your bat to your copier, though, here are a few common copier frustrations and quick fixes for each.

Understanding this common copier and printer fails will help you prevent them from happening and make your days in the office easier. So put down that bat and learn how to identify and fix common copier problems.

Lines on Paper

Nothing is worse than when you need to make copies of an important document, but it prints out with lines and other deformities. This can be caused by foreign substances on the glass or the mirrors within, or can be due to a drum blade malfunction. The first step is to clean the class. If the black line persists, make a copy, place the paper on the glass, and align the line – then look for any residue on the glass to remove by gently scraping with a fingernail and then wiping with a cloth.

If that doesn't fix the problem, call for service because there's likely an issue within the device.

Paper Jams

Some of our service technicians think Bob Marley's “Jammin'” should be the theme song of copiers – EVERYONE has experienced a paper jam. There are many reasons for paper jams, a few of the most common, and quick fixes, are:

  • Paper – You need to handle your paper properly:
    • Humidity and old paper – paper sitting in the tray for long periods of time can absorb moisture from the air and become “sticky” (yes, even in Las Vegas). Remove old paper and fan the edges. If that doesn't work, replace the paper.
    • Wrong paper size – use the right size for the print job at hand
    • Wrong paper settings – adjust your copier settings when using different paper stocks
    • Drawer alignment – be sure the drawer guides are tight against the edges of the paper
    • Torn edges, dog-eared corners, and forgotten staples can all create jams. It's often faster to copy torn pages one at a time rather than trying through the paper feeder
    • Right side up – ever noticed the arrow on a ream of paper? It's there for a reason. To load new paper:
      • Find the arrow on the end of the ream of paper's packaging
      • Add the paper to the copier with the top of the paper in the same direction as the arrow
    • Worn rollers – these help move paper through the machine. As they wear, the paper can “slip” and cause jams. Call your copier repair partner – don't try to fix yourself!

Wrinkled Pages

Wrinkled pages for working documents are annoying, but usable. A wrinkled presentation to the the board or a wrinkled proposal to a potential customer is unacceptable. Wrinkled or crumpled pages are usually caused by worn out feed rollers or moisture within the fuser assemblies. These are two fixes that we don't recommend you try yourself; call your copier repair expert. 

Copies Aren't Dark Enough

If the print on your document output is too dark or too light, check the density setting on your copier. Also, double check that you're not trying to print the document at a default draft setting. If both of those settings are correct, check the toner and add new toner. If you just need to eek out a few more copies for internal use, you can try removing the toner cartridge (if your copier or printer has one) and shaking it like a Polaroid picture 

Misfeeds and Skewed Pages

Check the paper in the drawer you're printing from. Remove any crumpled, curled, or torn pages and set the paper guides tight against the paper. If misfeeds or skewed pages still happen, try printing from a different drawer. If that works, continue to print and call your copier repair service provider to fix the other drawer. If the problem continues from the 2nd drawer, call your copier repair service.

Spots On Page

Spots (called speckling) on the copied pages can be a result of smudges, dust, or grime on the copy mirror or the platen glass. That's an easy fix – clean it (you should clean the glass on your copier at least once per month). 

Spots on scanned pages can be automatically removed with imaging software, most packages have an automatic “despeckle” feature. 

Spots from laser printers can be caused by a damaged photoconducter unit. Remove and inspect for damage. If damaged, replace. If only dirty, gently clean with a lint-free cloth. DO NOT touch the roller assembly when removing the unit.

You May Be The Problem! 

Yes. You. You're not blameless. One of the most common causes of copier repair and frustrations is that everyone just expects them to work. This is partly because technology advances have made these machines increasingly reliable over the past 20 years. Cars are more reliable too, but you wouldn't put gas in a diesel vehicle, never change the oil, or expect to be able to drive on a flat tire.

Stop mistreating your copiers – keep food and liquid away from them, have your employees actually pay attention to the suggestions in this post, and do basic preventative maintenance (every copier's instruction manual will have a few tips to follow). I find it amazing that companies will buy or lease a $20,000 machine and then treat it like a disposable MFP that they picked up at Walmart on the way to work. Treat your copier investment well, and it'll treat you well. 

The Final Say: Avoiding Common Copier Problems

Although there are a lot of other issues that could cause common copier problems, we wanted to at least give you some of the most common ones to better help you throughout your workday. 

If you'd like to learn more about your office technology and equipment, make sure to reach out to us today. We're here to give you peace of mind to help you win more business. 


Marissa Olson

A true southerner from Atlanta, Georgia, Marissa has always had a strong passion for writing and storytelling. She moved out west in 2018 where she became an expert on all things business technology-related as the Content Producer at AIS. Coupled with her knowledge of SEO best practices, she's been integral in catapulting AIS to the digital forefront of the industry. In her free time, she enjoys sipping wine and hanging out with her rescue-dog, WIllow. Basically, she loves wine and dogs, but not whiny dogs.