Have you heard the phrase "The squeaky wheel gets the grease"? Well this is the definitive phrase, when it comes to printer maintenance and care. We only notice the printer's condition, when it is not working or acting up. And at that time, suddenly the printer starts looking very dirty or out of shape!
How can one have less incidents or printer messes and more effective and quality printouts? Maintain and take care of your printer on time. Maintaining your printer today can lengthen its life, usage and lessen your load, as printers tend to conveniently "fall ill" towards deadlines and emergencies.
Steps of Laser Printer Maintenance
Download and install the latest drivers and software for your printer. Some printers will alert you to an old or obsolete driver, otherwise you will have to be regular in checking the manufacturer's site for software updates. Update your printer in advance. Most printer issues can be traced to outdated or defective drivers.
Notice the Quality of Printouts
Ghosting, blurry images, too many or too little dots, changes in color.. all these are signs of poor printout quality. So, if you were expecting red and black and end up with pink and gray colors, it's a notable difference and an obvious warning sign.
Sometimes the changes are very gradual and slow, starting out with one misplaced dot or slightly blurred image and progressing into a mess. The point here is you should be able to make out the difference. For that, printing test pages is the best way to have a physical record of your printer's quality.
Print a test page or just any random page, in color and in black/white, as samples that this is what your printouts should look like. This step also allows you to check the printing process, for jams or weird noises or anything unusual.
Be Good to Your Printer
Depending on what you eat or put in you, your performance differs. Apply the same logic to your laser printer. Use high-quality paper, that is crisp, clean and straight. Using low-grade, cheap paper that can tear or crumble easily, is bad for your printer in the long run.
Low quality paper can result in a number of issues, from creating paper jams to sticking to the printer parts. And the printout quality will also suffer, so if you get a weird looking printed page, don't simply assume it's your printer's fault. Aside from paper, toner cartridge quality should be good or at least decent.
Poor quality or third grade toner cartridges can break or leak, leading to a very big internal (and external) printer mess. Also, when the cartridge is nearly over or empty, change it! Don't wait to use every last bit. So, play it safe by putting good ingredients inside your printer to keep it happy and productive.
Check Under the Hood
From time to time, you should literally lift up your printer's hood and look at its parts. Check for any damaged or worn out areas on parts or the parts themselves. The toner cartridge isn't the only part that needs replacing, look at the condition of the rollers and the fuser.
The printer fan should be clean of any debris and dust. Ink can accumulate on the fuser and this is a disaster waiting to happen. So, replace your fuser wand, when too much ink is stuck on it. Sometimes error codes can be displayed by your printer, as an indicator to check the fuser.
Cover your printer with a printer cover, when it is not in use. If it is being stored, pack it up properly so it remains safe from the impact of elements. And remember to clean the cover too.
For a quick and easy way to service and replace parts, get a printer maintenance kit, which are usually manufacturer specific and basically contain all or most printer parts, that regularly need replacement, such as fusers or rollers. These kits can cut down on long-term laser printer maintenance costs, as you replace the parts as they degrade.
Most kits are simple, do-it-yourself, you can call a technician for first time replacing and from then on, you can replace the parts on your own. Match your laser printer's model, brand and other specifications to the kit's details, prior to purchase.
Clean Your Printer
Of all the possible maintenance tips, this one is a no-brainer. Clean your printer, not when it's full of dust and won't work, but regularly and effectively. Turn off the power, prior to any cleaning steps. Clean the inside of the printer and the outside as well.
For the outside, use a slightly dampened lint-free cloth with water, cleaner or alcohol and wipe the printer down. With cleaners, check on a small area of the case first. Remove paper trays and wires, separately rub them down.
For the inside, again use a lint-free, slightly dampened cloth and wipe the interior parts gently, with water or alcohol. You can use a Q-tip or a small soft-bristle brush to wipe away at dust and stick dirt in corners and nooks.
Be careful not to apply too much pressure to the parts. Using compressed air cans can end up blowing all dust and toner particles, deeper into the printer's interior. For best results, use a small vacuum and gently suck the dust out. Heed waning labels and signs as to where to clean and not.
Your maintenance schedule should be divided based on these categories of maintenance. A thorough cleaning should be done, once a month.
Remember this little rhyme, when it comes to your printer, Use me well, keep me clean, I will be the perfect printing machine"!. Following these laser printer maintenance tips on a timely basis, will keep you and your laser printer happy.