Faulty and damaged ink cartridges can have bad effects on your print quality and on your printer. Streaks, smudges, and blotches of ink are signs that your cartridge has gotten damaged. Luckily, recognising a bad cartridge doesn’t require any special tools or technical know-how to dismantle a printer and put it back together. Here are a few guidelines for checking your printer cartridge for faults and a few solutions to get you printing again in no time.
What to look out for
The first sign of a faulty cartridge will probably be a visible decline in print quality. You may see ink streaks or blotches, areas where no ink has come out at all, or certain colours may be missing from your print. With some printer makes, the printer will refuse to print with a damaged cartridge.
If you notice any of these signs, it could also point to a problem with the printer such as a misaligned printer head. Before replacing your cartridge, consult your printer manual for methods of cleaning, unclogging and aligning the heads.
Check the simple things
If you’ve cleaned and aligned your printer heads and you’re still having problems with your prints, the problem probably lies with the cartridge. Begin by performing a simple physical inspection of the cartridge. Remove it from the printer and take a close look at it.
Begin by checking if there is actually any ink left in the cartridge. These days, printers will keep track of the ink levels in the cartridge, but this system is hardly foolproof. If the cartridge has a built-in window to view ink levels check here. Otherwise, get another full cartridge and compare their weights.
Next, make sure that all the little bits of plastic and/or strings are in proper working order. If a clip is broken or a spring has snapped, it could lead to printing problems. If the cartridge is new and you’ve only just put it into the machine, check to see that all the bits of plastic packaging and tape have been removed as these will also interfere with the cartridge.
This may seem quite obvious, but also check the cartridge model and make to ensure that it’s compatible with your printer. An error could have been made when the cartridges were ordered or delivered.
Check for any error codes. If a dialogue box with an error pops up on your screen while you’re printing this will give you specific information about the problem you are experiencing.
Printer cartridges are expensive pieces. It’s best to try to get as much use out of cartridge before you throw it away. If you are having a problem with your printer, check the cartridge before simply replacing it, the solution could be quite simple and it could save you a bit of money.