5 Common printer paper jam causes and how to fix them

5 Common printer paper jam causes and how to fix them

You're finally ready to print out an important document or a big project plan. As soon as the printer takes the paper in, however, the paper gets stuck inside the machine and you can’t get it out.

Sound familiar? Paper jams are a common printing problem, but they're fortunately easy to solve. Let's take a look at some of the most common causes of paper jams and how you can prevent them from happening.

1. Old or warped paper

If you haven’t used your printer for some time, the sheets of paper in its tray have likely become old. Over time, paper gets exposed to varying humidity levels, causing it to warp or not lie completely flat. This can cause paper jams.

How to fix this issue

Throw out any old or damaged paper in the printer’s tray. It’s best to discard sheets that are warped or discolored. Then, put in a fresh stack of paper. If you don’t have new paper on hand, try flattening out the old sheets by putting a heavy book on top of them for a few hours. This should help them to lie flat again so they won’t jam your printer.

If you haven’t used your printer for some time, the sheets of paper in its tray have likely become old.

2. Poor paper quality

Many businesses try to save money by using lower-quality, thinner paper than what’s recommended for their printer model. This type of paper, however, is more likely to curl up and get stuck inside the printer.

How to fix this issue

Check your printer’s manual or search online to find out what kind of paper works best with your machine. A good rule of thumb is to use thicker, higher-quality paper to reduce the risk of jams. Load the new batch of paper and try printing again.

Related article: 6 Easy ways to maintain your office printers

3. Incorrect paper size settings

If you try printing on a sheet of paper that’s too small for your printer model, it can get stuck and cause a jam. This is because smaller sheets caught on the edges of the printer’s rollers as it tries to feed paper through. Or if you try to print on a sheet that’s too large for your machine, it can cause the paper to bunch up and jam.

How to fix this issue

Make sure to use the required paper size when printing. If you inserted the wrong size, simply insert the correct one and print again.

4. Paper feed problems

If you find that your paper jams happen on only one side of the printer, there could be an issue with the paper feed. Often, something is blocking the path of the paper as it is fed through the rollers, such as a torn piece of paper.

How to fix this issue

Open your printer to look for any object that might be blocking the paper’s path. Remove any obstructions, then try printing again.

5. Dirty printer rollers

If your paper jams are happening randomly and you can’t identify the cause, it could be that your printer rollers are dirty. Over time, dust and debris can build up on the rollers and cause the rollers to grab onto paper unevenly, which can lead to paper jams.

How to fix this issue

To clean your printer’s rollers, open the machine and access the paper tray. Wipe the rollers down with a soft cloth dampened with water or rubbing alcohol. Be careful not to get any water on other parts of the printer, especially the electrical components, as this can damage the machine. Once the printer is dry, try printing again.

Need more help resolving paper jams? Turn to Complete Document Solutions. Our highly experienced technicians can fix even the most difficult printer issues. We will also ensure that our services meet your needs and budget. Talk to us today to get started.


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