3 Common Copier Problems and How to Fix Them

Today’s offices enjoy equipment like copiers and computers that, not so long ago, were clunky, loud, and slow. Technology came to the rescue and gave modern offices high-efficiency office machines that run smoothly, quietly, and oh-so-fast.

Still, due to their electromechanical nature, the office copier acts up on occasion and brings with it frustration and worries about missed deadlines, or worse, terrible-looking copies of documents. Fortunately, some of the problems with copiers don’t necessarily mean extended downtime. Let’s take a look at 3 of the most common copier problems and how to fix them.

Paper Jams

Paper jams are the most common copier problem by far. That stands to reason because loading paper is a mundane task and if the paper ends up misaligned in the tray or it’s the wrong weight, paper can jam when it enters the machine, especially if it enters crooked.

Dirty Paper Feed Rollers

Over time and from regular use, the rubber feed rollers lose their usual tacky texture and become glazed from airborne dust and paper dust. The paper will pause or twist due to uneven pressure when the rollers turn and try to feed the paper into the machine to the registration rollers.

The registration rollers ensure the paper is even across the nip of the rollers, so it travels straight as it makes its way through the machine. If the paper doesn’t reach the rollers, it can jam there when the rollers turn to start the copying process. If that happens to you, confirm the paper is sitting flat inside the tray and not damaged in any way.

Assuming the paper is aligned correctly, check the first set of feed rollers for built-up dirt and a glazed feel. Clean them with isopropyl alcohol on a clean rag until they again have the tacky feel mentioned earlier. Also, be sure to use the correct paper weight. Typical weights for standard documents are 20lb or 22lb.

If your machine is a clamshell design, access the registration rollers, which are the second set of rollers, and clean them, too. Reinstall the paper and try to run a single copy. If that works OK, try a few more, and if the paper stops jamming, put the copier back into service. Good job, by the way.

Lines or Spots on Copies

Whenever your copies show spots or lines that shouldn’t be there, first look at two copies of the same original. If the spots or lines line up perfectly, the problem is on the glass or the original. A simple cleaning of the glass or a different original should do the trick.

According to Supply Link USA, if random spots or lines appear, suspect something internal, like a cleaning blade problem or a toner/developer problem inside the cartridge, for example. Other causes include residual toner buildup inside the machine near the registration rollers. Occasionally, the paper will pick up stray particles of loose toner that end up on a copy, disappear for a while, and then show up again in a different place.

The source is sometimes hard to locate because the stray toner may be coming from another place inside the copier, indicating the need for professional service. If you do suspect a problem, it’s best to contact someone sooner rather than later. These problems won’t go away and could cause serious performance issues if not repaired.

Wrinkled or Creased Copies

Although not an everyday occurrence with copiers, the cause of wrinkled, blotchy, or creased copies can point directly to the fuser section as the source, that’s where the electrically charged toner gets melted or fused into the paper to create the finished copy. If the paper enters the fuser section crooked or otherwise not traveling on a perfectly straight path, the ultra-high pressure between the two fuser rollers will crease the paper.
After much use and the rollers get dirty with unfused toner, the toner transfers to the paper during the fusing process and outputs copies with raised blotches and creases. Unfortunately, repairing this type of problem requires a skilled technician to disassemble and clean the fuser section and troubleshoot the reason for the wrinkled and creased copies.