Printer Roller Problem

Dear Computer Lady,
My issue is with my printer. Its about 4 or 5 yrs not used very much and when I go to use it it says I’m out of paper. I have found no paper jam, I can hear and see the front rollers working to pick up the paper, I have also checked the back to see if the rollers are working  but of course the printer wont work because the door is open. I feel its the rollers in the back that is not picking up the paper but cant figure out how to test my theory. Can you help or do I need a new printer. I would like to try anything before just tossing the machine out.
Thanks for all your help, Roseann in Wisconsin


Dear Roseann,

The problem with printer repair is that by the time you pay someplace to fix it, you have spent more than you would have on a new printer. Your problem could be as simple as dusty rollers (paper dust, not house dust) or some of the gears (or other parts) could be broken.

If there are broken parts, you should just get yourself a new printer. It will cost more to purchase parts and fix the printer, than to replace it.

If you suspect that the rollers are working, but slipping on the paper, there are a few things you can try yourself before you give up on this printer.

First, before you try anything, be sure to unplug the printer.

Take a damp cloth and clean all the rollers that you can reach. This should remove any little bits of paper dust that might prevent the rollers from “grabbing” the paper.

If that doesn’t work, try cleaning the rollers with a cotton swab moistened with alcohol. Although alcohol will dry out the rollers over time, I wouldn’t worry about it too much with a printer that is already 5 years old. It just might give you a few extra years of use.

I hope this fixes your problem.


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    • alexnetherton
    • December 12, 2010

    Several years ago, a printer would have been worth over two day’s (or even a week’s) pay, and would require the owner to try to fix it. Now, they are worth maybe an hour or two’s pay. Look for deals at Target, K-Mart or Wal-Mart. You can get a printer for *less* than the cost of an ink cartridge. Plug it in to a USB port, insert the install CD, and you are there.

    I just looked at the WalMart web site, and they have one for $30.00 US.

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