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Office Copier Maintenance Tips, Tricks & Fixes

Kelly Moran

A good copier is something most of us probably take for granted. It’s usually just there in a corner or side room, dutifully pumping out page after page. Inevitably, though, something will go wrong.

Sometimes the machine gets old and parts can’t grip the paper like they should. Sometimes it's the user's fault, using wrinkled paper or copying something that smears or smudges the glass. Sometimes an office worker spills their coffee on the machine or a Christmas party gets out of hand. Trust me, we’ve seen it all.

Most problems like paper jams are easy to clear. Look for a blinking light on the control panel, open the right area, and remove the paper. Of course, other times it's not quite that easy.

Here are a few tips from our Managed Print expert technicians to keep your copiers from breaking, jamming or delivering inferior copies and prints.

Start With the Simple Explanation

Sometimes, annoying streaks and lines can appear on copies and prints. The good news is that fixing streaks can be as simple as cleaning Wite-out® off the glass or finding a toner spill in the paper feeder. The only bad news is that you need to find glass cleaner or solvent spray to clean it off.

However, if you find lines on your page that don’t go away, it may be time to place a service call. Lines on your copies or prints can be a sign of a dirty roller inside the machine that requires a trained professional to access, remove and clean.

However, you can try running a few blank copies on clean, fresh paper, which can help lessen these marks by picking the loose toner up as they pass through the machine. As a preventative measure, try cleaning the “slit glass.” Look in your copier manual for the location of this piece on your device. Dirt or residue can also cause black lines on copies and scans. 

What Do You Mean You’re Out of Paper?

Another issue that can be frustrating is when the machine is telling you to load paper, even though there is clearly paper in the trays. On most machines, you can go into the copy screen and select a paper source. If all paper sources are showing they have paper loaded, then the problem is likely something with the job you’re trying to send, like an image that is too large for the paper selected.

When you get a paper jam, follow all prompts on the screen including opening and closing the paper drawer. If nothing clears up the issue, you may need to clear your pending jobs and resend them.

What the Heck is Error L206?!?

Copiers and printers have become increasingly user-friendly and intuitive to use. Many new machines have an interface that is as simple to use as any other touch screen device. However, there are times when an error code is unclear or confusing.

For example, in order to find an error code on a Canon machine, users need to press the copy key on the control panel of most models. 

We have also seen many Lexmark machines display a vague “900 Firmware” error when the printer first starts printing after being idle or off. The issue is usually caused by a corrupt print job or printing something from a web page. The resolution is to clear the print queue and try resending the job.

Be Gentle

Be mindful that there is a right way and a wrong way to fix a copier. While your first instinct might be to rip open the drawers and dig around blindly for a paper jam, always follow the recommended screen prompts on the display panel for clearing a jam. If you open the components too quickly, parts of your paper may tear and be impossible to retrieve without the tools and expertise of a service technician.

Use the Good Stuff 

If you don't use the right toner for your copier machine, you can cause serious damage that will require a costly repair and even void your warranty. The copier's owner’s manual will list the types of toner the machine is compatible with. Check with your service provider to ensure you are ordering the right supplies and make sure everyone in your office is using the right product for the right job. We also don’t recommend buying toner or supplies from cut-rate suppliers, or you could be the victim of a Toner Pirate.

Be Kind to Your Machines

In some cases, copiers break down because the machine is not well-suited for the demands the office staff members will place on it. If you have a copier that regularly breaks down, overuse could be the reason. In addition, here are some of our favorite tips for keeping your copiers happy and well-used.

  • If the copier hasn't been used for several days, like over a weekend or long holiday, it's important to run a few test prints before using the copier intensively.

  • Make sure to replace old paper with a new stack and check for any jams before the day gets started.

  • One of the easiest things you can do to keep the copier working properly is to clean it on a regular basis. Always wipe away from the entry areas of the machine so dirt and debris do not fall into the paper path.

  • Whenever clearing jams, be sure you retrieve all parts of the page that have jammed. Even the tiniest scrap of paper left inside the paper path can cause great damage during your next copy run.

  • Be patient. If a machine is malfunctioning, there is a reason and pressing the copy button angrily won’t change that.

Copiers are the lifeblood of a busy office. Stop treating them like second-class citizens. Whether you need a couple copies and scans or have a long print run for a special project, your copier is there for you when you need it. With proper use and maintenance, you will not only prolong its lifespan, you’ll also keep things running smoothly for everyone in the office. If you struggle with frequent repair issues with your office equipment, you can request assistance from your repair professional. 

Have more questions about your equipment and how a Managed Print program can save time, headaches, money and more? Start realizing its benefits by reaching out to Gordon Flesch for a free, no obligation consultation today, and be sure to check out our guide below.

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