Printers are pretty straightforward devices. When you send a print job to the device, it will continually feed paper sheets through its moving parts. Unfortunately, some of that paper can get jammed, bringing the printer to a complete halt.
When a paper jam happens in your printer, you should first disconnect the device from its power source. Then, remove the paper trays and open their covers so you can locate the paper jam. Once you find it, grip it firmly with both hands (if possible) and gently pull the paper out. You must do so gently to prevent the paper from ripping into smaller pieces.
Paper jams can bring your work to a complete halt, but don’t worry. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about fixing a printer paper jam.
Precautions When Fixing Printer Paper Jams
When a paper jam occurs in your printer, you’ll likely feel tempted to rip the paper out as quickly as possibly. But, unfortunately, that can do more harm than good.
So, before we dive into the proper methods to fix a paper jam, here are a few precautions you must keep in mind:
#1 Disconnect Power To Protect Fingers
The most important thing you must do before dealing with a paper jam is to disconnect the printer from its power source.
That’s because printers have moving parts and components that get extremely hot, which can injure your fingers.
#2 Don’t Force It
Secondly, be gentle with your printer and never force anything. For example, as you work to remove the jammed paper, do not try to force it out.
You should only apply a gentle amount of force so that the paper doesn’t tear into smaller pieces that are much more challenging to deal with.
#3 Use Both Hands When Pulling
Besides using minimal force, make sure you use both hands when removing a paper jam. Using two hands helps to spread the force you’re applying, so the paper doesn’t rip as you pull on it.
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#4 Beware Of Warning Labels
Printers have various warning labels all over. Some might be in the form of stickers, while others are directly on your printer’s panels. Pay attention to these labels as they warn you of parts you should not touch.
The warning labels can be for moving parts, parts that get very hot, or parts that will get damaged by your touch.
#5 Know When To Send For Servicing
Lastly, you should know when to stop fixing your printer and send it to a professional instead. Some paper jams can be exceptionally challenging, and you can risk damaging the printer by trying to remove it yourself.
A professional technician could take the printer apart safely to remove the paper jam before reassembling the unit.
How Do You Fix A Printer Paper Jam?
Now that you’re aware of the necessary precautions, here are the methods you can use to fix a paper jam:
Step 1: Remove Paper Trays
The first step to fixing a jam is to remove the paper trays on your printer. You might have to remove one or several paper trays, depending on the model and size.
Removing the paper trays gives you a clearer view of the paper jam from inside the printer.
Step 2: Open Printer Covers
Your printer also has one or more covers that can be opened. Those covers conceal the printer’s moving parts, which are often where the paper gets jammed, causing this problem.
Remember: the printer components you find beneath these covers are dangerous to touch. So, always ensure that the printer isn’t connected to power when you perform this step.
Step 3: Locate The Paper Jam
Some paper jams are easier to spot than others. For example, if the jammed paper is visible from the input or output paper trays, you can reach it without much effort.
However, some paper jams might be under the covers that you opened in Step 2. Those can be trickier to locate, so you might want to use a flashlight to look for them through the printer’s openings.
Step 4: Grip The Paper Firmly
If possible, grip the paper firmly with two hands and as far away from the edges as possible. That way, you’ll reduce your chances of ripping the paper into smaller pieces as you try to pull it out.
In some cases, you might find that there’s only enough room to grip the paper with one hand.
Whatever the situation is, grip the paper as firmly as possible.
Step 5: Gently Remove Paper Jam
With a firm grip on the paper, gently pull the sheet out of the printer. Remember to take it as slow as possible to avoid ripping the paper.
How Do You Prevent Printer Paper Jams?
Paper jams can be pretty frustrating, especially since they delay the print job you’re trying to complete.
Here are a few quick tips for how to prevent paper jams from happening:
- Load paper correctly: Always ensure that you’re loading paper into your printer correctly. Follow the instructions in the user manual and on the printer unit so the paper you’re loading is aligned perfectly. A correct alignment will reduce the odds of a paper jam occurring.
- Do not overload paper tray: The paper input tray on all printers has a maximum number of sheets it can handle at one time. Do not overload the tray with too much paper, as that will cause the printer to pull in too much paper at one time and cause a paper jam.
- Do not mix paper types: Each paper tray for your printer can only accommodate one type of paper at a time. Therefore, the paper you use should be of the same size and type so they can move through the printer in perfect alignment. A mixture of different paper types can’t move in perfect alignment, which means a paper jam will happen.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are a few additional questions to help as you troubleshoot a paper jam:
What Causes A Paper Jam In Printer?
Paper jams typically happen when printing paper is stuck together. The same will also occur if the paper has imperfections like frays, curls, or bends that prevent it from moving through the printer correctly. A printer that’s overloaded with too much paper or too many different types of paper can also experience jams.
Why Does My Printer Say ‘’Paper Jam” When There Is No Paper Jam?
If your printer says there’s a paper jam, but you can’t locate it, that means there’s a small torn piece of paper stuck somewhere in the machine. Even though you can’t see it, the printer can still sense that a paper jam is occurring inside its moving parts.
Can A Paper Jam Ruin A Printer?
A paper jam on its own will not ruin your printer. However, your efforts to remove the paper jam might cause damage to the device if you do it incorrectly. For example, if you touched sensitive printer components while attempting to remove a paper jam, you could ruin the printer.
How Do I Continue To Print After A Paper Jam?
You cannot continue printing until you’ve removed the cause of a paper jam. Once you’ve fixed the jam, you will then need to reset the printer. The quickest way to do that is to disconnect the printer from its power source for a few minutes. Once you restart the printer and it doesn’t report a paper jam, you can continue printing like normal.
What Is Paper Tray In Printing?
The paper tray is a removable section of your printer that stores large volumes of printing paper. Its purpose is to supply your printer with paper to print large documents, so you don’t have to insert each paper manually.