Printers aren’t silent devices, so they’ll make sounds as part of their normal functions. However, a grinding noise isn’t normal and should be something you troubleshoot immediately.
Grinding noises from your printer are caused by carriage jams, paper jams, and outdated or corrupted printer drivers. You can begin troubleshooting by resetting your printer and running any printer troubleshooting software you have available. If that doesn’t help, update the printer driver and clear any carriage or paper jams.
Read through this guide to learn why your printer is making grinding noises and how you can fix them quickly.
How Do You Fix A Printer’s Grinding Noise?
It’s normal for printers to make some noises when you turn them on and while they’re printing. However, grinding noises are typically a sign that there’s a problem.
Here’s why your printer is making grinding noises and what you can do to fix the root cause:
Reset And Troubleshoot
What it is: When troubleshooting a printer that makes grinding noises, your first troubleshooting step should be to reset the device and run its troubleshooting application.
These steps are simple ways to clear minor errors quickly. By doing them first, you’re potentially saving yourself plenty of time and effort when fixing the grinding noise in your printer.
What happened: The grinding noise in your printer could be caused by a minor issue that the printer can fix automatically. Still, your printer needs a little bit of help to do that.
Resetting the printer allows it to start over fresh without any minor errors currently affecting it.
Manufacturers typically include a self-troubleshooting feature in their printer management software. Running that feature allows the printer to check itself for problems, potentially identifying the source of that grinding noise you hear.
How to fix it: Firstly, you can reset the printer through power cycling. Start by disconnecting the device from the wall socket for 1 minute. After that time passes, reconnect the printer and allow it to start over normally.
If the grinding noise is still present, run the printer’s troubleshooting feature. That will get the printer to check itself and identify the source of that grinding noise.
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What it is: The printer carriage is the part that holds the ink cartridges. The carriage moves side to side as the cartridges deposit ink onto the paper underneath.
Firstly, the cartridges must be secured to the printer carriage to ensure they work correctly. At the same time, there must be nothing in the carriage’s path that could prevent it from smoothly moving from side to side.
What happened: Another likely cause for your printer’s grinding noise is that something is blocking the carriage’s path. That could be a crumpled piece of paper or another foreign object that finds its way inside the printer.
The grinding noise you hear comes from the printer carriage struggling to move from side to side despite there being something blocking its way.
How to fix it: Firstly, shut off the printer before handling its internal parts. That will protect your finger from injury.
Secondly, open the printer’s ink cartridge door and inspect the carriage. Gently remove any paper jams or objects blocking the carriage’s way.
On some printer models, you can move the carriage by hand to ensure it can move smoothly without interference.
What it is: Printing paper has to travel quite a bit from the input tray through the printer’s insides before arriving at the output tray. A sheet of paper will pass through many of the printer’s moving parts throughout that journey.
If everything is in perfect alignment, those paper sheets will flow through the printer quickly and come out the other end, complete with words and images printed on them.
What happened: As those paper sheets move through a printer, they can get stuck at many different points. As a result, they’ll often get stuck in the printer’s moving parts and cause a paper jam, forcing the device to pause its printing activities.
Paper jams happen when the paper is misaligned for any reason. They also occur when the paper types or sizes differ from other sheets in the same paper tray.
How to fix it: Locating the paper jam and removing it can be pretty challenging, especially on larger printers. Start by disconnecting the printer from its power source.
Then, remove all paper trays and open any access doors your printer might have. When you find the jammed paper, grip it firmly with both hands but pull it very slowly.
You must avoid ripping the paper into smaller pieces, making removal extremely challenging.
Outdated Or Corrupted Driver
What it is: The printer driver is software unique to your printer brand and model. The software is responsible for converting what you see on your computer screen to data that the printer can understand.
The driver also ensures that the printer behaves as it’s designed to, providing you with all the features that the manufacturer has included in your printer.
Printer drivers, like other types of software, must be updated from time to time. The manufacturer will release the latest version of the printer and make it available on their website.
Sometimes, your printer management software might download and install updated printer drivers automatically.
What happened: Although least likely, it’s also possible that your printer is making grinding noises because its driver is corrupted or outdated.
Remember: a printer driver essentially controls the printer’s many functions. Therefore, a corrupted or outdated driver can cause the printer to behave erratically, like making unusual grinding noises.
How to fix it: The most common solution to this problem is to download and install the updated printer driver. As mentioned earlier, you can find the latest version by visiting the manufacturer’s website and searching for it based on your printer model number.
Some manufacturers allow you to update the driver through the printer management application. So, it’s worth checking the app as well.
In some cases, updating the printer driver doesn’t help. In that case, delete the driver and printer from your computer. Then, reinstall it as a new printer with an updated driver.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Check out these frequently asked questions and answers to troubleshoot your printer when it’s making grinding noises:
What Are Printheads On A Printer?
The printhead is a component that helps ink flow smoothly to be deposited onto the paper sheet underneath. Some printers have printheads as part of the printer carriage. However, some printheads are directly on individual print cartridges instead.
What Causes Paper Jam In Printers?
Paper jams are typically caused by misalignment in the printer’s input or output trays. However, the same can also happen when different paper types and sizes are loaded together in the input tray.
How Do You Reset A Printer?
All printers can be reset through power cycling. Start by disconnecting the printer from its power source for at least 1 minute. That will clear the printer’s memory and reset the device. Once that time passes, reconnect the printer and let it start up normally.
What Causes Carriage Jam?
Carriage jams will happen when there’s dirt or debris on the carriage rails. Besides that, foreign objects or paper jams can also cause the carriage to jam, preventing it from moving from side to side.
How Do You Diagnose A Printer Problem?
The first step to diagnosing a printer problem is to run its troubleshooting software (if available). Manufacturers include the software, so the printer will check itself for problems. If that doesn’t help, open the printer’s ink cartridge door and check inside for jams, blockages and other issues.