How to Tell If I Need a New Print Head

By Nick Davis

The print head transfers ink from the ink cartridges onto the paper loaded within the device. The print head is the main component of the printer---the tiny tubes within the print head are secondary components that carry the ink to the main component. The print head also contains a heating element that heats the ink so it can flow through the print head. If one of these components fails, the entire print head has to be replaced. There are print head repair services that can rebuild your device's print head, but not all print heads can be rebuilt.

Step 1

Load a sheet of blank paper into the printer.

Step 2

Open a document or file containing both text and graphics.

Step 3

Click "File," "Print" then "OK" to print the document.

Step 4

Examine the document's print quality. If the document is blank, your print head has failed. If the text contains multiple lines or is faded, yet the printer contains new ink cartridges, the print head is failing. These lines indicate missing pins inside of the print head.

Step 5

Determine if the graphic print quality is compromised. If the graphic on the document is faded, contains multiple lines or contains white blocks/missing sections, the print head is failing. If the graphic's colors are drastically different from what is displayed on your computer's monitor, the print head is failing. You will notice a slight difference in the colors since your monitor is RGB, and the printer uses a different set of colors (CMYK or another color mode).

Step 6

Inspect the document's overall print quality. If the document contains horizontal white lines or streaks appearing over the entire document, the print head has failed. If the document is only printing on one part of the page or contains missing colors, part of the print head has already failed.

Step 7

Contact the printer's manufacturer about ordering a new print head or consult with a computer repair service.

Tips & Warnings

  • After replacing or rebuilding your device's print head, use your printer at least weekly to keep ink and dust from clogging the new print head. Paper dust and disuse can cause the print head to fail even when the print head is new. Use a can of compressed air to keep dust out of your printer and from around the print head.