Symptoms of a Bad Transfer Roller on a LaserJet

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A bad transfer roller can cause streaky printing and paper jams.
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The transfer roller inside a LaserJet printer is responsible for pulling toner from the cartridge drum and onto the paper. It uses opposing electrical charges to attract the toner particles. If your printer is malfunctioning, you may be able to save money by troubleshooting the problem yourself instead of calling a technician. Many common problems are the result of a simple issue, such as improper positioning or dirt on the surface of the roller.



Your printer should run quietly when everything is working correctly. Squealing or screeching noises may indicate that the transfer roller is broken or out of alignment. Press down on each side of the roller to test its fit. If you do not feel the roller spring back into place, check the retaining clips to see if they are broken. If the clips are defective, you will need a qualified technician to replace the entire assembly.


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Paper Jams

Frequent paper jams can also be a sign of issues with the transfer roller. Watch the location in the printer where the paper usually gets stuck. If the paper is jamming near the roller, follow the manufacturer's instructions to remove and reposition it. Do not touch the middle of the roller with your bare hands, as the oils from your skin can damage the surface. Wear gloves or hold the ends of the roller.



A dirty transfer roller can emit an unpleasant smell when the printer is running. Stop your print job to prevent further odors. Open the printer and clean the roller and the areas around it. Use compressed air to blow dust away or a dry cloth, but be careful not to dislodge the retaining clips or any other small parts inside the printer cabinet.


Light Printing

Light printing when the toner cartridge is full could indicate a dirty roller. Wipe the roller with a soft dry cloth that will not scratch the surface or leave lint behind. Do not use liquid cleaners in your printer. If the surface of the roller gets wet, the toner will not transfer to the paper properly. Light print may also indicate a positioning problem. The roller may be too far away from the paper or toner cartridge to produce an effective transfer.


Streaks or Spots

Streaks on the paper are another sign of a dirty roller surface. Clean the roller and print several test pages to see if the problem is resolved. If you still see black streaks, or if there are random spots on the page, the roller is defective and must be replaced.




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