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When to Change your Print Cartridge

2008-11-01

Sign #1: The text is lighter than normal - You're printing a 10-page document. Black Arial font. The first few pages print perfectly. The text is a rich black color at first, but then it gradually starts to get lighter. Or, you're printing a graphic or photo and notice that either the entire printout or a specific portion (the blue sky, for example) is lighter than it should be. These are signs that your ink cartridge is running out of ink. Either replace it now or, if you don't have a spare one on hand, as soon as the new cartridge arrives.

Sign #2: There are white streaks running through your text - When you print your document, the color is as it should be, but the words are only sort of there. Those white streaks through your words are a sure sign that the time to replace your ink cartridge has arrived.

Note: While these are two of the more common signs that your cartridge is running out of ink, these issues can also be caused by other problems, such as clogged nozzles. Therefore, if you're absolutely confident that the problem isn't that the cartridge is running low (because you just bought it and have hardly used it, for example) investigate other potential issues before popping in a replacement.

Sign #3: Your computer tells you it's time for a replacement - Computers these days are so helpful. Many can even tell you when your ink cartridge is running low. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that they're not always 100% accurate. Some gauges will tell you that you need a replacement cartridge even though there is still enough ink left for a few more printing jobs. So, if you've gotten the warning message but don't notice white streaks and your text is still as dark as it should be, you might decide to keep printing until you notice one or both of the signs mentioned above.

Note: If your computer will let you ignore the "low ink" warning messages and keep printing, it's important not to push your luck too far. Never wait until your cartridge is completely dry to replace it. Trying to print with an empty cartridge can cause damage to essential printer components, including the ink tubes and print head.

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