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Paper jams in laser printers are always bothersome because not only is time lost clearing the mess inside, also you have to often re-start the print run over again.

These useful tips will help you clear most printer jams quickly and although they refer to Hewlett Packard printers specifically, the same tips will broadly apply to most other laser printer brands.

Diagnosing Paper Jams in HP Laser Printers

By:  Donald Broda

There are many things that can cause paper jams in HP printers, and diagnoses vary from one model to the next. In this article I will discuss some of the most common causes of printer jams and possible solutions.

Where is the paper jamming?

When you answer this question you are close to solving the problem.

1.  If the printer will not pick up paper from tray two or three there are several possible causes.

Try using a lower weight paper. HP does not recommend printing a higher weight than 20lbs from tray one.

If this does not work, the paper rollers probably need to be changed. These come with every maintenance kit, but most end-users do not change them, they just change the fuser.

If you do not have rollers available, try cleaning them with a lint free cloth and wipe away any paper dust or other debris.

2.  The paper is picked up from the tray but does not make it to the toner cartridge.

Typically this is the paper feed assembly or the registration assembly. These are not easily replaced and I suggest consulting a professional.

3.  The paper gets to the toner cartridge and then jams.

Try replacing the toner cartridge. If you have a newer model printer (most HP models) check to make sure that the toner transfer bar is not stuck in an upright position.

Check for debris. If there is debris in the paper path this can cause jamming. Debris can be a torn piece of paper, a staple or just a build up of paper dust.

DO NOT touch the roller. It will hold the oil from your skin and cause print defects.

4.  The paper enters the fuser, but gets jammed inside.

Unfortunately, the fuser will probably have to be replaced, but check for any debris on the rollers before replacing. Also clean the paper path with a lint free cloth. DO NOT touch the rollers. They will hold the oil from your skin.

This does not cover all possible causes, only the most common.

Donald Broda

Senior Technician Specialist

Donald Broda has worked in the laser printer industry since 1999. In that time he has been involved in remanufacturing toner cartridges, quality control, and service of Hewlett Packard Laser Printers. Donald can be reached at and you can visit his company website at