How Do I Fix Carriage Problems with an HP Printer?

by Jennifer Moore
Fix printer carriage and paper jams that prevent the printer from working correctly.

Fix printer carriage and paper jams that prevent the printer from working correctly.

The carriage in an HP deskjet printer is the component that slides back and forth to print the paper. The carriage can jam, causing the printer to misprint, stop printing or seem broken. If this happens, you'll hear a grinding noise when the carriage tries to move but is unable to do so. This indicates that the actuator arm is stuck, which prevents the carriage from sliding back and forth as it normally should. Fixing the issue is only a matter of lifting and releasing the actuator arm, then moving the carriage again.

Disconnect the HP printer from the electrical outlet and open the cover so you can see the carriage assembly.

Clear any paper jam that may exist. Remove excess paper from rollers.

Squeeze the two levers at opposite sides of the paper tray and pull the tray out. Set the paper tray aside. Look for any jammed or crumpled paper where the tray is located and remove it.

Slide the carriage to the middle of the printer gently. If the carriage offers resistance, desist and continue to step 5.

Locate the long black bar just above the rollers. Press the bar down and allow it to spring back up. Try to slide the carriage to the middle again. If the carriage offers resistance, stop and continue to step 6.

Locate a black bar that sits under the rollers. You will need to reach under and feel the bar to locate it. Check to see that it is flat and parallel to the printer. Push it down gently if it is pointing upward. Slide the carriage to the middle of the printer.

Lift the actuator arm, which is a thin plastic strip just above the gear assembly on the left-hand inside of the printer. This arm is about 1-1/2 inches long by 1/3-inch wide. Allow the arm to snap back to its normal position.

Replace the paper tray and connect the printer to the power. Turn the printer on and close the cover. Allow the printer to reset, and press "OK" on the display panel, or follow the HP printer reset instructions given on the printer display or in the manual.

References

About the Author

Jennifer Moore began writing in 2006, specializing in Web content, blogs and forum postings. She is a graduate from the most prestigious university in Mexico, Universidad de Las Americas, with a B.A. in international relations, later obtaining a U.S. teacher's degree and an additional CompTIA A+ certification in computer technology. Moore has written for My Mexico Living, BoomersAbroad and various other websites.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera printer cartridge image by hugy from Fotolia.com