How to Repair a Brother Typewriter

By Jean Asta

Updated September 26, 2017

Some basic repairs and troubleshooting can keep Brother typewriters running.
i keyboard close up image by TekinT from

The Brother company produced a number of manual and electric typewriters that are still in use today. Some of the electric Brother typewriters include a "self-demonstration" feature. To view the demonstration, insert a sheet of paper, turn on the typewriter and hit both the "Shift" and "Pitch" keys at the same time. The typewriter will begin a demonstration. You can end it by hitting the space bar. If any of the features of the electric typewriter have stopped working, or if you are having a problem with a manual Brother typewriter, there are some troubleshooting and basic repair steps to try before seeking professional service.

Use the level to verify that the feet of the Brother typewriter are set so that the machine is level. You might need to unscrew or screw in the feet to make it level. A machine that isn't level might not operate properly.

Find the carriage release lever, usually on the right-hand side of the carriage. Pull it to ensure that the carriage is not locked. Locking would prevent the carriage from moving and would keep you from being able to type.

Check that the Brother typewriter is plugged in if the model is electric, and that the power switch is in the "on" position. If power does not return, check that there is not a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. If the typewriter still has no power, contact a typewriter repair service (see Resources section).

Turn off and unplug an electric Brother typewriter. If there is a top cover, remove it by lifting it gently away from the typewriter. Use the compressed air canister to blow away any debris or foreign objects from inside the typewriter mechanism. Use paper towels and keyboard cleanser to gently clean any dirt or grime from the keyboard. Blow the keyboard with compressed air as well.

Leave the top cover open. View the key strike bars to determine whether any are jammed together. Consult the user manual for your Brother typewriter to determine whether it has a jam release function, which could be the "Mar Rel" button or a key that looks like an arrow with an "X" through it. Use the function or attempt to gently, manually unhook the jammed key strike bars.

View the window of the cassette ribbon to determine whether there is ribbon left , and whether the ribbon is intact. When the spool is empty, the typewriter is out of ribbon. Change the ribbon by moving the carriage to the center position using the space or backspace keys. Lift the ribbon cartridge first from the platen side until the ribbon is clear of the machine, then lift the cartridge out.

Replace the ribbon cartridge by first removing the stopper and tightening the ribbon with the ribbon feed knob. Slide the lugs on the bottom of the ribbon cartridge into the cassette ribbon table and then slide the ribbon between the ribbon guides. Tighten the ribbon again to make sure there is no slack.

Change the daisy wheel cassette on a Brother electric typewriter if there are broken or missing characters when you type. Lift the motor lock lever to release the cartridge, then lift it out using the tab on the upper right hand side of the cassette. Slide the new daisy wheel cassette in place by the same tab, pushing it as far in as it will go. Press the motor lock lever back in place.

Items you will need

  • Brother typewriter user manual

  • Level

  • Compressed air keyboard cleaner

  • Paper towels

  • Keyboard cleanser


Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions in your Brother typewriter user manual for specific troubleshooting and repair instructions.