What Causes Line Streaks in Canon Printers?

By Rob Clarkson

Updated September 01, 2017

Streaks  are not always indicative of low ink levels or an old or broken printer.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Streaking lines on a printed project can be the result of any number of common problems and is fairly common on Canon printers, as well as most other brands of inkjet printers. However, streaking lines are not always indicative of equipment needing to be replaced; in most cases, they can be remedied with just a few minutes work.

Dirty Printheads

Streaked lines may be the result of dirty printheads; in which case cleaning the printheads will resolve the issue. To clean the printheads, use the printer's onboard menu or access the printer settings via your PC and select the "Clean Printheads" option. This option is available on most Canon printers -- i.e. the Pixma series -- and, if no such option is available, it is possible to manually clean the printheads using distilled water and cotton swabs. Consult your device's owner manual before attempting to clean the printheads manually to ensure the proper items are cleaned and that nothing is damaged by improper cleaning technique.

Printer Alignment

Streaked lines on paper can also be caused by the printer being out of alignment. To correct this, access the printer's menu through the printer itself or via your PC and locate the "Calibrate Printer" option. Selecting this option will recalibrate the printer and help resolve and prevent streaking. On most Canon devices, this option is relatively simple to find. However, if you are unable to locate the calibration option, refer to your owner's manual for step-by-step instructions on how to access the calibration settings based on your specific model.

Print Quality

Streaking lines on a project are sometimes the result of the print quality being set too low. The print quality can be changed by accessing the printer's options through your PC's control panel and device settings. Select "Options" and then "Advanced Options" on your Canon printer, then change the quality settings using the drop-down menu. Ensure that settings such as "Quick Draft" or "Low" are not selected and instead change print settings to "High" or "Best Quality". When dealing with photos, ensure that a proper dots per inch (DPI) ratio and resolution are selected on the photo before printing. You can also change quality settings by selecting the "Preview" button before printing a project and selecting the "Advanced" option from the pop-up print menu.

Other Troubleshooting

Make sure all paper being used is the proper style for your specific Canon printer and is not dirty or damaged. It is also important to keep track of ink levels and replace or refill ink cartridges that are running low on ink. In some instances, simply attempting to reprint a document will fix the streaking issue. If the streaking continues, despite all of your efforts, look into warranty and replacement options for your printer as it is likely that parts of the printer are defective, worn out and/or in need of replacement.