Does your printer indicate that your ink cartridges are empty? You should know that this message, which is based on an estimate, sometimes appears before they are really emptied of their ink.
With the price of cartridges sometimes high, we tend to want to use them as long as possible. But be careful not to abuse it too much at the risk of damaging your printer.

So how do you know when you really need to change the cartridge (s)? Discover 5 signs that will help you recognize the right time to change your cartridges.

5 signs it's time to change your printer cartridge

1 - The printer refuses to print

2 - Horizontal or vertical bands appear on your copies
3 - The print is too really too light / too pale
4 - The colors obtained do not correspond to what you have printed
5 - Elements are missing on your impressions

1 – Printer refuses to print

Are all of your prints "pending" and no more pages coming out of the printer? Some printers can be programmed to block all printing when a first ink level error message appears. In fact, this keeps an optimal print quality.

If you are concerned, you can try to remove the empty cartridge from the printer, shake it very lightly and then reinstall it in your hardware. This will allow you to make some additional prints. If that does not work, you will have to replace the empty cartridge (find out which cartridge to change).

Note: These printers will generally block all prints even if they are in black and white and it is a color cartridge that is empty (and vice versa).

Indeed, on some models, ink must be available in each cartridge to activate the print head and prevent clogging of the nozzles.

2 – Horizontal or vertical bands appear on your copies

Streaks appear in the middle of your documents, or are your photos and texts cut / shifted?

First check that the paper loaded in the printer is the same as that selected in the printer driver and also that it is accepted by your printer model. Indeed, if you use a medium not supported by the printer (format, thickness, material), this can create printing defects.

To try to improve your prints, perform a print head cleaning and alignment cycle. During this test, the ink will be sucked in by the print head to restore its good flow. If you notice printing faults on the test sheet and nothing improves after that, your cartridges are no longer full enough to ensure the quality of your printed documents.

3 –The print is too really too light / too pale

In this case, there is no possible doubt: if your prints are too clear and the colors hardly appear on your white sheets, it is time to change the cartridge (s) concerned (s).

Note: The colors displayed on the computer screen are not quite the same as those that will appear when printed.

It may therefore be normal for your documents to stand out with slightly different colors than those displayed on your screen.

image-ecran-fleur impression-photo-fleur impression-photo-fleur-pale

Image perceived on screen - Correct printing - Printing too light

4 – The colors obtained do not correspond to what you have printed

If your prints only appear in gray / black, first check that printing in "grayscale" or "draft" is indeed disabled. If these parameters are active, this explains that the colors do not stand out as expected.

On the other hand, if you print a photo and it comes out almost entirely in pink or bluish shades for example, it is a sign that a cartridge no longer prints because it is empty.

impression-photo-lapin impression-photo-bleuteeimpression-photo-incorrecte

Correct printing - Bluish incorrect printing - Incorrect printing

Note: Before removing an empty cartridge from the printer, make sure you have spare cartridges. You must install the new ink cartridges as soon as you remove the used cartridges from the printer.

In fact, the nozzles of the printheads must not remain in the open air for more than 30 minutes at the risk of drying.

5 – Elements on your impressions are missing

You print a document and find that every second word has disappeared: one of your cartridges is almost empty and is therefore no longer able to print.

This means that you have optimized your cartridges well that it is a good time to change them before it can damage your equipment. You do not need to change all the cartridges, only the empty one.

Please note: this problem may also be a sign that your ink cartridges have dried out.

Other printing defects not related to the ink level of the cartridges

When you print, you may notice defects which in reality are not necessarily related to the level of ink in your cartridges. Some examples :

Pages that come out white or with the wrong colors when your cartridges are new: a cartridge is poorly ventilated. You may have forgotten to remove the protective tape. Remove the cartridge from the printer and remove this cover from the cartridge before reinserting it into the printer. Otherwise, start aligning and cleaning the printheads.
Pages that come up with missing content after several weeks without use: your cartridges may have dried: find out what to do in case of dry ink cartridge

Printing is fuzzy: Make sure the printer is placed on a flat, stable surface. The printer will not function properly if it is placed in an inclined position. Also check that the paper is not damaged and that it is dry.

Why does the printer indicate that my cartridge is empty when it is not yet empty?

Today's printers and cartridges are equipped with sensors that estimate the level of ink remaining. This measurement is inaccurate by definition because it is an estimate most generally based on a predetermined number of pages that the cartridge is capable of printing.

The first message should appear when there is approximately 5% ink remaining. But someone who prints a lot of pages but has little content could see the signal appear sooner than it should. Conversely, a person who has printed the same number of pages but with more content (photos, ...) could see the signal appear a little later.