Thank you for your feedback

Pages Printed On a Lexmark X642, X644, or X646 Series Printer Are Coming Out Light or Faded

Document ID:SO4655

Usergroup :External


Light copy; Copies are light; Toner low; Empty cartridge; Faded text; Missing print; Washed-out print; Poor print quality


What you will see

The print or text on the page is extremely light or faded.

Recommended actions

In most cases, light print and similar print quality issues are caused by a print cartridge running low on toner. This is especially true if the printer is also reporting a Toner Low message. If you have an extra print cartridge in stock, try replacing the existing print cartridge with a new one. For detailed directions on how to replace a print cartridge, click here.

If an extra print cartridge is not available, try one of the following:

  • Remove the print cartridge. Lightly shake the cartridge in all directions in order to redistribute any toner remaining. Hold the cartridge over a sheet of paper or a trash can to catch any loose toner dust. Then reinstall the cartridge and try printing again. If this improves the print quality, the print cartridge is probably low on toner and should be replaced.

  • If you have access to another printer of the same model, try exchanging print cartridges between the two printers. See if the issue follows the cartridge to the other printer. If the second printer is affected in the same way as the first, this will confirm the print cartridge as the cause of the issue.
If replacing the print cartridge does not correct the issue, check the printer's Toner Darkness setting. This setting lightens or darkens the print.

IMPORTANT! The directions below for navigating the menus apply to X644 and X646 printers only. If you have an X642 model printer, please see the User Guide for directions on how to navigate the menus and change the Toner Darkness setting.

    1. Press the Menus button located in the lower right corner of the screen and enter the printer menu.

    2. Press the   button next to Settings. A new list of menu choices should appear.

    3. Press the   button next to Print Settings. A new list of menu choices should appear. NOTE: If Print Settings is not listed on the first screen of choices, press  to see more menu choices.

    4. Press the   button next to Quality Menu. If Quality Menu is not listed on the first screen of choices, press  to see more menu choices. A list of settings and their current values should appear.

    5. Look for Toner Darkness. A number will be displayed, indicating the the current setting. The setting can be anywhere from 1 to 10, with 8 as the default.

    6. If this number is below 10, increase this number to 8 or to 10 by pressing .  Once you have the desired setting, press the Submit button located in the lower left corner of the screen to save the new value.

    7. Press to return the printer to the normal Ready screen and try printing again.
If the light print issue continues and you are using the scanner unit to print copies, determine if the scanner unit is the cause. Do this by printing jobs from the computer or network or by using the menus on the printer's operator panel to print the internal settings pages. NOTE: To print the settings pages, press the Menus button to enter the menus. Select Reports then select Menu Settings Page. The printer will display the message Printing Menu Settings Page and the printer will print out the pages.

  • If the print on these pages appears fine and only scanned images are light, check the imaging settings on the scanner unit. Click here for detailed instructions.

  • If you are not using the scanner unit, or if the print on pages that do not use the scanner also appears light, continue with the steps below.
Check the type of media you are printing on. If you are printing on anything other than plain copy paper, please test the printer by printing on plain copy paper before arranging service on the printer. This will eliminate the print media from being a possible cause of the issue. Heavier media (such as labels and light card stock) and textured media (such as letterhead or cotton paper) are more difficult for toner to adhere to.

NOTE: If you are printing on plain copy paper, make sure that the Paper Type setting for that tray is Plain Paper.
There is a small cable inside the printer that, when loose, can cause all print to come out extremely light. You can access the system board and check this cable to make sure it is correctly plugged in before arranging a service call to the printer. Click here for detailed directions on how to do this and what to look for.

IMPORTANT! Although accessing the system board is something a customer can do, be aware that it does require use of a screwdriver and the removal of an inner metal cover. If you feel uncomfortable performing this operation yourself or if you would like to try it but would like assistance on how to access the system board, please contact Lexmark Technical Support
  6If the issue continues after you have performed all the steps above, a service action may be required to correct the issue. For assistance in setting up service, please contact Lexmark Technical Support or a local authorized service provider.

Contacting Lexmark

For assistance in setting up warranty service, or if you have questions about any of the steps above, please contact Lexmark Technical Support. For contact information, click here.
When contacting Lexmark, be prepared to describe the problem that you are experiencing as well as any troubleshooting steps that you have already taken to find a solution.
NOTE: When calling for support, you will asked for the model type and serial number (SN) of the printer. This information can be found on a label located under the upper front coverClick here for further details. Please call from near the printer in case the technician on the phone asks you to perform a troubleshooting task on the printer. 

Please enter the email address you would like to send a copy of this page to.