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Print Quality Defect: Light or Faint Vertical Streaks

Document ID:SO8157

Usergroup :External
11/07/17 Properties  


Affected products

Click Properties in the title section above.  


Issue Description

The printed image appears light due to multiple small, fine-line streaks running through its text or graphic areas. The severity and number of the streaks can differ, causing some of the streaks to appear thicker than others. See example below:




Several printer system factors could potentially lead to light vertical streaks, as depicted above. Use the decision tree below to help diagnose the potential source and recommended actions to resolve the print defect.

  • Non-genuine Lexmark Supplies / Refilled Cartridges / ‘Compatible’ Supplies
  • Toner clumping in the imaging unit and/or toner cartridge
  • Previous cartridge failure (31.46 and/or 31.66)
  • Slow printing configurations
  • System delay while printing
  • Paper debris and fibers 
  • Other loose particulates in the air
  • Printer system malfunction
  • Possible printhead contamination 


Non-genuine Lexmark Supplies / Refilled Cartridges / ‘Compatible’ Supplies

Using of Non-Lexmark supplies can result in damage to printer components and in multiple failures, including degraded print quality within the system; i.e., the effects of using such non-Lexmark supplies are not limited to the imaging unit, printhead, fuser, transfer system, and paper feed reliability.


Toner Clumping in the Imaging Unit and/or Toner Cartridge

If this defect appears soon after installing a new supply, it could be due to the placement and condition of the toner inside the supply. Please ensure to comply with the instructions that come with replacement supplies, which include shaking the new supply in order to redistribute the toner inside.

On the outside of the toner cartridge and imaging unit boxes (aftermarket supplies), you will find a recommended temperature which should not be exceeded during storage. If the supply is exposed to extremely hot temperatures, the toner inside the supply can become either clumped or damaged. On the instruction sheet that comes with a replacement toner cartridge and imaging unit, the instructions illustrate the need to shake the supply back and forth before installing the supply into the printer. The shaking helps to 1) potentially break up any clumped toner that experienced higher temperature, and 2) redistribute the toner evenly in the supply as it could have been shipped and/or stored on a side.


Previous Toner Cartridge Failure (31.46 and/or 31.66)

If the imaging unit was exposed to a cartridge that presented a 31.46 Reinstall Missing or Unresponsive Toner Cartridge error message, or 31.66 Reinstall missing or nonresponsive Imaging Unit, the imaging unit could have become damaged and might need to be replaced.

To ensure this is the source of the issue, reviewing the Event Log or History of the device can determine whether this error was previously observed. To access the Event Log or History, a brief summary can be printed out through the Reports menu option or extracted digitally through the embedded web server. If one of these errors appears to have occurred with the imaging unit in question, please contact Lexmark Technical Support.


Slow Printing Configurations

There are some instances in which the printer will slow down its printing speeds in order to try to provide the operating conditions required to print a specified job. The printer will still operate at these slower print speeds, but in many cases, the intention is not to be printing at the slow speeds for extended periods of time. Examples of some slow printing scenarios include batch narrow media and quiet mode, which force the printer to perform slower.

For example, if you print A6 media in large batch jobs (50 pages at a time), some of the devices might experience significantly slower printing, and if done often enough, could induce a failure such as seen in the example above.

Another example for slow printing configuration would be turning Quiet Mode = On because of fax speaker volume levels. The more appropriate settings would be to keep Quiet Mode = Off and change the Analog Fax Speaker Settings to Always Off or Volume = Low. This will ensure that the fax speakers are off but the printer remains at full speed.

Lastly, another example is the Windows 8 and Windows 10 driver: these also potentially cause a printing slow down due to incorrect paper type defaults.


System Delay While Printing

Depending on a variety of factors, instances occur in which the printer is ready faster than the job information is being provided. In these scenarios, one might observe the printer motors turning for an extended period of time without paper being picked. In this scenario, it is recommended to update the firmware of the device and adjust printer settings as needed. For more information about updating your printer’s firmware, please see Document ID: HO550.


Paper Debris and Fibers

In most cases, this is not a concern, but some media can produce more debris than others. (Different media types are processed in multiple ways.) Debris from the media can be carried into the printer and electrostatically attracted to specific components. The potential level of contamination can depend on the material, any extra finishing steps like perforations, the manufacturer’s process controls and quality requirements, and storage and usage environments for the media.

NOTE: Loose debris found in the back of a paper tray generally indicate that the media being used has a higher propensity to deposit debris within the printer.


Other Loose Particulates in the Air

Fans inside the printer circulate the air from outside the printer through it in order to cool those components that get extremely hot. This prevents damage to the components. If the air contains a lot of dust or other foreign particulates, these can also contaminate some of the surfaces inside the printer, thus potentially leading to this issue. A cleaning service might be required. Lexmark does not recommend the use of compressed air for any cleaning but rather fine particle vacuums in order to keep from contaminating other parts of the printer.


Still need help?

If you need additional assistance, please close this browser tab or go to the Lexmark support site, type your printer model and locate Get in Touch with Lexmark! for contact information. NOTE: When calling for support, you will need the following:

  • Printer model
  • Printer serial number
  • Toner/imaging unit/waste toner bottle part number and serial number

Please be near the product/s described in this article to expedite the support process and reduce callbacks.



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