What do you do when your printer malfunctions? Most printer manufacturers offer 90-day to one-year warranties - but where do you turn when the printer breaks and the warranty has expired?
Depending on how much you paid for your printer and how long you've owned it, many consumers feel that it might be less expensive and time consuming to simply purchase a new one instead of spending hours on the phone dealing with the manufacturer's tech support or an authorized service center.
But while printer costs have certainly come down, so have the costs of printer repair. And given that we are a nation of do-it-yourselfers, it is surprising that many people don't realize that most printer problems are relatively easy to fix - if you have the parts that are included in a standard printer maintenance kit.
Printer Repair Kits
A lot of the problems that occur in laser printers are common and tend to appear frequently for all users. They can usually be attributed to design flaws or faulty equipment on the behalf of the manufacturer, and as such are easy to diagnose and repair.
To help consumers and small businesses solve these problems, fixyourownprinter.com provides repair parts and instructional guides in a collection of do-it-yourself printer repair kits. Designed with the average user in mind, these kits cost a fraction of the typical repair bill (in most incidents they're cheaper than an estimate), and eliminate the waiting period and unreliability of some computer stores. They're also a great training tool for new techs if you're interested in learning how to fix laser printers yourself.
fixyourownprinter.com offers repair kits for HP, Epson, Lexmark, Apple and other printer models. Most of the repair kits are for laser printers but they also have replacement parts and head cleaning solutions for inkjet printers.
Other Online Resources
There are online nationwide companies that provide parts, instructions and maintenance kits for do-it-yourself printer repair for all major printer models. These printer maintenance kits contain spare replacement parts for items that tend to wear out more quickly, which helps eliminate service calls and maximizes the paper feed and print quality performance.
Repair4Printer.com has a collection of instructions, pictures and manuals for learning how to upgrade, repair or disassemble a printer or plotter. Instructions for cleaning, repairing or even building your own printer are listed by manufacturer and model.
All Laser Service provides laser printer parts, supplies and repair information for most major brands.
The Printer Works specializes in HP LaserJet repair and has an online parts catalog, maintenance and repair kits.
The Spare Parts Warehouse offers replacement parts for HP, Okidata, Lexmark and Xerox printers.
Depot America provides parts and maintenance kits for HP, Lexmark and Xerox printers.
Local Repair Centers
If you're not a do-it-yourselfer or if the printer problem is more difficult to resolve, check the manufacturer's web site or search online for information on local service centers that may be able to help. Most authorized service centers located in major cities have web sites - doing a web search for "printer repair" and entering your city will return a list of local options.
Printer Repair Online is a nationwide service that offers next day on-site printer repair in most states. Rates are listed on the web site.
It's always a good idea to purchase a printer maintenance kit to protect your investment and keep your printer functioning with the highest quality output. None of us like to think about repairs but if you do experience a problem with your printer, hopefully the resources listed above will be a good starting place for resolving it.