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HP Smart Tank 450 Printers - Color or Black Ink Not Printing, Other Print Quality Issues

This document is for HP Smart Tank Wireless 450, 455, and 457 printers.
The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The procedures in this document should help with streaked or faded printouts, color or black ink not printing, documents with blurred or fuzzy text, ink streaks or smears, and other print quality problems.
  caution:
While performing the following steps, avoid lifting the printhead latch.

Step 1: Use genuine HP printheads and ink

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP ink. If you do not use genuine HP ink and HP printheads, the steps in this document might not resolve print quality issues.
Purchase replacement ink and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.
note:
Using non-HP ink contaminates any genuine HP ink added later. Because ink remains in the printhead when the ink is changed, the contaminated ink can remain in the system and affect print quality.
If you are using genuine HP printheads and ink, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Check the ink levels

Low ink levels can impact print quality.
  caution:
Damage to the printer as a result of improperly filling the ink tanks or using non-HP ink is not covered under warranty.
Do not let the ink levels fall below the minimum fill line when printing. Very low ink levels can result in reduced print quality or damage to the ink system.
  1. Visually check the printer ink levels using the ink tank window.
  2. Add ink to any of the tanks where the level is below or close to the minimum fill line.
      caution:
    Do not let the ink levels fall below the minimum fill line when printing. Very low ink levels can result in reduced print quality.
      Image: Filled ink tanks
    1. Maximum fill line
    2. Minimum fill line

Step 3: Make sure you are using the appropriate paper for your print job

Use the following guidelines to make sure the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.
  • Load the paper print side down in the input tray. Many papers have printing and nonprinting sides, like photo paper and other special media. Usually, the smoother side is the "print side," and sometimes the non-print side has a logo of the paper manufacturer on it.
  • Do not use wrinkled or curled paper. Load only clean, wrinkle-free paper into the product.
    Do not use wrinkled paper
  • Use the correct paper type for your project.
    • For everyday text documents, plain paper with ColorLok technology works well. Paper with ColorLok technology is industry-standard paper that works well with HP ink.
      ColorLok logo
    • For documents with dense printing, such as high contrast graphics or photographs, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for the best results.
    • Some media may not absorb ink as well as others. If your prints smear easily, make sure you are using a recommended paper.
  • Store photo paper in its original packaging inside a resealable plastic bag. Store the paper on a flat surface in a cool, dry place. Load 10-20 sheets of photo paper only when you are ready to print, and then put the unused paper back in the packaging.
  • Try using a different paper. This determines if the problem is related to the paper.
After checking the paper, try to print again. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 4: Check the print settings

Check the print settings to make sure they are appropriate for your print job.
note:
Print settings vary by operating system and software application.
After checking the print settings, try to print again. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.
Try to print again. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

If there are smears of ink on the back of your printouts, you can use an automated tool to resolve the issue.
  1. Load paper into the input tray.
  2. Press and hold the Power button, press the Cancel button three times, press the Start Copy Color button eight times, and then release the Power button.
    The printer feeds one page slowly. The printer might make some noise for approximately one minute.
  3. Wait until the page ejects from the printer before you remove it.
  4. Examine the test page.
    If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 7: Run the printhead cleaning utility using the HP Software

HP provides an automated printhead cleaning utility that can unclog printhead nozzles.
  caution:
Clean the printheads only when necessary. Unnecessary cleaning shortens the life of the printheads and wastes ink.
To protect the printheads from drying out, always turn the printer off with the Power button.
If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Align the printheads using the HP software

Use the HP printer software to align the printheads.
Try to print again. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 9: Replace the printhead

If you have followed all the steps in this document and your printer is producing printouts with print quality issues, replace the defective printhead.
Contact HP to replace the printhead. If you already have a replacement printhead available, go to Replacing Printheads for more information.
Contacting HP for service in Asia Pacific
If you completed all the preceding steps and your printer still has an issue, you might need further assistance from HP. Go to Contact HP Support to review available service options. 
Contacting HP for service in all countries/regions, except Asia Pacific
If you completed all the preceding steps and your printer still has an issue, service the printer.Check your product warranty to determine if your printer is still under warranty, and then go to Contact HP Support to schedule a repair or replacement.
Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty printers.

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