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HP Officejet 4500 Printers - Fixing Poor Print Quality

This document is for HP Officejet 4500 (G510g, G510h), 4500 Advantage (K710g), 4500 Desktop (G510a, G510b), 4500 Wireless (G510n), and 4575 (K710a) All-in-One 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.
note:
Windows operating systems only: If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows.
Figure : Example of garbled, jumbled or illogical text, or an incomplete print job
Image: Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout

Step 1: Use genuine HP ink cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink or toner supplies. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP cartridges, the steps in this document might not resolve the issue. To check the authenticity of your cartridges, go to the HP anti-counterfeit webpage (in English).
Purchase replacement cartridges and other supplies from the HP Store or local retailers.
note:
Rough handling at the store or during installation can cause print quality problems with newly installed ink cartridges. If you see print problems with newly installed ink cartridges, wait for a few hours for the automatic servicing routine to complete, and then try to print again.
If using genuine HP ink cartridges did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 2: Allow the printer to rest

A short period of printer inactivity can clear up some problems. If possible, let the printer sit idle for 40 minutes, and then try printing again.
If allowing the printer to rest did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 3: Check the paper

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, such as photo paper and envelopes. 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. Use only clean, wrinkle-free paper.
    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 photos, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for best results.
    • Some paper might 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.
note:
If you see vertical streaks on your printed documents, the paper or print media might not have been handled or stored properly. Do not replace ink cartridges to fix vertical streaks.
The following images show the difference between vertical and horizontal streaks.
Examples of horizontal streaks and vertical streaks in printout
Figure : Horizontal streaks in printout
Illustration of horizontal streaks
Figure : Vertical streaks in printout
Illustration of vertical streaks
Continue with the following troubleshooting steps if your printout contains horizontal streaks, or other print quality issues besides vertical streaks.
Do not replace cartridges for vertical streaks in a printout. Instead, check the paper as described earlier in this document, or search for a document that covers this issue.
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.
  1. In the software application you are trying to print from, click File, and then click Print.
    The Print window opens.
  2. Open the Properties dialog box.
    Depending on the software application, the button might be Properties, Options, Printer Setup, Printer, or Preferences.
  3. Depending on your print job, you might consider modifying the following settings:
    • Paper Type: If you are printing on photo paper, select the type of photo paper you are attempting to print on.
    • Print Quality: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality. To print more quickly, decrease the print quality. These options typically include Best, Normal, and Draft modes.
    • Paper Size: If you are printing on a different size of paper than you normally print on, select the correct paper size.
    • Black and White: If you want to print in black and white only, select the grayscale option.
  4. After selecting the print settings, click OK to apply the settings, and then click Print.
If changing print settings did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 5: Check estimated ink levels

Check the estimated ink levels on your printer.
note:
Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low ink levels, consider having a replacement ink cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace ink cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
  1. Load plain, white paper into the input tray.
  2. Make sure the printer is on.
  3. Search Windows for your printer model, and then click on your printer in the list of results.
    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.
  4. In HP Solution Center, click Settings .
  5. In the Print Settings section, click Printer Toolbox.
    The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.
  6. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab. The estimated ink levels display.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels
    Image: Estimated ink levels
    note:
    If you have installed a refilled or remanufactured ink cartridge, or an ink cartridge that has been used in another printer, the ink level indicator might be inaccurate or unavailable.
  • If none of the cartridges are low on ink, you do not need to replace them yet. Continue to the step to print a diagnostic report.
  • If any of the cartridges are low on ink, continue to the next step to replace them.

Step 6: Replace any low or empty ink cartridges

Replace any low or empty ink cartridges, and then try to print again.

Video of replacing the ink cartridges

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube.
  1. Make sure the printer is on.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the right side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Opening the ink cartridge access door
  3. Push down on the top of the ink cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge
    Illustration of removing the ink cartridge
    • Remove the ink cartridge from the slot on the left to replace the tri-color ink cartridge.
    • Remove the ink cartridge from the slot on the right to replace the black ink cartridge.
  4. Remove the new ink cartridge from its packaging, and then carefully remove the plastic tape using the pull tab.
    Figure : Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Removing the plastic tape
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
  5. Slide the ink cartridge forward into the empty slot, and then gently push on the upper part of the ink cartridge until it clicks into place.
    Figure : Install the ink cartridge
    Illustration of installing the ink cartridges
  6. Close the ink cartridge access door.
  7. Load plain paper into the paper tray.
  8. Press OK. An alignment page prints.
  9. Lift the scanner lid.
  10. Place the alignment page print-side down on the scanner glass, and then align the page with the guides on the edge.
  11. Press OK. The printer scans the alignment page and completes the alignment process.
Try to print. If the print quality is unacceptable, continue to the next step.

Step 8: Clean the ink cartridges

If you found defects on the diagnostic report, run an automated tool to clean the ink cartridges.
  1. Load plain, white paper into the input tray.
  2. Press Setup.
  3. Select Tools, and then select Clean Cartridge.
    The printer prints one page.

Step 9: Align the ink cartridges

For best print quality, align the ink cartridges.
  1. Load plain white paper in the input tray.
  2. Press the Setup icon on the printer control panel.
  3. Select Tools, and then select Align Cartridge.
    The printer prints an ink cartridge alignment sheet.
  4. Place the alignment sheet face down on the right-front corner of the scanner glass.

Step 10: Manually clean the area around the ink nozzles

Do not perform these steps unless the test page or printout specifically shows smeared text or track marks. Clean the area around the ink nozzles if you see track marks or smears on the printouts.
Figure : Example of smeared text
Image: Example of smeared text
Figure : Example of text with track marks
Image: Example of text with track marks
  1. Gather the following materials:
    • Dry foam-rubber swabs, lint-free cloth, or any soft material that does not come apart or leave fibers (coffee filters work well)
    • Distilled, filtered, or bottled water (tap water might contain contaminants that can damage the ink cartridges)
        caution:
      Do not use platen cleaners or alcohol to clean the area. These can damage the ink cartridge or the printer.
  2. Make sure the printer is on.
  3. Open the scanner lid.
  4. Open the ink cartridge access door.
    The carriage moves to the ink cartridge access area.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Opening the ink cartridge access door
  5. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.
  6. Push down on the top of the ink cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge
    Illustration of removing the ink cartridge
  7. Hold the ink cartridge by its sides.
    Figure : Hold the ink cartridge by its sides
    Image: Hold the ink cartridge by its sides.
  8. Inspect the ink cartridge contacts for ink and debris buildup.
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or the ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles.
  9. Lightly moisten a clean, foam-rubber swab with distilled water, and then squeeze any excess water from it.
  10. Clean the face and edges around the ink nozzle with the swab.
      caution:
    Do not clean the ink nozzle plate.
      Figure : Clean the area around the ink nozzle
      Image: The ink nozzle and ink cartridge contacts.
    1. Nozzle plate - Do not clean
    2. Area surrounding ink nozzle - Do clean
    3. Ink cartridge contacts - Do not clean
  11. Either let the ink cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.
  12. Slide the ink cartridge forward into the empty slot, and then gently push on the upper part of the ink cartridge until it clicks into place.
    Figure : Install the ink cartridge
    Illustration of installing the ink cartridges
  13. Repeat these steps to clean the area surrounding the ink nozzle on the other ink cartridge.
  14. Close the ink cartridge access door.
  15. Close the scanner lid.
  16. Try printing again.

Step 11: Replace the problem ink cartridge

If you saw defects on the print quality diagnostic report, and cleaning and alignment did not help, replace the problem ink cartridge.

Video of replacing the ink cartridges

The following video demonstrates how to replace a cartridge.
If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube.
  1. Make sure the printer is on.
  2. Open the ink cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the right side of the printer.
    Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.
    Figure : Open the ink cartridge access door
    Image: Open the ink cartridge access door
  3. Push down on the top of the ink cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure : Remove the ink cartridge
    Illustration of removing the ink cartridge
    • Remove the ink cartridge from the slot on the left to replace the tri-color ink cartridge.
    • Remove the ink cartridge from the slot on the right to replace the black ink cartridge.
  4. Remove the new ink cartridge from its packaging, and then carefully remove the plastic tape using the pull tab.
    Figure : Remove the plastic tape
    Image: Removing the plastic tape
      caution:
    Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Touching these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
    Figure : Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
    Image: Do not touch the contacts or nozzles
  5. Slide the ink cartridge forward into the empty slot, and then gently push on the upper part of the ink cartridge until it clicks into place.
    Figure : Install the ink cartridge
    Illustration of installing the ink cartridges
  6. Close the ink cartridge access door.
  7. Load plain paper into the paper tray.
  8. Press OK.
    An alignment page prints.
  9. Lift the scanner lid.
  10. Place the alignment page print-side down on the scanner glass, and then align the page with the guides on the edge.
  11. Press the OK button. The printer scans the alignment page and completes the alignment process.
If replacing problem ink cartridges did not resolve the issue, continue to the next step.

Step 12: Service the printer

If you have followed all the steps in this document and your printer is producing printouts with print quality issues, service the printer
Service or replace your HP product if the issue persists after completing all the preceding steps.
Go to Contact HP Customer Support to schedule a product repair or replacement. If you are in Asia Pacific, you will be directed to a local service center in your area.
To confirm your warranty status, go to HP Product Warranty Check. Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty products.
note:
Keep a print sample that shows the problem. If the ink cartridges, printhead, or printer is replaced under warranty, the support agent will request the print sample. If the printer is returned to HP, the print sample must be returned with the printer. Place the sample in the output tray when you package your printer for shipping.

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