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HP Deskjet D4145, D4155, D4160, D4163, and D4168 Printers - Streaks or Smears in the Printed Image

Issue

The printer is working, but printed output shows streaks or lines. The lines are perpendicular to the direction the paper moved through the printer and parallel to the movement of the cartridges during printing.
Figure : Defect, with the direction the paper moved through the printer indicated

Solution

Step one: Check the ink levels

note:
If you have installed a refilled or remanufactured print cartridge, or a cartridge that has been used in another printer, the ink level indicator will be inaccurate or unavailable.
  1. Open the Printer Toolbox.
    1. Open the Printer Properties dialog box.
    2. Click Features.
    3. Click Printer Services. The Toolbox is displayed.
  2. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels - both cartridges low
    note:
    A cartridge might be running out of ink even if the graphic shows that there is ink remaining in the cartridge. Lines or streaks always appear in printouts when the cartridges begin to run out of ink. Replace print cartridges that are out of ink or low on ink.

Step two: Check the print settings

  1. In the software application you are trying to print from, click File and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Verify that your printer is selected and then click Properties. The printer Properties dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Printing Shortcuts tab.
  4. In the What do you want to do? drop-down menu, select a task.
  5. The What do you want to do? drop-down menu lists most printing needs, but you might need to modify some of the options.
    Options on the Printing Shortcuts tab include:
    • Print quality: If you are unhappy with the quality of your printouts, try increasing the print quality. To print more quickly, try decreasing the print quality.
    • Paper type: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, choose it rather than Automatic.
    • Paper size: Make sure this matches your paper.
    Additional options: click the Basics tab, then click Advanced Features. The Advanced Features window opens.
    • Ink volume: Adjusts the amount of ink printed on a page. For lighter images (less ink), drag the slider to the left. For darker images (more ink), drag the slider to the right. The lighter the ink volume, the faster the printout will dry.
    • Dry time: Provides extra drying time for slow-drying printouts. Drag the slider to the left for less drying time, or to the right for more drying time. The printer will hold onto the printout until the dry time has elapsed.

Step three: Run the clean print cartridges utility

  1. Open the printer Toolbox.
    1. Open the Printer Properties dialog box.
    2. Click the Features tab.
    3. Click the Printer services button. The Toolbox is displayed.
  2. Click Clean the Print Cartridges.
  3. Click Clean, and then follow the onscreen instructions.

Step four: Print a self-test page

If the steps above have not helped, print and evaluate a self-test page to determine if the cartridges or printer is causing the problem.
  1. Open the printer Toolbox.
    1. Open the Printer Properties dialog box.
    2. Click the Features tab.
    3. Click the Printer services button. The Toolbox is displayed.
  2. Click the Print a Test Page button, and then follow the onscreen instructions.

Step five: Note which cartridges printed which areas of the self-test page

You must identify which cartridge printed which part of the self-test report, so that if you find defects on the report, you will know which cartridge is the problem.
Note though that different combinations of print cartridges can be installed in your printer, and different cartridge combinations print different patterns. Your self-test report may not look exactly like the picture below, but the right and left cartridges will print in the same areas of the report no matter which cartridges are installed.
note:
If there are no specific color blocks refer to cyan, magenta, and yellow for mixing.
    Figure : Self-test report layout (the patterns in each area may look slightly different on your report)
  1. Printed by the left cartridge
  2. Printed by the right cartridge

Step six: Look for defects

In general, if the printer and print cartridges are working properly, the patterns (which look like grids of lines) should contain few or no missing lines. Also, the colors of the patterns and bars should be approximately the same as the color dots on the print cartridge label.
note:
Do not compare the colors on your self-test report to the colors on this Web page. Unless your monitor is calibrated, the colors will not be correct. Instead, compare the colors on the page to the colors dots on the print cartridge label. While the color dots may not be perfectly accurate, they are likely to be more accurate than the colors on the monitor.

Missing lines or streaked bars

If a pattern shows more than a few missing lines, or a bar is streaked, that print cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The left cartridge shows missing lines and a streaked bar - the cartridge is not functioning properly
If your test page shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Color mix

If the color of the patterns or bars is very different from the color dots on the cartridge label, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The color of one of the left cartridge bars is very different from the color on the cartridge label - the cartridge is not functioning properly
If your test page shows colors that are very different from the colors on the cartridge label, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Missing colors

If any of the color blocks or patterns is entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
    Figure : Missing color - the yellow pattern and bar is missing from example 2 below
  1. Good test page
  2. Yellow pattern and bar missing
If any of the patterns or color blocks is entirely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Ink smears

If the test page shows smeared ink, you may need to clean your cartridges.
Figure : Smeared ink
If your test page shows smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Step seven: If you saw no defects

If there were no defects on the diagnostic page, the cartridges and printer are probably working correctly. Click here to continue troubleshooting.

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