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Fixing Print Quality Problems for the HP Officejet 4500 All-in-One Printer Series

This document applies to the HP Officejet 4500 All-in-One Printer Series.

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: Some of the following solutions require the full HP software. If you did not install the full software when you installed your printer, click here to go to the software and drivers page , and then download and install the full feature software.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

HP recommends that you use genuine HP ink cartridges. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP ink cartridges or refilled HP ink cartridges. If you do not use genuine HP ink cartridges, the steps in this document might not resolve print quality issues.

Visit HP SureSupply to check ink cartridge compatibility or purchase replacement ink cartridges.

  1. Go to the HP SureSupply website.

  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page, then make sure the country/region location is correct.

  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to order new ink cartridges or check ink cartridge compatibility with your printer.

Genuine HP ink cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

Solution two: Check the paper

Use the following guidelines to make sure that the paper you are using is appropriate for the print job. If it is not, reload the printer with an appropriate paper type.

To purchase paper, go to HP Home & Home Office .

  • 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.

    Figure 1: Do not use wrinkled paper

    Image: 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.

      Figure 2: Plain paper with ColorLok technology is recommended for text printing

    • 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 will determine 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 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 3: Horizontal streaks in printout

Illustration of horizontal streaks

Figure 4: 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 trying the preceding guidelines, try printing again.

Solution three: 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.

Solution four: Check the print settings

Follow these steps to check the print settings to make sure that they are appropriate for your print job.

  1. In the software program you are trying to print from, click File, and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.

  2. Select your printer, and then click Properties. The printer Properties dialog box opens.

  3. Click the Printing Shortcuts tab.

  4. Under Printing Shortcuts, click the type of job you are trying to print.

  5. Review the following options, and then make any necessary changes.

    • Paper sizes: Make sure that the selected option matches your paper size.

    • Paper type: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, select that option.

    • Print quality: If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, increase the print quality.

  6. Click the Features tab.

  7. Under Color Options, make sure that Print in grayscale is not selected.

  8. Click OK, and then click OK again to start the print job.

Solution five: Check estimated ink levels and replace low or empty cartridges

Follow these steps to check the estimated ink levels on your printer, and then replace low or empty cartridges according to the results.

NOTE: Ink level warnings and indicators provide estimates for planning purposes only. When an indicator shows low-ink levels, consider having a replacement cartridge available to avoid possible printing delays. You do not need to replace cartridges until print quality becomes unacceptable.
  1. Open HP Solution Center:

    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), type Solution Center in the Search programs and files box, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows 8:

      1. Right-click the lower left corner of the screen, and then click Search from the menu.

      2. Type HP in the search box.

      3. Click your printer ().

      NOTE: You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

  2. In HP Solution Center, click Settings ().

  3. In the Print Settings section, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens in a new window.

  4. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab. The estimated ink levels display in a graphic on the computer.

    Figure 5: Estimated ink levels

    Graphic of estimated ink levels

    The colored bars represent the estimated ink levels in the corresponding cartridge. Full color bars represent high ink levels, while color bars that approach the bottom of the bar represent low ink.

    NOTE: If you have installed a refilled or remanufactured cartridge, or a cartridge that has been used in another printer, the ink level indicator might be inaccurate or unavailable.
  • If the ink level graphic shows low or empty cartridges, and you are dissatisfied with the quality of your printouts, replace the cartridges now.

  • If the ink level graphic shows full cartridges, you do not need to replace the cartridges yet. Continue to the next solution.

Solution six: Print and evaluate a diagnostic report and troubleshoot defects

To help diagnose the print quality problems, follow the instructions for your particular model to print a diagnostic report.

Method two: Print and evaluate a self-test report

Follow these steps to print and then evaluate a self-test report for defects.

Video of printing a self-test report

The following video demonstrates how to print a self-test report.

NOTE: This video shows the HP Officejet 4500 Wireless All-in-One Printer (G510n), but the steps are the same for your printer.

If you have trouble viewing the video or to view the video in a different size, click here to play the video on YouTube Non-HP site .

  1. Load plain white paper in the tray.

  2. Press and hold the Cancel button ().

  3. While you press and hold the Cancel button (), press OK. The self-test report prints.

    Figure 7: Self-test report

    Image of a self-test report
  4. Check the self-test report for defects.

    NOTE: In general, if the printer and its cartridges are working correctly, all the color bars should be present, unstreaked, and uniform in color across the width of the page. The black text on the page should not show ink streaks.

    Use the following table for examples of defects that can exist on the self-test report. The following examples are not inclusive, but tend to represent the most common issues.

    Examples of defects on the self-test report
    Defect
    Example
    Ragged or faded bars
    Illustration of a ragged bar
    The color bars have regular white streaks
    Illustration of a streaked bar
    The color bars are streaked with another color
    Illustration of streaked color bars
    The text is smeared
    Illustration of smeared text
    • If you see no defects on the self-test report, the print mechanism and ink supplies work correctly. If printouts are still unsatisfactory, try these general print quality guidelines, and then do not continue the troubleshooting solutions in the remainder of this document:

      • Make sure that the image you are printing has sufficient resolution. Images that have been enlarged too much might appear fuzzy or blurry.

      • If the problem is confined to a band near the edge of a printout, use the software you installed with the printer, or another software program to rotate the image 180°. The problem might not appear on the other end of the printout.

    • If you see one or more of these defects on the self-test report, continue to the next solutions.

Solution seven: Clean the cartridges using an automated utility

Follow these steps to run a utility to clean the cartridges if you found defects on the print quality diagnostic report or the self-test report.

NOTE: Use this feature when there is streaking, white lines through any of the lines of color or when a color is muddy. Do not clean cartridges unnecessarily, as this wastes ink and shortens the life of the ink nozzles.
  1. Open HP Solution Center:

    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), type Solution Center in the Search programs and files box, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows 8:

      NOTE: If you are not using the latest version of Windows 8, the information in this document might not match. You can get the latest version from the Microsoft Store.
      1. Right-click the lower left corner of the screen, and then click Search from the menu.

      2. Type HP in the search box.

      3. Click your printer ().

      NOTE: You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

  2. Click Settings ().

  3. In the Print Settings area, click Printer Toolbox. The printer Toolbox opens.

  4. On the Device Services tab, click Clean the Print Cartridge(s) ().

  5. Click Clean to begin the process.

    NOTE: Mechanical noises during the cleaning process are normal. A test page prints when the cleaning process finishes.
  • If these steps resolved the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.

  • If the issue persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution eight: Align the cartridges

  1. Make sure that unused, plain, white paper is loaded in the input tray.

  2. Open HP Solution Center:

    • Windows XP: Click Start, click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows Vista: Click the Windows icon (), click All Programs, click HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows 7: Click the Windows icon (), type Solution Center in the Search programs and files box, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows 8:

      1. Right-click the lower left corner of the screen, and then click Search from the menu.

      2. Type HP in the search box.

      3. Click your printer ().

      NOTE: You can also open the HP printer software from your computer desktop: double-click the icon for your HP printer ().

    HP Solution Center opens in a new window.

  3. In HP Solution Center, click Settings ().

  4. In the Print Settings area, click Printer Toolbox. The Printer Toolbox opens.

  5. Click the Device Services tab.

  6. Click Align the Print Cartridges ().

  7. Click Print Page. The printer prints a page of patterns.

    Figure 8: Example of the alignment page

    Image of the alignment page
  8. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the alignment process.

Solution nine: Replace the problem cartridge

If you saw defects on the print quality diagnostic report or the self-test report, and cleaning and alignment did not help, replace the problem cartridge. Use the following steps to replace the problem cartridge.

Video of replacing the 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 Non-HP site .

  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.

  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the right side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before continuing.

    Figure 9: Open the cartridge access door

    Illustration of opening the cartridge access door
  3. Push down on the top of the cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you to remove it from its slot.

    Figure 10: Remove the cartridge

    Illustration of removing the cartridge
    • Remove the cartridge from the slot on the left to replace the tri-color cartridge.

    • Remove the cartridge from the slot on the right to replace the black cartridge.

  4. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging, and then carefully remove the plastic tape using the pink pull tab.

    Figure 11: Remove the plastic tape

    Illustration of removing the 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 12: Do not touch the contacts or ink nozzles

    Illustration of how not to touch the contacts or ink nozzles
  5. Slide the cartridge forward into the empty slot, and then gently push on the upper part of the cartridge until it clicks into place.

    Figure 13: Install the cartridge

    Illustration of installing the cartridges
  6. Close the cartridge access door.

  7. Load plain paper into the paper tray.

  8. Press the OK button. 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.

Solution ten: Service the printer

Contacting HP for service in Asia Pacific.

If you completed all the preceding steps and your product still has an issue, you might need further assistance from HP.

Go to Contact HP 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 product still has an issue, service the product.

First, go to HP Printer Warranty Check to check your warranty status, and then go to Contact HP to find an authorized service dealer or to schedule a repair. Repair fees might apply for out of warranty printers.

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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