Common Fax Machine Problems

Updated February 21, 2017

Fax machine problems are usually caused as a result of poor quality paper, problems with a phone line or fax machine maintenance issues. Most common fax machine problems can be fixed without the aid of a technician.

Paper Jams

Inexpensive, poor quality paper may not roll smoothly through the rollers. In addition, fax machines hold a certain amount of paper; overloading the paper will cause the rollers to grab more than one sheet at a time.

Dirty Rollers

Dust, dirt or an accumulation of ink can build up on rollers, preventing the paper from easily sliding through, or leaving streaks on the paper.

Lack of Power

If the fax machine is non operational, it may mean that the fax machine has become unplugged, there is no power to the socket in which it is plugged, or there may be damage to the cord.


Streaks on the printed page may be caused by dirty or worn rollers. Or, the platen glass may be dirty causing the scanned image to pick up dirt and streaks on the page when it is printed.

Sending and Receiving

If the problem exists when sending to one location, the problem may lie with the fax machine at the remote location. If no faxes can be sent at all, there might be phone connection issues. If there is no dial tone, the phone cord on the machine may be unplugged or there may be no signal coming from the phone jack. The fax machine may not be set to receive faxes.

Defective Cartridge

A defective cartridge can leave streaks on the page, cause the entire page to print too dark or to not print at all.

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About the Author

Lee Weal began writing and editing online content as a corporate intranet administrator in 2000 and was also the publisher and editor of a monthly employee newsletter. Her articles specialize in children's issues and home improvement.