Q&A: Print heads dead

Q Try as I may, I cannot get my Epson Stylus Pro to print the light cyan and light magenta patterns on its test page. I have replaced the printer cartridges and cleaned the head many times. Is my printer now at the end of its useful life?

A Sadly it probably is at the end of its economic life.

The most probable cause of this is that the print heads have worn out. Presuming that you have already obtained over 10,000 pages out of your printer, that is most likely.

You can try taking it to a printer repair shop, who should be able to confirm the components that need to be replaced and give you a quote for the cost of doing so. Typically print heads cost upwards of £60 to replace; as the rest of the printer will be showing similar signs of wear, you may not get much more work out of it before another component fails.

If you decide to replace the printer, reconsider the choice between inkjet and laser in the light of the workload put on your old printer. Lasers normally cope with greater throughput before they need costly component replacement or repairs.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 18, 2012.