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How to Fix a Paper Jam in a Fax Machine – Steps to Fix Your Jammed Fax

Inevitably, most fax machines will eventually experience a paper jam.

As each paper jam is unique to the specific fax machine you’re using, it’s best to use your user’s manual to fully unjam the machine.

If you don’t have your user’s manual available, or it has not properly documented how to clear your fax machine of a paper jam, then we have put together this guide on how to work with the machine.How to Fix a Paper Jam in a Fax Machine

Table of Contents

Step 0 – Avoid Paper Jams in Your Fax Machine

The best way to fix a paper jam in your fax machine is avoid paper jams in the first place.

To avoid paper jams in your fax machine:

Do not:

  • Use ripped paper
  • Use paper that’s already been printed on
  • Use crumpled paper
  • Use a fax machine in very low or very high humidity areas. This can cause paper to stick together
  • Use a fax machine that is far older than it should be. A normal lifespan for regular use of a fax machine is 3-5 years.

Do:

  • Use clean, good quality paper
  • Have proper temperature and humidity levels in the room
  • Follow your machine’s guide to maintenance and care

Many times, a fax machine that is regularly jamming can be helped by using good quality paper instead of the discount brands.

Step 1 – Assess the Situation

If you have a fax machine or any piece of equipment jamming, and you notice a burning smell or sign of overheating or fire, shut the machine off immediately and take all necessary safety precautions for fire.

If there is no risk of fire or personal danger, then it is usually best to not turn off the machine. Usually a fax that has come through but not printed will be stored in the fax’s memory, and turning the machine off will cause it to lose any information still in the fax memory.

Step 2 – Carefully open the fax machine where the fax is jammed

Start by opening the machine at the point where the paper has made its way the furthest through the machine.

Carefully open the machine where you can access the paper. If you hear paper ripping while you open the unit, then do not open the machine any further – try another panel or opening on the machine. If there is not other opening, then open the place where the paper is ripping

Step 3 – Pull The Paper Out Through the Paper Path

The important “trick” to unjamming a fax machine is to pull the paper out through the paper path.

A fax machine has a number of gears, rollers, and moving parts, and are all built to turn one way.

If you pull the paper out of the machine the wrong way, you risk wearing the parts of the machine down, or potentially breaking one of the parts.

As long as you pull the paper through the machine in the direction it is supposed to travel, then you do not risk breaking the machine.

Pull all the paper out of the fax machine that has become jammed in the mechanism.

Step 4 – Clear ALL Paper From the Machine

If you do not have a complete piece of paper from clearing out the machine, then there is a piece of paper still inside of the machine.

Carefully look through the machine, and pick out any pieces of paper from the machine. If necessary, use a piece of tweezers to pull out the pieces of paper from the machine.

Clear ALL Paper from the machine before using it again. A small piece of paper that has torn off from the machine will cause the machine to jam again, making the problem even bigger.

Step 5 – Close the Fax Machine and Run a Test Page

When you have cleared all paper from the machine, close it and then run a test page through the fax machine, or attempt to reprint the fax that you have received.

Once you have put a full sheet of paper through the fax machine, it is considered unjammed.

Additional Resources on Clearing a Fax Jam:

More How To Fax Resources: