Printer maintenance kits are collections of printer parts that you can order to help keep your printer in tip-top shape. These kits provide all the parts necessary for you to perform do-it-yourself maintenance on your printer and to help extend your printer's life.
Printers that have maintenance kits for them will usually have maintenance cycles built into them, like the HP CM1415 toner printer. These printers will inform you whenever it is time to perform maintenance on them after every interval, which is a set number of pages that the printer has printed. Whenever it passes this cycle or interval, the printer will let the user know that it is time to buy and install a maintenance kit, usually with a display message similar to "Perform Printer Maintenance."
When you see this message, there is no need to fret. It does not mean that something is broken or that your printer is about to die. It just means that the manufacturer has decided this is the best time to perform maintenance on your printer in order to ensure optimal performance and minimal wear and tear on your machine.
Most printer maintenance kits will include a fuser assembly, pickup and transfer rollers, and separation pads. Some will even come with fan and corona assemblies or cleaning gloves and fabrics that you can use to help install your printer parts.
These parts come standard in most manufacturers' printer maintenance kits:
- Transfer rollers: After a piece of paper passes through the printing drum, the transfer roller is responsible for placing toner on the page. This roller is gray or black and has the texture of a sponge. The transfer roller is electrically charged and is subject to wear and tear and can lose its electrical charge.
- Fusing assembly: This printer component is the most crucial part to a laser printer's functionality and is the reason why some call printer maintenance kits "fuser kits". The fusing assembly is the device in the printer that uses pressure and heat to melt toner onto the paper. This assembly wears out after many pages are printed and the fusing action is repeated thousands of times.
- Pickup rollers (also known as feed or separation rollers): These rubber cylinders are used to pick up and feed paper into the printing compartment of the printer. They grab onto the paper and spin the paper into and out of the printer. Rollers can face wear and tear as well as the threat of oxidation. A maintenance kit may include new rollers that the user can use to replace the old worn-out ones.
- Separation pads: These pads help to tug on paper so that they are properly pushed into the printer. A worn down separation pad can cause paper jams in the printer.
These parts are not found as often in printer maintenance kits:
- Corona assembly: The printer part responsible for electrical charges in the printer's drum and toner.
- Fan assembly: A printer mechanism that blows air to ensure that paper is flat just before it is printed.