Fax Not Working? 5 Basic Troubleshooting Steps

Kent C.

Figuring out how a fax machine works don’t require a master’s degree. Even so, problems can occur unexpectedly! At some point, your fax machine may stop sending faxes. Without basic troubleshooting knowledge, you could end up not knowing what to do.

Situations like fax not working can be troublesome, especially if you have urgent faxing errands. Not only that, you could end up spending more on simple repairs that you could’ve done yourself. The good news is you don’t need to be an expert to fix some common fax issues. If you find your fax not working, all you need is to follow some basic troubleshooting steps (more on this later).

Table of Contents

fax not working fixing broken machine

Why Is My Fax Machine Not Sending Faxes?

A common issue with fax machines is failing to send faxes. If you find your fax not working, it could be due to the following reasons:

  • The fax number you’re trying to send your fax to is busy or unreachable.
  • You are trying to send a fax to a number that is blocked or outside your area code.
  • Your fax machine could not establish a connection with your telephone line or modem.
  • Your fax machine fails to connect with your receiver’s phone line.
  • There is an issue involving the receiving fax machine. It could be busy or turned off.
  • There is a problem with your fax machine ADF (automatic document feeder) or wire cables.
  • There is an issue related to your fax machine ink or toner cartridges.

Thankfully, these are common issues that aren’t difficult to solve. If you can pinpoint the cause behind your fax not working, it’d be easier to troubleshoot the problem.

How Do You Troubleshoot a Fax Machine?

Before you decide to send your fax machine for repair, try troubleshooting it yourself. If the issue has something to do with frequent paper jams or poor image quality, there are steps that you can take to correct these problems. If there is a connectivity issue, it may have something to do with your telephone line and not the fax machine itself.

The key here is to figure out what’s going on. Carefully inspect your machine to find out whether it’s a software or hardware issue. You can address matters more clearly if you have some idea of what seems to be causing the issues.

Fax Not Working? 5 Basic Troubleshooting Tips

Performing basic troubleshooting when your fax machine is not working is ideal for fixing common issues. Speaking of which, here are five steps you can follow for troubleshooting common fax issues.

1.) Check the connection.

If you are having issues sending faxes despite dialing the correct fax number, the problem could be connectivity-related. If this is the case, double-check the connection. Properly connect the phone cable to the fax machine and check if there is a dial tone. If there are other devices connected to your phone, remove them and restart your machine.

Another aspect to look at is whether your telephone network blocks overseas faxing. If sending local faxes works fine yet you’re having issues sending international fax, try to contact your telephone provider.

2.) Clean your machine.

A dirty fax machine could result in several issues that usually affect the scan and print quality. Cleaning your machine’s ADF and corona wires can help fix problems related to poor print or scan quality.

When cleaning your fax machine, make sure to turn off your fax machine first. Unplug all cables and remove the power cord from the power source.

3.) Check the ink or toner cartridge. Do a test print.

If you find your fax not working with received faxes appearing blotchy or smudgy, the issue could be related to a leaking or dripping cartridge. In this case, do a test print first. You can use various online faxing tools to send a free test fax. Once you’ve confirmed that your machine is the one having issues, replace your cartridges and carefully clean the cartridge slots.

4.) Check the ADF of your fax machine.

If you find your fax not working with frequent paper jams, this issue is most likely caused by a broken, worn out, or dirty ADF (automatic document feeder). Try cleaning the ADF roller and see if it can fix the problem. If cleaning doesn’t help, you may need to replace the worn-out parts. You can check with your machine manufacturer for parts replacement.

5.) Change or update your fax machine settings.

Sometimes, issues related to your fax not working could be due to wrong machine settings. In this case, you may need to correct or update your machine settings to fix the problem.

If you’re having issues receiving a fax, you could check your machine’s receive mode settings. The proper settings for your fax machine will vary per model. Refer to your machine’s troubleshooting documentation to get the problem fixed.

How Can I Test My Fax Machine?

There are multiple ways to test your fax machine. One of the options would be to avail of your machine manufacturer’s test fax service. Fax machine manufacturers like HP and Brother have test fax numbers that you can use for testing.

Doing a test fax usually means sending a fax to a test fax number. If the fax is successful, you should receive a return fax. Doing this will confirm whether your machine has issues with sending and receiving a fax.

Using an online fax service is another good alternative. You can use an online fax service to check whether your fax machine has issues. You can use an online fax service to send a test fax to your fax machine. It can also act as the receiver. With it, you can verify whether your fax machine is having issues sending a fax.

Can Fax Be Rejected?

Yes, there are issues related to fax rejection. Some fax machines have this feature automatically enabled to block inbound faxes from unregistered numbers or faxes with no registered sender information.

If you find your machine rejecting faxes, it could be because the fax rejection feature is enabled. Adjusting the reception settings usually fixes this issue. You can also permanently switch off the fax rejection mode.

Can’t Receive Fax But Can Send?

Is your fax not working in a way that it can’t receive fax but can send? Such a problem could be due to a phone line issue or an incorrect machine setup. Fixing this issue usually depends on your machine brand or model.

However, there are general measures you can try to fix this problem. A few of the things you can do are as follows:

  • Make sure that your fax machine is set to send and receive a fax.
  • Your facsimile machine may have a feature called “Fax Preview.” See if this feature is enabled. If enabled, switch to disabled and then have a test fax sent to your machine. See if this will fix the issue.
  • Make sure that your fax machine is set to receive faxes automatically. If not, the settings must have been set to manual mode. If manual mode is enabled, you need to switch it to Auto.

fax not working poor line connection

What Causes Fax Transmission Errors?

If you find your fax not working because of transmission errors, check whether your receiver has their fax machine turned on. Find out the cause by checking the transmission error code shown. Use the error code to search for recommended solutions.

Note that transmission error codes vary per fax machine brand or model. It would be best to refer to your machine manufacturer’s guide for a complete list of transmission error codes.

Some examples of transmission error codes are as follows:

HP Fax Machines

  • 223 ECM, 224: Incomplete page received after multiple attempts.
  • 312: Receiving fax machine failed to answer the call.
  • 313: The receiving fax line is busy.

Canon Fax Machine (MF4300 Series)

  • 00FF: All Redialing attempts have failed.
  • 00A1: There is a document jam.

What Does Poor Line Condition on Fax Mean?

Poor line condition, also known as NG, usually means that there is a transmission failure. Usually, this is due to a phone line interference. Another device may be on the line. Simply put, the sender’s machine is having trouble establishing a good connection with the receiver’s machine.

Why Does My Fax Keep Saying Busy No Response?

Is your fax not working and shows “No Response/Busy?” The issue could be related to your recipient’s fax number or phone line. Contact your recipient and have them check whether they’re experiencing issues. You also need to check whether your telephone company has disabled overseas or long-distance dialing.

Another possibility why the “No Response/Busy” prompt shows up is if there is a loose connection between your machine and your phone line.

fax not working busy phone line

How Do You Fix a Busy Signal on a Fax Machine?

If you find your fax not working and can’t get through a busy line, you can manually redial the fax number. You can also verify whether the receiver’s fax machine is in another fax call. If this is the case, you may need to wait until the line is clear.

If there is nothing wrong with the recipient’s machine or number, try performing a power reset on your machine. To power reset, remove all plugged connections first and then turn your fax machine off. Wait for at least 30 seconds, switch it back on, and then reconnect the cables. See to it that your fax machine is ready before attempting to send another fax.

How Can I Fax Without a Fax Machine?

If you keep having issues with fax not working, you can set your fax machine aside for a while and simply fax without a fax machine! To do this, all you need is a good and reliable online faxing service. An online faxing service uses the Internet to fax. It doesn’t rely on a phone line connection. It also doesn’t require a conventional fax machine to send and receive a fax.

Here are some reasons why you should consider using an online fax service:

  • You can fax without a fax machine.
  • You can fax using any device like your computer or smartphone.
  • You can fax anywhere at any time. There are no location restrictions.
  • Your fax documents are well-secured in the cloud. There is no need for paper folders and bulky storage.
  • Using an online fax service allows seamless cross-platform syncing. With it, you can send and receive faxes using multiple devices.

Final Thoughts

Finding your fax not working is not an enjoyable occurrence. Even so, such instances happen! It’s best to stay level-headed so you can determine the problem and come up with a possible solution. After all, there are proven ways to fix common faxing problems without the need to send your fax machine to the repair station.

Moreover, common faxing issues aren’t that difficult to fix. There are also lots of free online resources that you can refer to for help. If you still can’t find a fix despite trying your best, then that’s the time to start seeking for repair options. While you’re at it, you might as well look for alternative faxing solutions like an online fax service.

Want a Hassle-Free Solution to Your Common Fax Problems?

Fax not working? Try faxing online with iFax! Experience hassle-free online faxing with zero maintenance costs. No need to troubleshoot common fax machine issues. With iFax, you can send and receive fax online without ever needing a fax machine or a phone line!

Sign up for an iFax account today and get a free fax number with your desired area code anywhere in Canada or US!


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