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Clearing Canon Pixma ‘Check Ink’ Error Message U162 and U163

Clearing Canon Pixma ‘Check Ink’ Error Message U162 and U163

Canon inkjet printers calculate ink level estimates of all installed ink cartridges using the average page coverage and how many pages have been printed with the cartridge historically. When your Canon printer gets to a point when it believes the cartridge is empty you will be presented with a ‘Check Ink’ U162 or U163 message and be prompted to replace the cartridge. This message will also stop you printing and scanning.

Most users will have come across this message just after installing a refilled or remanufactured Canon inkjet cartridge. As the ink level cannot be reset when producing refurbished cartridges, a low ink or the ink may have run out message will almost certainly appear with very little use.

Quick Video Guide

Can I bypass the Check Ink U162/U163 error code?

Even if you have received this message after using a new Canon ink cartridge there is almost certainly some residual ink that can be used in the cartridge. This is because the Canon software/hardware has a tendency to overestimate how much ink has been used when printing or even cleaning using a cartridge. Thankfully it only takes a single button press to get past this message and you can continue with uninterrupted printing until the ink has physically run out. Firstly locate the STOP/RESET/RESUME button on the body of your printer which is represented by an upside down triangle in a circle and is usually red or grey in colour. Now that you can see the button hold it down for at least five seconds before releasing.

Resume button printer highlight.

This basic prompt indicates to your Canon printer that you are aware of the ink level being potentially low and would like to continue printing regardless of this. The ink level estimate presented will not reset and will still show as the cartridge being out of ink, but will in no way further hinder your printing. Just keep an eye on the quality of your prints and when colours start to disappear or fade you will know a change in cartridge is necessary.

Can this damage my printer?

No. Whilst continued use of a physically empty cartridge can cause parts of the printhead to overheat and cease functioning this will not affect any of the printers covered in this article. This is down to the simple fact that the printhead is contained in the cartridge rather than the printer itself. As such even if you printer was left printing with an empty cartridge for an extended period of time the worst that could happen is that a new cartridge would be required.

What Canon printers does this work with?

This advice applies to a variety of Canon printers that are compatible with the Canon PG-37, CL-38, PG-40, CL-41, PG-50 and CL51 range of ink cartridges. These printers include the Canon Fax JX200, MultiPass 450, MultiPass MP150, MultiPass MP160, MultiPass MP170, Pixma iP1200, Pixma iP1300, Pixma iP1600, Pixma iP1700, Pixma iP1800, Pixma iP1900, Pixma iP2200, Pixma iP2400, Pixma iP2500, Pixma iP2600, Pixma MP140, Pixma MP150, Pixma MP160, Pixma MP170, Pixma MP180, Pixma MP190, Pixma MP210, Pixma MP220, Pixma MP450, Pixma MP460, Pixma MP470, Pixma MX300 and Pixma MX310. Which of these six possible cartridges your printer takes will depend entirely upon the model of your printer.

Along with the printer models mentioned above this reset button can be used to continue printing using the PG-510, CL-511, PG-512 and CL-513 range of ink cartridges. The following printers are all compatible with these black and colour cartridges, the Canon Pixma iP2700, Pixma iP2702, Pixma MP230, Pixma MP240, Pixma MP250, Pixma MP252, Pixma MP260, Pixma MP270, Pixma MP272, Pixma MP280, Pixma MP282, Pixma MP330, Pixma MP480, Pixma MP490, Pixma MP492, Pixma MP495, Pixma MP499, Pixma MX320, Pixma MX330, Pixma MX340, Pixma MX350, Pixma MX410 and Pixma MX420.

I hope you have found this post useful. Please let us know if you have any other questions in the comments below.

About the author

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.

Refresh Cartridges


  1. Gary

    Apparently this has changed. Previously when I got an ink out message, I could simply hit the OK button and continue printing. If I had an empty color cartridge and was printing black text, no problem. Tonight when I attempted to print, I got an "ink out" message for the blue cartridge (which I was expecting), but when I tried to print a page of text, I was prevented from doing so.

    A curious thing, when I tried to print, I kept getting a message about updating the drivers. I updated them, and that's when the problem began. Apparently the driver update contains the lockout provision.

  2. Mike Garcia

    Thank you for your information on the Epson printer following your instructions made it work perfectly once again THANKS!

  3. Alexis

    It worked!! Thanks so much. We have a Canon MG3220

  4. Akilah

    Awesome thanks!

  5. Hairs

    Hey Thanks Matthew, this got my Canon MP490 working again!

  6. Maria

    Thank you!!!!

  7. Mr Maro

    Today I returned a re-manufactured C-41 from STAPLES Business Depot after getting this message (U162) and printing about 15 sheets. I then bought original Canon C-41 at an extra cost. If I would have read your article earlier, I would have saved my money and kept the re-manufactured ones. I found absolutely no difference in printing quality.

  8. Hlabs

    It worked for me thanx for the tip

  9. harman

    Hey thanks dude! It worked for my pixma MX394.

  10. Cathy

    Hi struggling to get my cannon MW3550 printer to accept refill cartridges; have tried pressing stop /set/ resume button and various other suggestions but still no joy. Any ideas?

    1. RefreshCarts

      What is the problem you are having? If you could please let us know any error messages or codes you are getting in full it would be most helpful.

  11. musa

    im having a sight problem with my canon mx394 i just refilled the ink cartridges but its still printing blank pages and its cant read the ink levels

    1. RefreshCarts

      The low ink level estimates are normally when refilling these cartridge and are unavoidable. Blank prints however are far from normal. Print quality issues like this are usually caused by ink not being pulled fully into the printhead of the cartridge. I would recommend performing 1-3 cleaning cycles from your printer to try and pull it through. Failing this, try refilling the cartridge again ensuring the ink is injected as close to the printhead as possible. I hope this helps.

  12. J. Fyles

    I never use colour in my PIXMA MP180 copier. The empty colour cartridge has been in there since soon after I bought the machine several years ago and the very little used copier has functioned perfectly all that time.

    Suddenly, with a nearly new black ink PG 40 cartridge I get a message:


    I have held down the inverted red triangle for more than five seconds – several times!

    I am now snookered.

    Any magic solutions please!?

    J. Fyles

    1. RefreshCarts

      The U051 traditionally indicates that cannot cannot recognise the cartridge installed. All I can recommend is removing the cartridge from the printer and wiping the copper contacts on the front of the cartridge. If this does not help then a replacement cartridge should do the trick.

  13. Scott

    Thanks so much-was driving me nuts!!!

  14. JDLR

    This worked perfectly with a $5 eBay refurb ink cartridge. Couldn't get passed u162 error on my mx300, held reset for 5 seconds, waited a bit and now all systems are go. Thanks!

  15. Mark

    Worked for me, thanks.

  16. Theresa

    Hi can someone please help?I have a MX394 and it keeps telling me to check ink 1688 col, i have replaced the ink cartridge but it won't let me print

    1. RefreshCarts

      Error U1688 indicates a low ink warning for the colour cartridge. The advice/video in the article should genuinely resolve it. You will get this whenever you install a remanufactured/refilled cartridge, but the single button press mentioned will sort it.

  17. Tyler

    Wow that worked like a charm, thanks

  18. hossam hassan

    thank you it worked

  19. sonny

    great advise straightened up rightaway thanks

  20. Bessy

    Dear, we have a Canon Pixma MG3220 printer, it is giving error code P06, we don´t have manual and don´t understand the problem, could you kinly help us, we are in cuba, of couse can´t pay you. Tanks in advance.

  21. Carmen

    I have a canon mp 490, the check ink error does not come up on my computer. Is there any other way to reset the cartridge? I replaced the black ink cartridge before and the message came up, but now it doesn't for the color one. Any advice?

  22. Walter

    It really works for MP480, Thank you so much!
    Also, do not miss Shen Yun Performing Arts show. People with kind heart should see it.

  23. Dianne

    Thank you Matthew. This worked for me. I have been unable to use my printer for at least 6 months cause I couldn't figure out how to clear the error message. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  24. lboogie

    Matt you're a genius!! Thank you!

  25. Taps

    Please help
    How do l refill a canon printer with catridges that is black and color

  26. mike

    thank you that was really helpful since all i wanted to do was scan but it wasnt letting me!

  27. jeanlivesey

    I have recently replaced my printer cartridges 1 Black (new) PG40and 1 colour refill PG41.
    Pixma 1900 printer.

    The only colour I am getting is a pink. The only warning I am getting is : an ink cartridge has been replaced, if printing out of alignment etc..

    It is as though it only recognises one cartridge, the colour one.

    I have tried resetting as per your advise to others to no avail.
    Please help. thanks. jean

    1. RefreshCarts

      If you are getting print quality issues with this series of cartridges, I can only recommend performing a few head cleaning cycles to pull the ink into the cartridges printhead. If this still does not help then I would advise getting in touch with wherever they were purchased.

  28. Roland

    I have a MX320 and tried everything? to Clear the check ink message and to remove a fax in memory. Still keeps showing the Alarm and Memory in use lites?????? Hope you can help.

  29. ADG

    Thank you! I have a Canon MX340 and I was getting the change ink message after I just bought new Office Depot brand ink! I hit the restart/resume button just like you said for 5 seconds and now I'm back in business. Thank you for saving me a trip back to the store in hopes the store would take back my used ink cartridges to get the Canon brand ink. 🙂


    thanks heaps i wish i knew about this earlier! to think of the money I have wasted

  31. Lee

    Thank you so much! As a Search and Rescue Pilot I'm so busy! You saved me a wasted trip to the Shop!! Lee:)

  32. David

    yup, worked for me. Many thanks for the tip. David.

  33. Jun

    It worked like magic! Thank you.

  34. juan


  35. Hannake

    I have also recently put in refilled cartridges and it printed fine and then suddenly started telling me ink levels low and now even after using the reset thing in the video it prints EVERYTHING in green!!!!!!!!!! HELP?????

    1. RefreshCarts

      Sounds like the magenta ink may need a helping hand being pulled through after the refill. I would recommend doing some cleaning and/or deep cleaning cycles from your printer.

  36. Mark

    Extremely helpful, simple to follow, and helped me resolve my problem this morning. Thank you for making this short video available. Brilliant!

  37. A. Tiscareno

    very helpful, that fixed the problem. Thanx Matthew.

  38. Hannah

    I am getting severely distressed. Just installed Canon MP235 onto my partners laptop, installation great. Print cartridges in and placed as usual BUT now I cannot get the cartridge is low message to override and they are new cartridges. when the printer is switched on, the colour (C) and black lights (B) just constantly flash and I have tried reset taken the cartridges out etc and nothing seems to be working . Please help I need to get printing and I cant find any solutions anywhere. I have had the printer /scanner since 2006 and has always been good

  39. Abbie

    Thank you so much! That has resolved the issue and I can again print.
    Thanks again, from NZ.

  40. eftimie

    hope you can help me with something
    HOW TO SOLVE ERROR 5B00 ON CANON PIXMA MG2400 or resetting software for ink absorbers on canon pixma 2400 for the mentioned error 5b00

    I've tried service tool v3400 to no avail, it doesn't reset but only prints the eeprom page

  41. ELLIOT

    hey it worked thanks bro

  42. Juli Morgan-Russell

    Hi – we have a Canon Mx 420 and are having a problem changing the ink cartridges becuase when we open the cover, the message is cover open. 'please close cover.' and the cartridge thing will not stop in the middle position but keeps sliding to the end.
    Any thoughts?

  43. kcsuperbikes

    Hello – We use a Cannon MX515 and it will not fax multiple pages it scans the documents then fails. We have tried using the glass but same happens. The way we can fax multiple documents is to send them 1 by 1 which can be very time consuming. Any help or advice much appreciated. amanda

  44. MChammer

    Hi Matthew,

    We are having troubles with MG5450s.

    I just got a brand new set of cartridges, the original ones & after 1 printed page the error 1600 appeared showing that red & blue cartridges have run out & yellow is low.

    Beforehand I chose to do deep clean that warned me that a lot of ink will be used but I didn’t expect all of 7ml to disappear especially because I don’t think any sheets came out afterwards (I might’ve interrupted the process). Where is the ink?

    Btw holding the red button down does not work on this printer.

  45. marcelle

    my canon mx394 shows that it is offline please help me

    1. RefreshCarts

      Sorry to hear it. We have a few articles for different operating systems and this very issue. Have a search for "Printer Offline" in the box to the right. I hope you will fine something of use.

  46. Jan L

    Hello I have a canon MP210, earlier this year i chaged over to remanufatured ink cartridges from originals due to the cost, the first time I put them in I prssed the red triangle and they worked fine, but the ink ran out so I have replaced them with another set of exactly the same remanufactured inks and even though I've deep cleaned they are only printing in black and very faint yellow and magenta no blue or green or violet. I have cleaned and deep cleaned my nozzles and held in the red triangle til my finger ached. Can you recomend anything please as i urgently need to print off some work.

  47. Nkosiyabo from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

    thanx a lot its worked fo m canon mx394 God bless u l was tired bought printers every 2,3 month thanx thanx

  48. louise

    It worked! Thank you

  49. Hannah Smith

    Hi, since my Canon pixma MG3250 is showing the colour ink is low, my printer has stopped scanning. Is this because the colour ink cartridge is low? Really frustrating. It was scanning fine before this message appeared. I don't wish to spend more money if I can still scan without purchasing a new cartridge. The black ink cartridge is new. Cheers. Hannah

    1. RefreshCarts

      You should be able to continue printing with both cartridges reading as empty in the MG3250. If your printer is warning of low ink then be sure to read all of the messages closely. I would suspect it is asking for a prompt from you and will continue with whatever action you require after it has been given.

  50. sajjad

    hi i have a problem with my canon pixma MX394, The problem is my black ink is empty, and color ink is ok. but i cannot scan. do i need the black ink? and i need to scan but i can't use
    pls. help with this

    1. RefreshCarts

      You should indeed be able to carry on printing irrespective of ink level, as long as both ink cartridges are installed and recognised. If your printer is actively warning of low/empty ink then you will almost certainly have to give the prompt mentioned here to continue scanning.

      1. Zagryda Nicol

        Hi. Both my cartridges are refills and prints fine, it just wont scan. I have pressed the upside down triangle, but it still refuses to scan. Can you help please?

  51. AMY

    Need help urgently, used my printer this morning, it was fine.

    Went to use it now, and it's gone all funny, it printed out bright orange & now everything is printing in yellow, I replaced my ink cartridge a week or so ago, it has been fine till now. My ink cartridge never recognises, but has always worked fine. Everything is printing out in bright yellow now, no other colours. Please help. I have work that needs printing off!

  52. George Anex

    my cannon MP550 stopped working after I couldn’t use it for 2months.

    it gives B200 error message and wouldn’t allow me use either the printer nor the Copier!!

    Can I get any help??

  53. Damson

    Hie my canon my printer is failling to scan without a cartilage is there any means that i can do to fix it

  54. clairethinker

    Hallo, I am pleased to find this page as my Canon MP250 printer will not work sincew I changed the cartridge. First I put recycled cartridges into it and they were rejected. So I bought a brand-new cartridge – black is all I use – but it still will not work. Always that bloody little yellow light shining and the alert flashing and the on/off button also flashing.
    The scanner is still working.
    It is maddening.
    I have often used the trick before of holding down the cancel button until it works but this time that has no effect.

  55. Jacs

    Cannon MG 3250 printer states ink running low but does not state if colour or black, how can I find out which cartridge needs replacing?

  56. Pete

    Just like to say thank you for this information on how to over ride the compatible ink cartridge this has helped me once again thank you taking the time to help us all

  57. ciuhu matei radu

    good and my name MATTHEW Ciuhu Radu, and I will show you how to get rid of this error Error 1688 blk col times at pg.540 cartridges, cl.541, this procedure is valid only for printers Canon PIXMA mx.535, mx .530, turn the printer step 1 will appear on the screen error error 1688 step 2 hold the stop / reset meaning that red triangle surrounded by a red circle, hold down the stop / reset 5 secunde.va error error disappears, then you can print all you want until the next error error of this kind, with cartridge diferit.repetati same procedure written sus.multumesc! goodbye!

  58. Kate

    Thanks a lot! You saved my life

  59. Gaurav Gusain

    Hi, i have a problem with my canon pixma MG2470. I am not able to take out the colour prints. I refilled my cartriges and run the cleaning and deep cleaning several times but still the promblem is not solved. It is totally blank and no print at all.

  60. Fred tindall

    Mathew Fred here.i bought a canon mg6800printer 4 months ago complete with full set of full size canon cartridges. Have done very little colour printing and small amounts of black today I tried to print 4 photos and screen came up showing low ink on magenta and blue still printed photos ok what is wrong if any thing still have the full set demo cartridges supplied with the printer unused

  61. Mauricio

    Error 5B00 canon MG2410, can solve ??

  62. Richard Neva

    I bought recycled ink cartridges both BW and Color and they do not register on the printer app on lap top. Now what?

  63. Christina

    I have a Canon MX439 and my color ink has been empty for awhile now. I changed all the settings on my computer and printer to print in black ink only so I don't have to replace the color ink. Any way I finally have the message "check ink U163 col" and my printer stopped printing completely. Do I have to replace the color ink even thou I have it set to print in black ink only? I did have a message before about the black ink but that was after I had installed a generic of Canon ink that was defective.

  64. Lynkalin

    I have printed a picture and there are some faintly yellow stripes across it and army green shirts have come out mauve.

    How am I supposed to know which cartridge needs changing? Grateful for help!

  65. samson chilukusha

    i have just put a new cartridge, but still the yellow light is on and there is check ink being shown , i have tried all areas but it can`t print

  66. Kieran

    My Canon Pixma MG4160 tells me I'm low on toner but both cartridges are new. Its now printing blank pages (no print is visible). Is there something I can do or is it time to throw the printer in the dustbin? Cheers Kieran

  67. Jen S

    Thank you, I'm printing for work and you just saved me!!! I appreciate it.

  68. Anita

    Thank you so much for this information!!!

  69. brennie

    Good morning
    Canon MP2040
    I have just refilled my black ink cartridge and pressed the STOP/RESET/RESUME button for awhile but the ink is still coming through patchy and wondering how to do a clean on heads please

  70. john

    I have a Canon MG 5750. I purchased refillable cartridges on line when I bought it. Not cheap.

    However, I now wonder if I use the 'upside down' arrow if I can re-fill the original cartridges (drill small hole and plug worth a rubber plug) and just keep pressing the arrow.

    I have been refilling cartridges whilst in situ for years (much cleaner than removing them). It was only when the manufacturers came up with the chips that it became a little complicated.

  71. mitchell townsend

    i have a cannon pixma mg 3200 brand new printer. i just replaced the toner cartrdg. and now im getting an error code of 5 flashes on both colors. how do i fix this?

  72. Mrs padgham

    I feel like launching my Pixma mg3600 printer

    Not even had a year yet struggles accepting paper, says ink low even though when I press and hold the reset button it prints a quality check page ok then the warning sign flashes

    So unimpressed by this printer. Any help be very much appreciated

  73. Arpana

    Thank you so much for the tip. I have CANON PIXMA MX530 printer and recently replaced both the black and color cartridges . I still kept getting ‘ ink low’ error until today when it gave error 1688 ( check ink Black) and wasnt allowing to print . I thought it was maybe that the printer isnt able to read ink volume since I am not using the Canon brand cartridges or something . Thanks to your article , i now understand this is not the case. Holding down the resume/stop button for 5 seconds worked for me . Printing resumed fine . i now get the message ‘black ink volume unknown’ but printing isnt blocked anymore . Many thanks for the article again . Saved me a lot of hassle with printing son’s homework.

  74. Karen Roche

    I have a Canon MX475 printer and replaced the colour cartridge using generic (which i have been doing for a while now), it was not working so I removed both cartridges, then the black stopped working. I know there is ink in both but I am getting an error message ‘Check Ink 1401 Col Bk’

    I tried pressing and holding the button for 5 seconds (and longer) but unfortunately that did not work. I also tried wiping the copper contacts with a dry lens cloth, no change.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Kind regards,


  75. Akilan

    Thank you!!!!!!

  76. Akilan

    Thank you so much!!!! You saved my time

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