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U052 Printhead Problem MX870


Stopped printing while in the middle of a big job with full ink tanks, then when turned back on, gave the dreaded U052 print head error message.  I have tried everything given by Canon to re-start the printer, nothing works.


It dawns on me that maybe my ink tank stopped feeding ink despite the tank being full- the vent hole might not have been open all the way to allow ink to pass through.


I'm wondering whether this could somehow mess up the printhead, maybe it needs ink to keep it cool during operation or something??


It's completely aggravating that it stopped as it has and now that prevents even the scanner or fax from working-- this seems like a bad design.


Does anyone know whether the print head can be messed up if the tank stops feeding ink while in the middle of a print job?


Thanks!  And if you know that answer, then what do you do to get printer working again??




This "solution" DOES NOT WORK.  I have tried it 15 times, the printer still comes up with that same error message.


What's worse, it DISABLES THE ENTIRE PRINTER -- I can't use any other function.  I have been left high and dry because I have desperately needed to send scanned contracts out and there is no way to do it.  I have had to rely on my partner to send me photos of the contracts so I can continue with business.... Canon has produced a terrible product because a simple failure puts the entire machine out of service, not just the failed print head mechanism.  Horrible design, terrible software or hardware installed control system. 


You even told me that purchasing a new print head won't fix the crazy thing.  Who the heck designed this crazy piece of junk?


How do I get it it replaced or repaired?   Moderator Note:  Removed personal phone number per forum guidelines.

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63 REPLIES 63 isn't even a valid domain. It's for sale.

I have a PIXMA 882. Just got the dreaded U052 error message. I followed the instructions from Canon to remove the ink cartridges and print head.

Then I used Qtips and alchohol to clean the ink off the bottom of the print head. I made sure not to touch the contact panel on the side.

Using all full and fresh cartridges I replaced them and continued as instructed.

It worked.

So all good for now.

I have to say that when I was printing a lot of my own digital art and photography, I had several Epson printers. They were not trouble free either. But they did make outstanding prints on a variety of surfaces.

Thanks, it worked for my MX882. I added a cleaning of the printhead with Qtips and alcohol.

You are one of the VERY lucky few chrisbit. If it happens again bin it and buy another brand. Canon do not care about you, it's all about the money. Look up the word "GREED" and Canon will probably be in the meaning. I had a TV just stop working a long time ago and Samsung sent a courier overnight to deliver a new TV and pick up the old one. Not so with Canon.

Thanks for the advise. Didn't have to remove, just took out the inks and lifted the head via the leaver.

I have 2 MPX 870 and a MPX500. Same problem (U052) occured on the three printers one after another in the time of about twelve monthes. None of Canon suggestion of procédures did fix the problem. The 3 out-of-ordre printers are in the backroom. I bought 2 brand new Epson printers (with ink tanks rather than ink cassettes). I am in the process of buying a third Epson printer. It's a shame as the Cannon did a great jobs for several years.

Hi Canon Support,


I wasn't able to get this solution to work but I'm not sure I got the print head fully removed from the carriage unit... it was tough to figure out without a video or images. I'm doing this on my MG6120. Kind of stuck with out it. Can you email me when this message is looked at (or does it automatically do that)?

Thank you for your help,



Hi davidfstarr. If the printhead problem was a genuine fault Can would have sorted it for you. Due to their lack of assistance to remedy the situation, speaks volumes about the company and its ethics. Just buy another brand and get on with it for your own peace of mind 🙂

It IS a genuine problem, and Canon has no idea how to 'sort' it for us. In fact, they have no intention of sorting anything for us. Their troubleshooting advice DOES NOT WORK. The best advice is to just move on to another manufacturer.

That's what I did. Epson printers are great!! Sad to say but it's a throw away world we live in and it's driven by large greedy companies with only profit in mind. Individual consumers don't matter to them. We can't change it so be happy and just do your thing. What used to annoy me is their ink prices. They are unbelievably high, which is why you can buy a printer for $50 but pay through the nose to run it. I'm surprised cars don't sell for $100 so we can pay $100 litre for fuel to run them. like printers, when they run out of ink - you just buy a new one, throw the old one in the bin and help polute our once great planet. That's my rant, I'm going for swim and have a cold beer!

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