Laser printer: Toner empty although no message on display?

Dear all,
my laser printer is a Brother HL-5280DW.

Here is the problem: Printed pages fade heavily out, from left to right. Only the first 3 inches from the left are readable.

First, no message on the printer's display announcing the toner is near to empty ever appeared.
Second, according to the printer's own stats, it has printed 6370 pages with the current toner. As far as I remember, one toner cartridge should last for 7000 to 8000 pages.

I already did some basic cleaning of one maybe relevant part mentioned in the manual, the scanner window.

Q's:
1. Shouldn't the toner last longer since it is way below its expected printing capacity of at least 7000 pages?
2. Is something broken?
3. Can I extend the remaining the life of my cartridge? I already tried to shake it, but it didn't change anything.

Thanks folks,
Robofix
LVL 3
robofixAsked:
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
How many pages in total for the printer?
It's not just the toner to consider - also think about the transfer roller and high-voltage engine.

This article is really about refilling toner catridges but gives some useful pointer on testing and how to clean your cartridge
http://agatis.biz/files/Brother_TN550_580_Reman_Eng.pdf
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robofixAuthor Commented:
It is the first toner of the printer, so the printer has also produced about 6370 pages.
The transfer roller should last about 25000 pages.
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hdhondtCommented:
The number of pages quoted for a cartridge is an approximate number and depends very much on what you print. Cartridges are rated at 5% coverage (an average "business letter"). If you print anything elase, your coverage may be higher or lower, resulting in less or more prints. As 6370 pages is quite close to 7000, the cartridge is probably coming to the end of its life and the best thing to do is to replace it. If that does not fix the problem you can take it back out and keep it until the cartridge really expires, which should be fairly soon.

If a new cartridge does not fix the printer, you may need a new transfer roller. If the printer is still under warranty, Brother may replace it for free.

You can extend the life of the cartridge by printing in the printer's "draft" or "toner save" mode, if it has one. Check under printer properties in the driver. You may not like the print quality of draft mode, though...
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robofixAuthor Commented:
For some unexplainable reasons, the problem (the fading) went away by itself, without replacing the toner.
Maybe shaking and cleaning have taken some time to be effective.
Thanks all for your contributions. I share points with you.
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