The expiration date is there because the ink can dry up and make the cartridge unusable.. Still, I've used some really old cartridges and they worked fine but generally it's because we had purchased the cartridges in large lots and it took a long while to get the end of the batch.. But it depends on how they were stored, temperature, and lots of other things..
It's a risk and there is no perfect answer..
Hope this helps.
I own an HP 895Cse Deskjet inkjet printer which has worked flawlessly for the past nine years. The cost for replacing the cartridges every so often is high. I've always bought my replacement cartridges new from either HP or one of their resellers.
I notice now where these cartridges are also being sold by numerous people on Ebay and the first thing I check on Ebay when a cartridge is up for sale is to see what's the cartridge's expiration or install by date is. If that information isn't listed on the item's description page I'll send the seller a question and ask. If the seller doesn't reply I move on to another seller.
There are many on Ebay selling new; factory sealed HP inkjet cartridges with expiration dates going as far back as January 2003. I wouldn't buy a 2003 dated cartridge for my old printer but what about a 2005 or 2006 expiration date? Would those still be good? I put this question to HP.com in the form of an email only to get a NOT READ message back from them in response to my email.
I called HP tech support in India and they were not much help; claiming they didn't know. HP sales was not much help either except to say they wouldn't recommend it. Naturally they wouldn't because they're in the business to sell new inkjet cartridges at full retail price. What kind of problem might I run into if I purchased and installed an expired inkjet cartridge in my old HP inkjet printer?
If the ink is dried up the cartridge obviously wouldn't work. Could installing an expired cartridge into my printer damage the workings of my printer? What about purchasing a December 2006 cartridge to install today? Any chance it would still be any good or would it be best to stay away from a 2006 cartridge today?
There are some on Ebay selling 2007 and 2008 dated cartridges but those go very fast. I was bidding on a #45 black cartridge for myrinter for 3 days with a September 2008 expiration date; I was the only one bidding for 3 days but in the last 5 minutes of the auction someone sniped me and won it for 51 cents more than my highest bid price, I was a little bit ticked.
I haven't had much luck at winning an auction during the last few minutes when someone else is bidding against me at the end. The other guy's internet connection must be faster than mine. I have DSL but it doesn't seem to be fast enough. Feedback from anyone who might know if it would be considered safe to use an expired inkjet cartridge in my HP printer well past the cartridge's expiration date stamped on the box.