Common MRI Machine Problems and How to Fix Them

Most patients are already worried and a bit skeptical about getting an MRI scan, so the last thing you want is your MRI machine shutting down in the middle of the scanning procedure. Not only will the patients grow agitated, but this can also be a bit embarrassing for your clinic’s credibility as well. To avoid this, you must get your MRI machine checked every once in a while and troubleshoot the issues detected by the maintenance team right away.

Furthermore, every Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technician should warn you about common errors and issues that may occur. Learning how to fix such issues can also help you save face if the technicians take too long to arrive. Here are some common problems with MRI machines and how to fix them.

mri problems

1. Unexpected Glitches

If your MRI machine shuts down unexpectedly or shows any glitches, it can be due to a power outage in your area. In such cases, your machine can turn on and off multiple times, forcing you to restart the procedure. It can be frustrating for the patient as well. While power surge is the most common reason for unexpected glitches, outdated software can also cause the issue. 

How to Fix it: The easiest way to avoid this issue is by maintaining regular checks. Get your machine supervised by technicians once every month. Keep your software updated and check the circuit breakers. In some cases, possible malfunctions can lead to glitches. While you cannot do much to prevent electrical outages, keep these pointers in mind to avoid unexpected glitches and shutting down of your machine. 

2. Temperature Error

Issues with the heat exchanger and temperature errors are often caused when the system gets hot due to the water temperature being pumped in. In turn, this will cause the machine to stop working and lock up until the temperature is fixed.

How to Fix it: Begin by getting the heat exchanger checked. Technicians check the breakers and water line to determine the issue. The water temperature should be low and the chiller should be monitored.

mri machine issues

3. Low Helium Level

If your system is suffering from a cooling problem, it can burn the rest of the helium, causing a significant drop in the helium level. The burned helium is compromised to keep up with the machine’s magnets requirements. Improper monitoring of the machine and system can also be a plausible cause. 

How to Fix it: Keep a check on the helium level and monitor it with scrutiny. As soon as your machine alerts you of a low helium level, refill immediately. You may need technical expertise for this step. Keep your technician’s contact number handy and schedule an appointment to get the helium refilled. Even though it is nothing to panic about, you should make refilling a priority. Get it refilled as soon as the helium level drops to 60. 

4. Damaged Coils

One of the most significant parts of MRI machines are the coils that determine the image quality. Any kind of image artifacts, if detected, are a result of damaged coils. Most technicians believe that the issues with imagery are usually the result of defects in other components and not the coils, which is not true. 

How to Fix it: Check up on the machine’s coils on a periodic basis. You can also hire a field engineer who can assess the situation with expertise. If you notice any graininess or lines on the scanned images, check the coils immediately and get them repaired right away. As suggested by the technicians at, you should hire a service that lets you rent coils until the damaged ones get repaired. In extreme cases, you may have to replace the coils altogether. 

5. Excessive Vibrations

If an MRI machine produces a lot of vibrations, the nearby facilities may complain about the loud and excessive noise. The machine consumes energy due to the generation of a magnetic field. Every MRI machine that lacks supervision over the cooling mechanism tends to make loud noises. The problem can also be due to the improper functioning of the gradient coils. 

How to Fix it: Improper care and lack of attention can result in the failure of the machine’s cooling mechanism, thereby causing vibration and heating issues. Get your machine checked and fix the cooling mechanism to prevent the machine from making excessive noise. At the same time, get the coils checked. You can also use acoustic or double-wall construction to reduce momentary noises. 

As soon as you discover one or more of these issues in your MRI machine, you must get them fixed at the earliest as they can affect your patients’ diagnoses and reduce your clinic’s credibility. When buying an MRI machine, consult the manufacturer on how to conduct regular check-ups to keep the machine running smoothly, and be sure to hire the service technicians they recommend.  

Susan Harris

By Susan Harris

Susan Harris is the owner of Rooted Mama Health. She is the mother to two amazing children and wife of a loving husband. She strives to provide the world with all the information they need to live a happy and health lifestyle.