4 ways to keep your CD and DVD players working like new

These amazing players, which use lasers to read those shiny discs, are the first link in the chain that brings you great sound and images. Here's how to keep them working their best.

4 ways to keep your CD and DVD players working like new

1. Keep them clean

  • Try cleaning your CD and DVD players with a lens cleaning disc first, and manually if that doesn't work (if there's enough buildup, it's possible the disc won't be able to be read).
  • Make sure to keep CD and DVD players away from smoke of any kind, whether it be cigarettes, cigars or the kitchen variety.

2. Replace a worn belt

  • If your CD or DVD player powers on, but nothing happens when you push the Open/Close button, the most probable cause is a broken tray motor belt.
  • Fortunately, replacing the belt isn't all that difficult, and it's much cheaper than buying a new player. (Finding the right-size belt is usually the most challenging part, however, so it's always best to start your search by contacting the player's manufacturer.)
  • With the unit unplugged, remove the housing screws and take off the cover.
  • Locate the spindle of the tray motor, and use tweezers to remove the broken belt.
  • Don't handle the new belt with your fingers; wear cotton gloves or use a tweezers.
  • Attach the new belt by first placing it on the tray gear and then extending it to the motor spindle.
  • As a player ages, the tray may work, but move erratically.
  • This is an indication that the belt is slipping. You're probably better off replacing the belt in this instance as well.
  • However, cleaning the belt with some rubber revitalizer may buy some time before you order a new one.
  • The revitalizer removes deteriorated rubber from the surface of the belt, leaving a clean, new surface. You can purchase rubber revitalizer at most electronics supply stores.

3. Go steady

  • To avoid skips during playback, place your CD or DVD player on a stable surface.
  • Putting a player on a flimsy shelf — or even close to a booming loudspeaker — leaves it vulnerable to jolts and vibrations, which can result in faulty playback and even cause scratched discs.
  • If you occasionally hear subtle vibrations from your player, and moving it is not an option, try placing some inexpensive anti-vibration feet or an isolation mat under it.
  • You can order these products from audio specialty retailers.

4. Use the CD tray button

  • Always use the tray button to open and close the drawer on your CD or DVD player.
  • Pushing the motorized drawer closed with your hand can strip the plastic gears that move the tray, or it can wear out the drive belt, which can cause disc jams and other malfunctions down the road.
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