How to Unjam CD and DVD Drives and Trays

Unless your home has air purifiers, the dust raised by you and your children and pets gravitates to everything that’s plugged in. Look at the TV a few days after you dust it; it’s coated again. CD and DVD players attract just as much dust as televisions, which can affect the trays and rails that move discs back and forth. Once the cover is off, you can blow air into the player to remove the dust.

Follow the steps below. You need a screwdriver and canned air, a blow dryer, or a vacuum cleaner attachment. Here’s what to do:

  1. Unplug the disc player.

  2. Take out the screws securing the cover and remove it.

    If it won’t come off, look for clips or more screws along the cover’s rear and bottom perimeter and take them out. Be careful here. You may see some screws on the underside, but they may be securing working parts of the mechanism. Don’t unscrew them.

  3. Blow air into the mechanism to remove dust.

  4. Plug the player back in.

  5. Try ejecting the tray.

  6. If it doesn’t eject, look for something jamming the tray.

    Most of time, you’ll find a foreign object in it, such as a paper clip or pin.

  7. Also see if the belt is damaged or broken or fell off.

    You can try to put the belt back on if it fell off, but if it’s damaged or broken, it has to be replaced. Take the player in for service.

  8. If the tray chatters as it tries to come out, look it over to see if there’s anything obvious blocking it. But most of time you’ll have to take it in for service.

    Always wash your hands to remove oils before wiping a belt or the drive. An oily fingerprint will affect how well the player works. If you touch the parts accidentally, leaving a fingerprint, clean it off with rubbing alcohol.

  9. Reassemble the player.

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