How to Fix a CD Player That Skips

By Gail Marie

Listening to music on a CD player that skips no matter what CD is being played or, worse, a player that cannot "find" the disk inside is frustrating. The fix may be as easy as cleaning the device with a cleaning disk (available for less than $10) or as complicated as opening the case of the player and realigning the read head (the part that looks like a glass eye). If that doesn't do the trick and the CD player has been busy for more than five years, consider replacing it. For those CD-player enthusiasts out there, follow the directions below to attempt to repair the skipping device.

Things You'll Need

  • CD laser lens cleaner
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Can of compressed air
  • Small screwdrivers
  • Permanent marker

Fix a Skipping CD Player

Step 1

Because skipping can be caused by vibration, ensure the CD player is stable.

Step 2

If stability is not the problem, use a cleaning disk to clean build-up on the laser lens. Consider either the TDK CDC-LBHTG CD LENSCLEAR or the Maxell CD-345 Gold CD Lens Cleaner W/AUDIO System Check, both of which are about $5 (see link in Resources). You may also clean the lens with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Step 3

If the CD player continues to skip, the tracking mechanism inside the player may be dirty, causing the laser arm to catch while it is gliding back and forth. Clean the tracking mechanism by carefully spraying compressed air into it.

Step 4

Does the player still skip? Your CD read head may be misaligned (see link in Resources). Before opening the case to attempt realignment, consider the fact that taking apart your player means your warranty is no longer valid.

Step 5

Disconnect the CD player from its power source and/or remove batteries at least 30 minutes before taking the player apart.

Step 6

Open the case of the player by removing all screws. Use as little force as possible.

Step 7

Locate the CD tray and the arm that hovers over the closed tray. This arm holds the lens.

Step 8

Now locate the small motor that moves the arm.

Step 9

Look for a small square component on the circuit board attached to this motor. There should be a plastic disk on top with a slot for a flat head screwdriver.

Step 10

With a marker, mark the current position of this component, called a potentiometer. This way you'll know where it was originally positioned and how far you will have adjusted it.

Step 11

Adjust the potentiometer using a flat head screwdriver in small increments, testing the results of each adjustment. Carefully plug in the device. Touch only the "Play" and "Stop" buttons. Unplug the device for 30 minutes before making additional adjustments and retesting.

Step 12

Reassemble the player.