How to Repair a DS Game Cartridge

By Brenda Priddy

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • DS game system

  • DS game cartridge

  • Cotton swabs

  • Alcohol

  • Duct tape

  • Scissors

  • Phone

  • Lint-free cloth

  • Magnifying glass

Cotton swabs can be used for DS cartridge repair.
i series object on black - ear cotton image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Nothing is more frustrating than a game cartridge that no longer works. For new games that don't work, it is possible to send the games to the publisher for warranty replacement, but there are also two ways to repair game cartridges at home. With these options, DS cartridge repair is easy and simple. You will be back to playing your favorite game in no time.

Inspect the cartridge to see if there are any physical defects or contaminants. A magnifying glass will be helpful for this step. If you see anything on the surface of the cartridge, or if the cartridge seems to be cracked or damaged, then you may be able to repair it at home. If not, then you will probably have to send the game to the publisher for repair.

Dip a cotton swab in alcohol. Wipe all surfaces of the cartridge gently, paying special attention to the back of the cartridge where the copper data strips are located. Blow into the back of the DS system where cartridges are inserted. If dust or dirt gets trapped in there, the DS cartridge may not play. Allow the cartridge to dry. Replace the cartridge in the system. Turn the system on.

Note whether the cartridge is now working. If it is still not working, take it out and replace it again. If after three tries the cartridge is still not working, move on to the second stage of testing. Borrow a friend’s system and place your game in that system. Try three times to get the cartridge to work. If it still does not work, then the cleaning did not repair the game.

Inspect the cartridge again. Note any cracks on the surface. If cracks are present, or if the sides of the cartridge appear to be peeling away from each other, then you have one last repair option. Take a roll of black duct tape. Cut small pieces from the tape and lay them carefully over the cracks on the surface of the DS, making sure that the bond is tight. Replace the cartridge in your DS system and turn on. The game should now work. If not, move on to Step 5.

Look online to find the publisher of the DS game. If the game has been purchased in the last 90 days and you still have the proof of purchase, most publishers will replace the game free of charge. offers a list of games and their respective publishers. If the game publisher is Nintendo, call 800-255-3700 to discuss your repair options.