How to Fix a Wii Disc Read Error
By Carol Finch
Updated September 22, 2017
Your Wii can show disc read errors for various reasons. This may be down to a problem with the disc or the way you're using it, or you may have a console fault. It can happen with a new game or, infuriatingly, with a game that's worked just fine hundreds of times before. In either case, there are a few fixes you can try to hopefully solve the problem.
Check the Disc is Compatible
If this is the first time you've tried to play this game, make sure that the disc is compatible with your console. The system only works with Wii and GameCube discs, and you can only use GameCube games on the original Wii console, the RVL-001. You also can't play Wii U games on a Wii and you'll get a read error if you try to play DVDs or games from other consoles.
Check for Disc and Game Issues
Try another game to see if it works. If it does, you probably have a disc rather than a console problem. Clean the disc with a soft damp cloth, working from side to side until it's clean. Make sure it's dry and try to load it again. If you see large scratches or chips on the disc, cleaning it may not make things better. If it's under warranty, however, you may be eligible for a replacement. Sometimes, you get read errors because of a general fault with a game -- check the Nintendo website to see if this is a game-specific issue and if there is a fix for it.
Check How You Insert Your Disc
If you keep your Wii on its side, check that you didn't set it up upside down by mistake. The game disc slot should be above the buttons and the SD card slot. If the console is upside down, you'll get a read error because you've effectively been trying to insert the disc the wrong way. If your Wii is on its side, it can only read discs if the label faces up; if you have an earlier version that stands vertically, the disc label should face right.
Check Your Wii
Sometimes, you can fix disc read errors by turning your Wii off and on again. This typically works best if you can't get the console to read any discs, but may also fix issues with a single game. Power down the Wii and unplug it. Wait a couple of minutes. While you're waiting, check that all the connections and cables are in the right place and are fully attached. Plug in the adapter, switch the Wii back on again and try to load the game.
If you're getting read errors on all your discs and you can't fix the problem yourself, you may need to return your Wii to Nintendo for a service repair. If the console's in warranty, this is free. If it's out of warranty, you may have to pay for any repairs. Nintendo lets you know how much this will cost once it has assessed the console; if you don't want to pay for a repair, they'll return it to you.
Carol Finch has been writing technology, careers, business and finance articles since 2000, tapping into her experience in sales, marketing and technology consulting. She has a bachelor's degree in Modern Languages, a Chartered Institute of Marketing.certificate and unofficial tech and gaming geek status with her long-suffering friends and family.