How to Troubleshoot a CD Player

By Techwalla Electronics Editor

Updated February 10, 2017

Although you will rarely be able to repair your own CD player, you may be able to diagnose problems. That can help you decide whether to have it repaired.

Check all connections, such as from player to amplifier or receiver and receiver to speaker. Check and clean contacts on RCA jacks and cables and try a different input on the amplifier or receiver.

Clean the lens. Use only a special CD lens cleaner and follow the instructions carefully.

Check the traverse assembly (the metal rod that the laser travels along and the gear that drives it) if CDs aren't recognized or won't play, frequent skipping occurs at random, CDs randomly get stuck in one spot, the player can't find tracks correctly, or cleaning the lens doesn't work. Dust and lint may be interrupting its function.

Have the laser-head assembly checked by a repair person if the traverse assembly seems intact and free of debris.

Check for a stuck CD if the drawer won't open or close or will only partially open or close. If there isn't one, have gears and belts replaced.

Lubricate the gears if the CD player will only play certain tracks or up to a particular point on a disc.

Look for broken plastic parts, such as gears and clips.

Look for loose or broken internal connections.

Have the power supply replaced if your CD player overheats.

If your player won't recognize a disc, make sure the CD is properly loaded and not scratched, and that the lens is clean.

Items you will need

  • Screwdriver set

  • CD scratch-repair kit

  • CD cleaning fluid

  • CD player


Check the manufacturer's Web site for a troubleshooting page or a way to email questions. Make note of your serial number first. Indications that you have removed screws or handled any internal components will void a manufacturer's limited warranty.


Do not try to diagnose a unit that appears to have no power. Attempts to adjust the laser can result in eye injury. Once you open the chassis, you may cause additional damage that increases the cost of repairs. Avoid CD-cleaning discs with brushes attached. Some can damage the lens-suspension system.