Unable To Read The Disc

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So you’ve sat down to play your Nintendo Wii, but you keep getting the following error message that says “Unable to read the disc. Check the Wii Operations Manual for help troubleshooting.”Unable to read disc

This is by far the most common problem with the original Wii. In this guide we’ll diagnose and dissect the error so you can get that Wii reading discs again. Let’s get started.

In this fix guide, we will go through the following steps until we fix the error:

Step 1) Try Cleaning The Disc

The first inclination that most people have when they see the unable to read the disc error is to try to clean the disc, and honestly it’s a good place to start. Here is a great quick and simple guide of how to clean a game disc*:

*Credit to BlownUpGaming Nation for the disc cleaning tutorial.

Once you’ve done that, try putting the game into the Wii again to see if the error goes away.

Sometimes cleaning the disc is all you have to do. However, there is usually more to it than that. If only it were that easy!

Chances are if you are reading this guide you have already tried this without success, so let’s move on.

Step 2) Test Other Games

Put some other games in and see if your Wii will play them.

If the Wii will read other discs and games with no error, then you’ve discovered the problem! There is most likely nothing wrong with your console, and it’s the disc that’s causing all the grief . The disc giving you the error is most likely damaged, badly scratched, or has a defect and needs repaired or replaced.

Dual Layered Discs:

The exception to this, is if the disc giving you an error is a dual layered disc. Dual layered discs can hold twice the amount of information, which allows for more robust games. However, Wii’s have been known to have trouble playing these dual layered discs if the laser lens is dirty or needs replaced. The best way to fix the disc read error for dual layered discs is to replace the laser lens (step 4). Here is a list of all known dual layered games for the Wii (if your console is having trouble reading these games, but will read other games, go to steps 3 and 4):

Metroid Prime: Trilogy
Metroid: Other M
Raving Rabbids Party Collection
Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love
Samurai Warriors 3
Sengoku Musou 3 Moushouden
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
The Last Story
Xenoblade Chronicles

If you are still getting an error, or the error occurs with multiple games and discs, and you are sure the discs are clean and not damaged, move on to step 3.

Step 3) Clean the Laser Lens

OK, after going through steps 1 and 2 we’ve discovered that it’s most likely not the disc causing the error. This means there has to be something wrong with the Wii console itself.

The laser lens is the issue.

At this point, the error is either occurring because the laser lens inside the Wii (the part of the Wii that actually reads the disc) is either dirty, or has failed.

Before we go forward with step 3, it’s worth mentioning that the most common failure inside the Wii is the laser lens. Fixing this issue is usually not a matter of just cleaning the lens! The laser lens might just be dirty, but it is more likely that the laser lens has failed (or is failing) and has stopped working all together. We go over laser lens failure in step 4.

With that in mind, if you would like to give it a shot and clean the laser lens you are going to want to make sure you do it right.

Cleaning the laser lens can be difficult on the Wii since there is no direct access to the lens. Nintendo makes it easy to do this with their Wii Lens Cleaning Kit which you can get for about $15-$20.

Just grab the kit, follow the instructions, insert a game and see if this fixes the problem. If it does, great! If not, move on to step 4.

Don’t get your hopes up with this step, though. On most occasions you will end up doing step 4.

We recommend only using the official Wii Lens Cleaning Kit. Other DIY methods have been known to damage the Wii laser lens further, so it’s better to use a kit that is specifically designed for it.

Step 4) Replace The Laser Lens

Replacing the laser lens will fix most, if not all, read disc errors. Honestly, this is the only real solution to this problem.

It has been our experience that the unable to read the disc error often shows up when the laser has stopped working all together. You can do all the cleaning you want but I am sorry to say that cleaning doesn’t fix a none-working laser lens. It seems that this can be an occasional problem at first. Eventually the laser will stop working completely, and when it does you will see this error on every game disc you try to play.

How to Fix It by Replacing The Lens

Replacement is actually a pretty simple process. With a little bit of patience and the right tools, you can perform this fix yourself.

You will need a few things to replace the laser lens:

  1. Wii Laser Lens Replacement – In order to replace the laser lens, you are going to need a replacement! You can find a Brand New Laser Lens for Wii Replacement Part in our store for under $15. (Note that you may need a soldering iron to de-solder the laser lens)*
  2. Tri Wing Screwdriver (size Y0), and a tiny Phillips Screwdriver (size #000) – You can find a Wii Screwdriver Set here. This screwdriver set is exactly what you need in this repair. These screwdrivers are necessary to take apart, and reassemble the Wii.*
  3. 1-2 hours of your time. Take your time and don’t rush the repair.
*Free Shipping is always included.

We are in the process of creating an in-depth How To on replacing the laser assembly. We may not currently have a How To on this, but in the mean time, here is a great tutorial by Tinker Mods:

As was stated earlier, we will go into detail on the replacement in a future post. For now, take your time and follow the above tutorial step by step and you should have no issues with your repair.

Hopefully this guide was helpful and you are well on your way to fixing this pesky problem!

20 Comments

  1. Andy
    March 26, 2016 3:48 pm Reply

    This is doing the same to my wii sports disc.

  2. Stan
    December 10, 2016 11:44 am Reply

    All other discs work. Only my Wii Fit plus disc can’t be read.

  3. Ettechaebria Hicks
    December 24, 2016 6:29 pm Reply

    no disc will read

  4. Lacie
    December 27, 2016 9:06 am Reply

    All my other games work except Mario kart …… Help me

    1. Sol
      June 15, 2017 7:03 pm Reply

      I’m having that problem now ! Such a bummer. Did you ever figure it out and if so how ?

    2. a girl
      September 15, 2017 8:20 am Reply

      I have same problem except ITS ANIMAL CROSSING NUUU

  5. kathy
    January 05, 2017 1:52 pm Reply

    I just fixed mine. super simple–I had the disc in backwards!!!!

  6. Sandy
    January 07, 2017 10:32 pm Reply

    You can also try scratch out. It works very well. My 2 year old took a disc and decided to use it to slide across our wood floor with her foot on it like skis. It wouldn’t work of course, because of the deep scratches. I used scratch out and it worked!

  7. Carlamcs
    January 14, 2017 9:50 pm Reply

    I just got a new Just Dance 2016. The system said it needed updating.. so I went with that.
    For a few minutes, it still wouldn’t work. I’ve checked the disc, it was made for Wii (my system)
    and for my region (USA). That disc works..
    But no other discs work..such as Wii Sports, Wii Fit Plus, Just Dance 4. None. The
    title screen comes up and then the error message that the disc cannot be read.
    What to do.. It reads discs, but ALL of the old ones (that worked very recently)
    do not work now.

    1. michelle
      February 27, 2017 3:38 pm Reply

      I think we have the same problem. We will try replacing the lens, but I think it was the update that caused the incompatibility with our old games.

  8. arlene
    June 25, 2017 7:43 pm Reply

    it only does this with the Resort disc..not any others

  9. Alecia
    July 16, 2017 3:23 pm Reply

    Thank you soo much for the video above.. with the replace the laser lens… I wasn’t sure how to do that completly.. thank you Soo much… I’ll repost if I get my games to work….. Thank ya thank ya thank ya…. Lol

  10. Kate
    August 07, 2017 2:58 pm Reply

    As anyone ordered the part and do the fix yourself?

  11. Emily Aylmer
    September 02, 2017 9:25 am Reply

    All my games are working apart from wii sports and wii party… did anyone figure out the problem?

  12. Becky
    September 10, 2017 7:19 pm Reply

    Can you watch dvd’s in wii console

  13. WASHINGTON
    September 19, 2017 8:22 pm Reply

    Error Codes 52031 & 51420 keep appearing . Can’t do anything with Wii
    No internet No Netflix.. What can I do?

  14. Kadie
    September 27, 2017 9:21 am Reply

    Help, it only does it for my Wii Fit disc, everything else works fine. And everything on my Wii fit works fine until I hit training then it says it not able to read it and that’s where all the activities are.

  15. tristan islas
    October 08, 2017 4:42 pm Reply

    i tryed all of this and it didnt work. i even hired some tech guy he couldn’t fix it

  16. Bob Evans
    October 22, 2017 11:27 am Reply

    have the same problem, only resort

  17. sammy
    November 10, 2017 11:44 pm Reply

    I cant fix my NFS undercover HEEEEELP

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