Picture of the Slightly dusty dual layer DVD disc, showing the gold data side

How to Fix a Skipping DVD Movie Disc. Repair

We’ve played digital video discs (DVDs) for nearly twenty years now.  Daily watching them has been a major filler of our fun time hours.  Do, to get the most of our entertainment dollars, we buy lots of used DVD discs. Thus,  we’ve experienced freezing DVDs often, and learned various ways how to fix a skipping DVD movie disc while playing.

No DVD player, and no DVD disc is forever immune from this problem. Whether a home or car DVD player. Whether a cheap portable or most high-end home theater DVD player.  All DVD movie players eventually go bad, and many of these start skipping during movie playback.

No kind of DVD is exempt either.  All optical discs, including DVDs will eventually skip, no matter who makes them or what their content.  So it’s useful for DVD movie buffs to know how to deal with the DVD skipping.  For that, we’re here to offer tips on how to fix a skipping DVD movie disc.

How to Fix a Skipping DVD Movie Disc

Don’t Assume Right Away That the DVD Movie Disc is Broken

When you notice a DVD skipping, don’t immediately throw it out.  It may in fact be fixable.  Or, it might not be the disc at all.  Often, even DVDs without any visible scratches on the play side can skip. Sometimes, the DVD players themselves are to blame.  So with skipping DVDs, you really need to determine the source of the skipping.  This avoids wasting money on new players or throwing away good DVDs because you thought they were bad.

how to fix a skipping DVD. Buy a new DVD player, like this one. This is a picture of the Sony DVP-SR210P DVD player packaging, top view.
how to fix a skipping DVD. Buy a new DVD player, such as this Sony DVP-SR210P DVD player.

The DVD Could be Damaged, True

The DVD itself may carry manufacturing flaws, or be  scratched or dirty.  It may be aging beyond its useful life (estimated to be around fifty years).  Or the DVD was damaged by poor cleaning techniques prior.

The DVD Player Could be Worn Out

Or, the DVD player itself is broken.  Perhaps the laser that reads the digitized video data from the DVDs has weakened.  The laser light grows fainter over time, due to age and heavy use.  Perhaps dust has deposited on the player’s laser lens.  Or maybe the player’s servos and the motor that spins the DVD are worn out.  Like DVDs, the DVD players age and defects show up as they do so. In fact, they wear out at a faster rate than the DVD media itself.

DVD Player and DVD Disc Incompatibilities

Finally, not every DVD player can play every DVD disc well, even if nothing is technically wrong with either.  One manufacturer’s DVDs may not be compatible with a particular DVD player.  How does this happen?  Well, neither DVDs nor DVD players precisely adhere to the same specs in every little detail.  With these tolerances, it’s no wonder that certain DVDs don’t play in certain DVD players.

Don’t Diagnose Prematurely  

In any case, there are many reasons why a DVD movie may skip while playing.  So don’t throw away that skipping DVD or the skipping DVD player; at least, not until you’ve figured out which one is your real problem.  How to fix a skipping DVD indeed involves some investigative work, since the skipping has so many possible causes.

Try the Skipping DVD in a Different DVD Player

If it plays fine there, then consider.  If the skipping DVD player is more than several years old, then it’s high time to buy a replacement player,.  Try the LG  BP350 DVD Blu Ray player, that also plays DVDs.

As mentioned, DVD players do indeed age.  Their laser light output decreases.  This eventually impairs the player’s ability to read the optical data on the discs.  With decent sub two-hundred dollar players available these days, just buy a new one.  It’s  senseless to put up with a bothersome skipping DVD player that’s more than five years old. If you’ve watched hundreds of movies on your player, then you’ve gotten your money’s worth from it

But if this is the only disc that this player skips on, there may be nothing wrong with either.  This disc and this player may never get along, no matter how much you clean and fix each.  This could simply mean that that particular player just won’t properly play that particular DVD.  In that case, just don’t watch that DVD in the player where it tends to skip.  Remember that some players are better at reading accurately through dirt and scratches than others.  This is particularly so of the newer players.  Recently built DVD players have more advanced error fixing circuits and tightly focused lasers than older models. Now your 1999 vintage DVD player may still function ads designed.  But those older units just don’t play DVD discs as well. Even if the player is brand new old stock,  a DVD player upgrade is likely necessary.

Try cleaning the DVD Movie Disc

We detail how to do this in our  How to Clean a DVD Disc  post.  Essentially, you should avoid any chemicals harsher than dish soap.  Just use dish soap and water.  Wet the DVD with a filtered water and soap solution.  Next, gently rub with smooth fingers.  Then, rinse with more filtered water. Finally, dry with a lint-free lens cleaning cloth.

The washing removes fingerprints, oils, and loose dirt.  Furthermore, the wiping dry with the cloth not only removes the water from the DVD.  It also buffs out the microscopic scratches that often cause  skipping during play.

How to Fix a Skipping DVD: Try Cleaning the DVD player Inside

The DVD player may become dirty inside, depending on its environment.  They sell a laser lens cleaning DVD, designed to clean both CD and DVD player lenses.  We’ve never had good luck with these. But they may work for you.  Indeed, they could save you the cost of buying a whole new DVD player.  The cleaning disc has a small brush affixed to the play side.  You put this disc into your player.  Then, when the player spins this disc to read it, the attached brush skims over the laser lens.  This, presumably, takes away dust and dirt from it.

But if the laser lens cleaner does not solve the skipping, give the DVD player itself a good inside cleaning.  If you feel confident enough to take your DVD player apart, then remove the top cover from it.  Next, blow out any dust and lint; particularly from the laser travel rails.  Avoid too much air pressure though.  A can of residue free air works well for this.

How to fix a skipping DVD movie disc. Picture of the Slightly dusty dual layer DVD disc, showing the gold data side
How to fix a skipping DVD movie disc. Slightly dusty dual layer DVD disc, showing the gold data side

How to Prevent DVDs from Skipping

Never Let your DVD Movies Get Dirty in the First Place

A stitch in time saves nine when maintaining these delicate DVD video discs. To preserve peak performance, avoid ever dirtying the DVDs.  Always store them in their cases when not viewing. Plus, avoid exposing to weather and direct sunlight.

Never Touch the DVD Data Surface

Avoid getting fingerprints on the play side of the DVD. Instead, grasp them by their edges. Do not grab them via their flat surfaces. This limits the need to ever clean skin oils from them.

Keep your DVD Player Clean and Cool

Avoid permanently setting up the player in dusty locations. Furthermore, keep it away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

Related Posts to How to Fix a Skipping DVD

  1. How to Get Rid of Scratches on a DVD
  2. How to Fix a Scratched PS3 Disc, PS3 CD, PS3 DVD
  3. Cleaning a Blu Ray Disc Instructions
  4. How to Clean a DVD Disc
  5. Fixing a DVD that Skips and Freezes, How To Instructions
  6. How to Fix a Skipping CD Audio Disc

References for How to Fix a Skipping DVD

  1. How to Fix a Scratched DVD    from WikiHow
  2. Quickly Fix a Skipping DVD with Toothpaste  from WonderHowTo.com
  3. How to Fix Skipping DVD Discs   from USA Today

Revision History

  • 2019-08-17: Tuned the targeting for ‘How to Fix a Skipping DVD’, and added more tags and links.
  • 2017-02-18: Originally published.