Fix for Belt-Driven CD-ROM/DVD Drives that won’t open

Lately I’ve had a rash of optical drives (DVD-RW/CD-ROM/CD-RW) that refuse to open without a little nudge from a paper clip via the manual eject mechanism. I’d press the button and hear a soft “thunk” but the drive tray barely budged. All of the drives that have this issue have been belt-driven. The old gear-driven trays were louder, but they worked much more reliably.

After cleaning the drive trying to replace the belt without success, and even trying to replace a drive motor, I stumbled upon an answer so simple I didn’t believe it would work: Wash the belt in soap and water! For good measure, I also used a Q-Tip with rubbing alcohol on it to clean the pulleys. This has saved several drives from the trash heap, and likely many more in the future.

If you have the right tools, you can even unloop the belt, wash it off, and replace it without removing the drive case. Just be careful, and make sure the power is off before you attempt to work inside the drive.

I hope this saves others a bit of sanity.

7 thoughts on “Fix for Belt-Driven CD-ROM/DVD Drives that won’t open

  1. MY Sony cfd 577 boombox CD player does not spin. Radio and cassette work well and sound fine. Could the CD drive need a new belt? Is it a difficult task? Are belts available?



  2. No idea on that one, sorry. This article is just about the belt on the eject/tray mechanism. I think the disc is spun directly by a motor, no belts or gears involved.

  3. Interesting one, Jim. As many of my machines here at work are in literally the most PC-destructive environment in the world (or at least it seems like it), this is a problem that develops early in the life of even new machines. I might give this a try to save a few extra $$ around here…

  4. I just can’t believe it is this simple. Jim thanks a lot for this one – you just saved another two dvd-rws. Thanks!

  5. What really worked for me, as recommended by Jim, was washing the belt in soapy water and cleaning the drive pulleys with rubbing alcohol. Drive has worked faultlessly for several weeks now. Thanks for that great tip.

  6. Totally brilliant. My player would not open. I went through the steps of taking it apart, thinking the motor needed replacing, realizing that the belt was slipping and thinking it needed replacing, and then finding and trying this post. Worked great!

  7. Thanks for doing this post. I\’ve been having problems with my Sony Optiarc AD-5280S refusing to open for a while now, and was starting to get fed up of repeatedly having to try before it finally decides to open.
    I took the belt out and gave it a quick dip in warm water before drying, then before I reinstalled the belt I noticed that the big pully looked a bit greasy so I gave it a clean with a Foam Tip (designed for cleaning electronics), reinstalled the belt, and it worked straight away once I turned the PC on.

    This saved me having to replace this excellent burner!