Nintendo Wii Disc Cannot Be Read Error Fix

Yikes! In the middle of our beloved Animal Crossing game we were playing on our Wii, we got the dreaded "The Disc Cannot Be Read" error. "OK", we said, "before we completely freak out, we'll remove the disc, reset the Wii, clean the disc, then put the disc back in". Well, we didn't get the disc cannot be read error again, but we did get the generic (but equally frustrating), "An error has occurred" message. Now we were concerned. We tried over and over again to get our Wii to work, but no dice.

Well, we decided we'd call Nintendo and see what it would cost to have our Wii repaired. We were quoted a price of about $80 since we were outside of the warranty period, and although they said (and I'm sure meant) that they would do all they could to retain our game save data, they couldn't guarantee it would be preserved. They also said that it would take I think about 4 weeks or so to get the Wii back to us, and although we had four other Wiis in the house
(yes, I said four, we ARE Nintendo fanatics after all!), we would still be without all of the stages, levels and characters we unlocked on Super Smash Brothers Brawl, Mario Kart, and Mario Sports Mix for a long period of time since you can't transfer the save data, and that just doesn't work in a house of fanatics.

I got on the net and starting searching for ways to resolve the problem, and found that some people were just replacing the laser lens in their Wiis to solve the problem.  Well, after researching that process further, I decided that was a little too cumbersome of a process for me, so I kept searching and found that replacing the entire disc drive in the Wii would resolve the problem as well, without having to deal with the intricacies of laser lens replacement.  Now, I'm kind of apprehensive about performing my own hardware fixes (if you couldn't tell already), but it sounded and looked so easy, I decided I would buy a drive and give it a try. Well, one new drive and about an hour later - voila! - my Wii was back in business!

In a nutshell, this is what I did to fix the drive:

First, I ordered a replacement Wii Disc Drive and a tri-wing screwdriver (you'll need this to open the Wii in addition to a small Philips screwdriver (like the size to open a computer), as there are a bazillion screws to remove from the Wii, and a regular screwdriver won't work with the tri-wing screws. I also recommend that the tri-wing screwdriver you get is magnetized to lessen the chances of the screws getting dropped and lost during the surgery process. I ordered both of these items from (the drive was about $50, and the screwdriver about $4), but you can order them from wherever you choose if Amazon's not your thing.

Once the drive arrived, I watched (and followed with a hawk's eye) a video on YouTube that shows you how to disassemble a Wii and install the new disc drive. It was so helpful being able to watch how to do this step-by-step and be able to pause as needed.  There are several videos on YouTube showing disassembly and installation, but the one I watched is below (I recommend having the sound off though, as the narration is kind of in a weird voice-disguise type of tone):

Once the drive was installed and the legion of screws were back in place, I hooked up the Wii, popped in the Animal Crossing disc and was good to go, with all of my game save data intact (phew)!   Hope you're able to fix your disc cannot be read error just as easily as I did -- good luck!

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