Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Repairing video games

We have both an Xbox 360 and a Wii in our home, which means we have plenty of game discs.  We also have a five-year-old Little Man that hardly ever remembers to put the games back in the cases, as well as a dog that has knocked into the entertainment center a few times while the Xbox was in use.  Both have resulted in scratches to the discs (if you've ever had your Xbox 360 bumped, you know that the slight jostle is enough to put a deep circular scratch around the disc).

We didn't want to throw the discs away, seeing as they can end up costing so much if you don't buy them used, on sale, or on clearance.  I had seen information about some of the game manufacturers replacing damaged discs, as long as the damage was caused by the system and not by abuse, but even that came with a cost of anywhere from $5 to $25.  I decided to look into ways to repair the discs at home.

I started off buying a disc scratch remover cream from Walmart.  Cost: About $7.00.  It was a complete waste of money!  Not only did it not repair the scratches, but it actually caused more scratches.  My next step was purchasing a small handheld disc repair kit.  Cost: About $20.00.  Again, it didn't remove the scratches.  It did, however, do a good job of making dirty discs cleaner than they had been.  After that, I read about using Colgate toothpaste, peanut butter, baking soda, and Diet Coke to repair and clean scratches.  Cost: About $3.00.   Once again, this attempt to fix the scratched discs failed.  Between the the three attempts, I'd wasted about $30.00, but I still wasn't giving up.

I discovered online that you can buy better repair machines (like the JFJ Easy Pro Disc Repair Machine in the ad to the side) that actually remove the scratches by refinishing the surface.  I almost convinced Georgia Boy to spend the money on one of those, figuring it would save us a fortune in the long run.  Instead, though, I decided to look for disc repair services online, hoping to find a service that used professional quality disc repair.  I wasn't really sure how much to expect to pay per disc, but it certainly had to be cheaper than paying for replacement discs.

I found Disc Repair Services through Google, along with a couple of other services that offered the same service.  They all worked basically the same way:

  1. You fill out the order form and pay online, stating how many discs you want repaired.
  2. You send your disks in protected envelopes or in those little cases that you purchase blank CDs or DVDs in.  Do not send them in their game cases.  Also be sure to include your receipt/order form.
  3. The company receives the discs, repairs them, and mails them back to you in a protective case.
In looking through the various services, I did find one big difference.  Disc Repair Services came out cheaper than the others since Disc Repair Services provides free return shipping instead of charging a shipping cost.  One of the sites I looked at seemed cheaper, thanks to a lower 'per disc' rate, but when shipping was factored in it would've cost me over $10 more to have the same pile of discs repaired.

I sent placed my order last Wednesday morning, then immediately went to the post office to ship my pile of 27 discs.  The cost of shipping to the repair service was about $10 for priority mail with tracking and insurance.  I'd already paid for the service, which was just over $33.00 total for all 27 discs (much cheaper than I'd expected, and not much more over what I'd paid in my attempts to fix them myself).

My box was delivered today, only one week after sending it off.  The discs all came back to me looking brand new, without a single scratch on any of the discs.  Better yet, we'd tried a few and they are all playing like new, too!

I will no longer be trying to repair discs at home on my own.  From now on, I plan to be using Disc Repair Services to repair any and all scratched discs (video games, DVDs, or CDs) in our home!


  1. Sounds like a great system. Do they still charge if the discs don't work or is the service simply to remove the scratches?

  2. Since you prepay for the service, they give you a credit for any disc that cannot be repaired, which you can use at a later time. We had some pretty big scratches (deep, too) in some of the discs, and I was impressed with how well they were able to refinish the discs.