How to Fix Controller Drift

-How to Fix Controller Drift-

Have you ever been playing a PlayStation game when your characters move around on their own? No, it’s not a demon taking control of your controller; it’s most likely an issue known as analog stick drift. In this article, we’ll be showing you all you need to know about How to Fix Controller Drift.

How To Fix A Controller Drift

Stick Drift is a reality that everyone must confront, and it happened to me four times. So, although it sounds a little unlucky and sad, I would consider myself a pro stick drifter.

But this time I did my homework and discovered the major causes of stick drifts. The best way to fix Stick Drift is to simply clean or replace the potentiometer.

If the stick drift is only on one plane, replacing the single potentiometer will solve the problem. Most potentiometers do not respond because of dust or moisture, so cleaning them may work and save you time.

Why Potentiometer is The Main Culprit?

Without going into too many technical details, each potentiometer registers movement on each plain. As a result, each analog stick has two potentiometers. The metal disk represents the potentiometer in the above images.

Because it is used, the color is a little pale, and a new one looks like silver. In the following image, they hid these potentiometers behind the green flaps. As can be seen, there are two green slots for two potentiometers.

Because of the movement, dust and moisture become trapped inside these, causing an issue. Cleaning them may solve your problem, but the best way to fix the stick drift is to remove and replace the potentiometer.

How Do I Fix My Controller Drift Without Opening It?

How to Fix Controller Drift

It’s understandable if your controller is brand new and you don’t want to rip it open. We’ve been using a popular trick for this since the days of Nintendo.

Dust particles cause most stick drift issues in new controllers within the analog stick. Blowing inside the joystick can aggravate the situation by pushing more dust particles inside.

Applying Isopropyl Alcohol to the stick is the best way to correct the stick drift. Isopropyl alcohol is known for its cleaning ability, so don’t be concerned; it will remove the dust from your stick.

Opening Your Controllers

If cleaning the analog stick did not resolve the issue, you can proceed to the next step because stick drifts are caused by the potentiometer.

There will be specific guides for both PS4 and Xbox Controllers, as well as a professional video on YouTube. I’ll also go over the procedure step by step so that you can have it all on one page.

These steps are fairly simple, but be cautious because one hard pull can damage your controller, so be cautious and be aware that this will void the warranty.

However, if your controller is old and you don’t want to spend $60 on it, you can repair it for less than $1-$2. On AliExpress, a potentiometer costs only $2.

How To Fix Stick Drift on PS4

This was the best guide to opening and cleaning Dualshock 4’s and will assist you in every way.

There are some differences between older and newer models, but this guy explained everything you see here and what you could do to fix stick drift issues. 

Steps To Fix Stick Drift on PS4

How to Fix Controller Drift

Below are ways to fix stick Drift on PS4:

Step 1: Unscrew the 4 little screws on the back and gently separate the controller.

Step 2: Don’t pull too hard while separating because there is a ribbon connecting them both. Gently pull the blue tab that will pull out the ribbon separating them.

Step 3: Separate the battery by pulling the connector out and then snap out the battery board as shown in the video.

Step 4: Disconnect the cable at the top right by either pulling or opening the clamp depending on the version of your controller.

Step 5: Unscrew and separate the board from the front panel. Be gentle and check if the ribbon is coming through the front panel.

Step 6: After removing the green board, you’ll see the board connected to the analog stick. Clean every dust on it.

Step 7: remove the analog sticks by pulling it out and you see some familiar green boxes if you read about the potentiometer above.

Step 8: Snap Open the green tabs that hold the potentiometer. They are tightly locked, so you will use a minor force. Be careful because the potentiometer is very soft and even a little bend will ruin your day.

Step 9: Check if the potentiometer has turned black or if the overusing of the joystick has any marks on the inside of the green pads. If there are, then replacing the potentiometer is the better option. 

The Xbox One Controller Drift

The Xbox One Controller Drift

The most common problem is drift in the left analog stick, which causes your character to constantly look up in first-person games. The right stick can suffer from drift issues.

 You may also notice that when you move one of the analog sticks in any direction, it continues to register that movement even after you remove your thumb from the stick.

What Causes Xbox Controller Drift?

When Xbox One controller drift occurs, there are three major causes:

1. Worn Out Thumb Stick Pad

Each thumbstick comprises a boxy sensor component, on top of which is a moveable shaft and a rubber or plastic component that snaps onto the shaft.

If the rubber or plastic piece becomes worn, replacing or repairing it will fix your drift issue. Sometimes, dirty thumb stick pads can cause a similar problem.

2. Worn Out Springs

When you remove your thumb from the thumb stick sensor, two springs help snap it back to the center. You’ll notice drift when one or both springs wear out. They resolved the problem by replacing the springs.

3. Bad Thumb stick Unit

Each thumb stick comprises a boxy sensor component soldered to the controller circuit board. This component may fail internally, in which case the only solution is to replace it.

How To Fix Stick Drift On Xbox

Both video guides are very professional and clean, so there will be no problems with solving stick drift. However, changing the potentiometer on Xbox is more difficult than on PS4, so be patient.

 It is also very complicated and delicate, so keep an eye out for any thin wires. They hid the screws on the controller to make it look more appealing.

One behind the battery compartment sticker and four behind the removable plastics on the handles

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StepsTo Fix Stick Drift On Xbox Controllers

How To Fix Stick Drift On Xbox Controllers

Step 1: Unscrew the 5 screws on the controller. They are hidden. One is behind the middle of the sticker. If you push it in it will tear. The rest 4 are behind the removable plastic panels on each side. 

Step 2: Take off the front panel after unscrewing and pull out the rubber sticks.

Step 3: Hold the insides of the controller from the left. Thumb on the motor because it is loose and you don’t want it to fall off. Pull it out. This will separate the part from the back panel.

Step 4: He taped the motors so that they don’t move, which is an excellent idea, so do that because the motors are very heavy and the wire connected to them is very thin. You know the rest.

More Information On How To Fix Stick Drift On Xbox Controllers

Step 5: Now flip the controller and you will see a green circuit board. we need to remove the top circuit board to clean the potentiometer.

Step 6: Unscrew the two screws behind the motors. One on the left and one on the right. They are behind the motor so be careful and also be careful of the wires. Watch the video at timestamp 2:52

Step 7: After unscrewing, pull out the circuit board and do it slowly because there are few wires connecting board and motor.

Step 8: Now cleaning or removing the potentiometer is a tedious task because the wires don’t let us open the whole board and that restricts the space to the potentiometer. 

Step 9: carefully pull and flip the board. Be careful of the wires and other stuff. If you did it properly, then you will see two boxes with green flaps and a smile on your face.

Step 10: Open the flaps. Note that the flaps might be hard to open so apply the force needed but not too much. Pull the potentiometer out gently and keep it aside.

Step 11: After pulling the potentiometer clean the insides of the green flaps and also clean the potentiometer with alcohol if you don’t want to replace it. Let it dry and then put it back on

Step 12: Be careful with the potentiometer. Watch the video on time stamp 5:36 for visual representation.

Step 13: Now reverse the steps, flip the board > screw the two screws behind the motors > Put the rubber analog sticks back > front panel > screw the 5 screws back.

Natural Decay Comes With Play

One of the most common reasons for controlled drift is that they are prone to deterioration, which occurs naturally with use. In recent years, the life cycle of technology has been dramatically shortened..

 This is to encourage further purchases (yay, capitalism), exacerbating the problem. Consider the Dual Sense.  

The joystick component, which handles the controller’s longevity, has an operating life of approximately 2 million input cycles. This equates to approximately 400 hours of Call of Duty gameplay.


So this is how you fix controlled stick drifts. Determine whether you want to replace all four potentiometers or just the one with the problem.

 This will work in either case, and if you decide to buy a new controller as well as repair it, you’ll have one extra working controller.

We hope you find this article useful. Please share with family and friends.

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