“No Disc” Error: Portable Car DVD Player Won’t Play Discs

by Michael on July 8, 2010 · 1 comment

We just got back from a long road trip during which we logged nearly 3000 miles. When we make such trips, we depend heavily on our portable car DVD player to entertain the kids. Unfortunately, on the way out of town, we discovered that certain DVDs wouldn’t play.


The problem presented itself as a “No Disc” error when attempting to mount a DVD. The DVD player in question is an Insignia dual screen unit from Best Buy. While it’s a few years old, it only gets used on a handful of trips per year, so there’s no reason it should be acting up so soon.

When we started having problems, I first thought it might have been a disc formatting issue, as these were mostly movies that I had ripped and burned. As the trip wore on, however, the problem got worse until every single disc resulted in the “No Disc” error.

Thinking that it might be a dirty laser lens, I picked up a CD/DVD lens cleaner and popped it in. Unfortunately, that didn’t help. I next turned to the (gasp!) instruction manual for help.

Apparently moisture can be a problem, and the manual suggested turning the unit on for an hour without a disc. Once again, no dice. Given how important the DVD player is to peace in our car during extended road trips, I relented and picked up an RCA dual screen DVD player at Target.

Once we got home, I decided to investigate the problem further. Apparently the mechanism responsible for moving the laser back and forth across the disc gets gummed up and/or the lubricant dries out, resulting in an inability to read a disc.

This “No Disc” problem seems quite common regardless of brand, as I’ve seen complaints from owners of portable DVD players made by Insignia, RCA, GPX, Philips, Sony, etc. The fix is to open it up (thus voiding the warranty) and manually loosen up the head. You might also try cleaning and/or lubricating the gears to get things working again.

I haven’t had a chance to try this fix myself yet, but it doesn’t sound too hard.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Duntem June 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

I do dust my dvd,yet it sometimes doesn’t play or write no disc

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