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How to Get Your Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons Repaired for Free

A pair of Nintendo Joy-Cons on a table.
Yasin Hasan/Shutterstock

If your Joy-Cons are acting up, it’s probably not your fault. Nintendo admits that “Joy-Con drift” is an unavoidable problem on Nintendo Switch systems, as the controllers’ joysticks simply can’t the normal wear and tear of gaming. Thankfully, you can get your Switch Joy-Cons repaired for free.

This article mainly focuses on “Joy-Con drift,” as that’s the main problem associated with Nintendo Switch controllers. Still, Nintendo will repair most other Joy-Con problems for free.

First, Troubleshoot Common Joy-Con Problems

Before getting your Joy-Cons repaired, you should check that they’re actually damaged. That means running through some simple troubleshooting steps—a process that should only take a few minutes.

Nintendo has a robust list of troubleshooting instructions on its website. But we’re going to cover “Joy-Con drift” here, as it’s the most common problem experienced by Switch owners.

If you notice that in-game characters are slowly moving around without any input, you’re probably experiencing “Joy-Con drift.” This is a phenomenon where the joystick wears down and fails to center properly. But in some cases, it’s simply due to poor calibration.

So, we’re going to try and recalibrate the joysticks. Turn on your Switch and navigate to the Settings (the wrench icon). Scroll down to the “Controllers and Sensors” tab and select the “Calibrate Control Sticks” option.

Now that you’re on the calibration screen, follow the instructions to recalibrate your joysticks. This is pretty simple; if you don’t see a blue plus symbol in the center of the on-screen crosshairs, you need to press “X” to start the automatic recalibration process.

Open a game and test that the recalibration worked. I suggest using a game like Smash Bros or Zelda, as they both respond to very small joystick inputs. Your in-game character shouldn’t move on its own—if it’s still moving when you take your hands off the controller, it’s time to send that controller in for repair.

Send Your Joy-Cons to Nintendo for Free Repairs

Two sets of Joy-Cons with a Nintendo Switch console.
saksorn kumjit/Shutterstock.com

If you’re sure that your Joy-Cons are suffering from “drift” or any other problems, it’s time to send them in for repairs. Nintendo performs free Joy-Con repairs in most countries, though you need to fill out a form to submit a repair.

Once you submit a repair form, Nintendo will give you a shipping label. You can send them company four Joy-Cons in a single box. If you need even more Joy-Cons repaired, Nintendo will give you additional shipping labels—this is due to lithium-ion safety regulations.

Here are some regions where Nintendo performs Joy-Con repairs:

Bear in mind that Nintendo only guarantees free out-of-warranty Joy-Con repairs in North America and Latin America. If you live outside of these regions, you may need to provide proof of purchase or pay a fee.

Additionally, Nintendo will simply replace Joy-Cons instead of repairing them. That’s a big problem if you have limited edition Joy-Cons, as you could end up with a boring set of red, blue, or gray controllers. Those with limited edition Joy-Cons should consider performing repairs at home (a relatively easy job) instead of sending the controllers to Nintendo.

Bonus Points: Learn to Fix Joy-Cons at Home

While Nintendo is quite generous with Joy-Con repairs, it sure ain’t perfect. Customers could wait several weeks before their Joy-Cons are returned, for example, and some countries (such as India) don’t have an official Nintendo repair program.

Not to mention, Nintendo may replace your limited edition Joy-Cons. Those who have fancy or colorful Joy-Cons may be better off performing repairs at home.

Thankfully, repairing Joy-Cons is a fairly easy task. You can replace your Joy-Con joystick, battery, shell, or buttons at home without any crazy tools. All you need to do is buy the replacement part and look up a guide.

I suggest checking out iFixit’s repair guides to see if you’re up to the task. This is some basic stuff, though it can be intimidating for a beginner. If you decide that at-home repairs are worth the effort, it’s time to shop for parts.

Again, iFixit is the way to go. This company sells repair kits for several Nintendo Switch components, and each kit includes replacement parts and high-quality tools. You can also buy the standalone replacement parts if you already own any relevant tools.

iFixit Joy-Con Repair Kit

Use this iFixit repair kit to install a new joystick in your Joy-Con or Switch Lite. You can also purchase the replacement joystick on its own if you already have the appropriate tools.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »