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How to Get Your Switch's Drifting Joy-Cons Repaired by Nintendo for Free

Follow these quick steps if you want to get your own Joy-Con controllers fixed sooner rather than later.

July 25, 2019

Joy-Con drifting has become a problem for many Switch owners. So much of a problem, in fact, that Nintendo has now formally acknowledged the issue and is reportedly willing to own up to it by repairing the Joy-Cons of any users who may have experienced said “drifting” on the controller for themselves.

According to Vice, a new internal memo at Nintendo says that it will now be offering repairs for Joy-Con controllers free of charge if you have this problem with drift. These repairs will even be covered by Switch units that are outside of warranty. For reference, a console warranty with Nintendo lasts for 12-months after the purchase date of your Switch. Furthermore, Nintendo is willing to even reimburse users that have paid to repair the issue in the past, given they can provide proof through a receipt.

So if you think that you have this drifting Joy-Con issue for yourself, how can you go about getting your own controllers fixed? Follow these steps and it should be simple.

What are “Drifting” Joy-Cons?

Before you should know whether or not you need to hit up Nintendo to get your Joy-Con controllers fixed, you should probably be aware of what “drifting” even is. Essentially, Joy-Con drift is when actions in your game on-screen are occurring even when you aren’t moving the thumbsticks of the Joy-Con you’re using. For instance, if you’re playing Splatoon 2 and your Inkling is walking around by themselves without you inputting those actions on the controller, you’re likely experiencing this problem.

This problem can occur on either the left or the right Joy-Con, although the popular consensus among many Switch owners with the drifting issue is that the left controller is affected more often. The best way to test to see if this is happening to you is to boot up a game and place your Joy-Cons down on an entirely flat surface. Leave things alone for a bit and see how your character on-screen starts reacting with you not touching the controllers. If they begin to do things in-game on their own, it sounds like Joy-Con drifting has come your way.

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Contact Nintendo for Repairs

Currently, Nintendo is advising that if you want to get ahold of them regarding repairs for your own Joy-Cons, you fill out a form on the company’s support page. It is here that you can list all of the specifications of your problem along with giving your address, phone number, and other vital information. Nintendo says that “a confirmation and instructions” upon filling out one of these support tickets will then be sent to you within 24-hours after the submission.

Conversely, if you want to talk directly to a human being, you could always call Nintendo’s support phone number. When you finally get on the line with someone, if you explain the Joy-Con drifting problem that you’re having to your representative, they should proceed to send you a pre-paid shipping label that will allow you to send in your device. And as previously mentioned, your warranty status that is dependent on when you bought your Switch shouldn’t matter in this situation any longer.

Getting a Refund for a Previous Repair 

If you have already previously paid Nintendo to repair your Joy-Cons that were outside of warranty, you should now be able to hit them back up and get that payment from before reimbursed. Nintendo has reportedly charged around $40 over the past few years to repair Joy-Con controllers and is now willing to give that money back to you due to the widespread nature that Joy-Con drifting has been found to be.

Your best bet to get this refund would be to call someone at Nintendo’s customer support line, as mentioned above, and explain your situation before asking for the refund. Also, be sure to have some proof of payment from when you previously paid Nintendo for the repairs. It’s likely that you might have a receipt stashed somewhere in your email inbox along with a ticket number of sorts proving the previous repair’s purchase. Find this receipt and then call Nintendo up to start this refunding process.

Fix it Yourself

And for those who want to live dangerously and try to fix this issue themselves despite the fact that Nintendo is now willing to do it for free, well, there are some methods. You’ll need to have a few items at your disposal and you’ll also have to crack open your own Joy-Cons, but the drifting issue can seemingly be fixed by replacing the thumbstick in some cases.

Spawn Wave’s video, attached above, goes into great detail when it comes to potentially repairing the Joy-Con drift problem. It goes step-by-step and shows you how to open up your Joy-Con controller, replace the thumbstick, and then put it all back together. You’ll need a screwdriver and, obviously, a replacement thumbstick to tackle this project on your own, but it doesn’t look to be too difficult and shouldn’t take you much time. Just be patient and hopefully, this will rectify the matter.

So there you have it! If you’ve had a drifting Joy-Con issue of your own, what has been outlined here in this article should potentially be able to help you out. While you might end up needing to ship your own Joy-Cons out to Nintendo for a bit to get them repaired, hopefully, you have some back up Joy-Cons or a Pro Controller to use to play your games on Switch in the meantime.

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Logan Moore

Logan Moore is the Managing Editor around these parts and enjoys the video game Super Mario Odyssey.

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