How to Fix PS5 Controller Stick Drift

Give me the 'Station, and free my soul, fix your sticks with these tips and tricks and drift away.

The PlayStation 5 is a powerful console and is paired with an excellent controller, but the DualSense has a fatal flaw: stick drift. If you’re experiencing Stick Drift, there are some ways that you can fix it or delay the purchase of a new controller.

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What Causes Stick Drift In PlayStation Controllers?

First-party controllers from Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo continue to use ALPS Joysticks, which use mechanical parts that emulate the movements that you input. As you continue using these controllers, parts can start to break down, dust can form inside, and eventually start drifting or moving on their own. Thankfully, much like the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons, there are some little tricks you can try and elongate the life of your DualSense controller.

Use Electrical Contact Cleaner On The Joystick Internals

While it may seem counterintuitive to spray a liquid on your Joysticks, but Electrical Contact cleaner does wonders when working with stick drift. As someone who has elongated the life of their Joy-Cons for multiple years with this trick, a spritz of Electrical Contact cleaner on the inside of the Joystick can help lubricate these moving parts and keep your controller functioning like the day you took it out of the box.

The easiest way to make this happen is to tilt your Joystick and give the inside a small spray of the Contact cleaner. Rotate the Joystick for a while to ensure that it dries properly and gets all of the contact cleaner inside the moving parts, and then you should be ready to rock and roll in your favorite games once again.

Reset Your Controller To Factory Settings

One of the other options you could try is resetting your DualSense to factory settings. As controllers continue to get more and more advanced, requiring things such as Software Updates now, there is a chance that your stick drift could be caused by something malfunctioning on the software side. If you’re hoping to reset your DualSense controller, we’ve got a handy guide that will walk you through all the steps to make that happen.

Replace The Joystick Modules (Or Pay To Have It Done)

If you’re pretty technologically savvy, the idea of tearing into a piece of technology to see how it works is always entrancing. However, it can be challenging to determine if you’ve got the technical skills to replace something that isn’t working correctly, so you may want to refer to the pros to make this happen.

Plenty of independent shops will replace the Joystick modules for these controllers, and prices may vary depending on shops in your area. There is a chance that you could get these replaced for a relatively good cost, or it may cost nearly as much as a new DualSense controller. Exercise caution, and figure out what may be the best choice here.

Know When Enough Is Enough

It may be time to kiss your launch-day DualSense goodbye and upgrade to a new controller if the Stick Drift has continued to worsen, even after these tips. If you’re worried that you’ll need to keep replacing controllers, the DualSense Edge features swappable Joystick modules, so Drift is technically a worry of the past. Coming in at roughly $199, it’s an investment for sure, but worth it if you’re a diehard Sony fan.

If you want to try something new, however, you could always try a Third-Party controller like the Nacon Revolution 5 Pro, which also offers swappable parts and thumbstick caps, but also utilizes Hall Effect Joysticks to reduce drift to its absolute bare minimum. They’re very premium devices but have their own drawbacks since Sony wants to keep its proprietary technology in its own First-Party devices. You’ll normally need a dongle and will be kissing things like Haptic Feedback goodbye in exchange for these particular devices.

You never know when the drift will rear its ugly head, so keep these tips in mind when you start to experience it for yourself. It’s becoming increasingly common, so knowing how to combat it can help save your wallet when things get rough.

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Author

Shaun Cichacki
As a fan of RPGs, Action & Retro titles, Shaun has been gaming since he was a young boy. With an overwhelming obsession involving Metal Gear Solid and Pizza Tower, you know you're in for a wild ride when it comes to things he's writing about.