Reasons Why Controller DualShock 4 Starts Drifting – How to Fix?

Gaming controllers are a must-have for an immersive gaming experience. But sometimes, the joystick moves on its own without any input from the player – a frustrating problem known as controller drift. In this post, we’ll show you how to fix it

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We’ll cover everything from checking the hardware to finding software solutions so you can get back to gaming in no time. Whether you’re a casual or hardcore gamer, this post has all the information you need to keep your controller working normally.

Possible Reasons for DS4 Drifting With Solutions

Dirt & Debris Clogged in Controller

Controller drift is an issue that can be caused by dirt and debris clogging the controller. When dirt and debris become lodged into the controller’s components, it disrupts the flow of electricity and causes the controller to drift. 

This can lead to errors in the controller’s performance, such as inaccurate inputs, lack of response, or the controller not turning on at all.

Here is how you can clean your controller with different methods to possibly fix the issue:

Cleaning the PS4 Controller

The first step is to turn off your controller by pressing the PS button for 10 seconds.

Next, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a cotton swab or soft cloth and wipe the analog sticks, especially at the base. 


Clean the stick as you clean so you can cover more area. Wait for the alcohol to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Use Canned Air to Clean the PS4 Controller

Compressed air is one of the most popular ways of clearing debris.

Remember that you always want to keep the compressed air level when spraying the analog sticks since doing so can send moisture into your controller and cause further damage.

Here are a few more things to remember while cleaning your controller:

With the controller off, push the analog stick in one direction and spray the compressed air into the stick base on the other side.

With a steady hand, gently roll the analog stick around while spraying the base with air.

As you spray, gently pull both analog sticks up or press them down while it’s pushed to one side. It can help create space for the air to enter.


Even if your controller is working correctly, spraying it with compressed air about once a month will help keep it clean and prolong its life. 

Disassemble Your PS4 To Clean Your Analog Stick

It’s essential to clean the controller’s analog sticks deeply.

Start by removing the device’s outer shell and the battery to access the motherboard.

Next, use a cotton swab and a mixture of water and isopropyl alcohol.

Do not use pressurized air in the interior. When you disassemble your PlayStation 4 controller, you should be sure that you’re not damaging any cables other than those that connect to the motherboard’s battery.

Physical Damage

Having physical damage to your DS4 controller can be a cause of controller drift. This can be caused by something as simple as a broken or damaged analog stick or by something more serious like a faulty circuit board.

Physical damage to your controller can be caused by a variety of things, ranging from accidental drops to long-term wear, and tear.

When your controller has taken physical damage, the internal components can become loose or broken, which can lead to controller drift.

Here are a few fixes you can try to eliminate the controller drift from DS4 caused by possible physical damage:

Replace the DS4 Analog Stick

Suppose you acquire the appropriate tools and are willing to devote time and effort to repair your controller’s drift.

In that case, you can replace the analog sticks and the potentiometer (the sensor for the analog sticks).


Before you open the box containing your PlayStation 4 controller, you should know that removing the outer case will void the warranty on your device, so you should open the packaging only if the warranty has expired.

Remove the screws from the back of the DS4, using a screwdriver.

Gently lift up the plastic cover to expose the motherboard.

Locate the analog stick and unscrew it from the motherboard.

Insert the new analog stick in place and carefully screw it down. 

Replace the DS4 cover and screw it back together. 

Power on the console and test the new analog stick. 

Following these steps will ensure a successful replacement of your DS4 analog stick. If you encounter any difficulty, it is best to consult a professional.

Get Your DS4 Controller Repaired or Replaced by the Sony

If you own a DualShock 4 controller, you may be eligible for free repair service from PlayStation.

Check the eligibility criteria on the PlayStation Repair & Replace page and select DualShock 4 to access the prompts needed to qualify.

Your controller must still be within its warranty period to be eligible for this free repair service.

Firmware Related Issues

Controller drift can be caused commonly by either a problem with the controller’s firmware or the software that it’s running.


If the problem is with the controller’s firmware, then you can try to update it or reset it to its default settings.


Controller drifting is a common problem for gamers. It can happen due to physical damage, wear and tear, or software issues. To fix it, try cleaning your controller, recalibrating the joystick, or replacing the joystick. If none of that works, it might be time to get a new controller. Keep your controller clean and protected to avoid drifting issues in the future.

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David Moffitt

I'm David Moffitt a webaholic gaming maven who loves video games, comics, and podcasts. If you have an idea for me to cover in a post, drop a comment on any one of my posts or shoot me an email with the subject line "Post Idea" at [email protected]

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