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Xbox 360 - Fix Sticky Thumbsticks

Xbox 360 - Fix Sticky Thumbsticks

If you find your XBox 360 controller thumb sticks sticking or becoming stiff it might be because the mechanisim needs cleaning. Dirt and grime can build up in the controller and make the sticks sluggish or even stick when pushed in a certain direction. Below is a guide to taking apart your controller and helping any thumb sticks that are sticking.

IMPORTANT: If you decide to take your controller apart you do so at your own risk and we can't be held responsible for any damage or breakages. Taking your controller apart will most likely void any warranty you have on it so make sure you want to take it apart before you do!


Flip over your controller and unscrew all the screws highlighted in red, not forgetting the one in the battery case. Remove the rear part of the shell, unhook the rumble motors and carefully take out the circuit.


​Flip this over and you'll now have your circuit board out with your thumb sticks facing you. These can be gently pulled off. Clean the dome of the stick to make sure there is no dirt or grit on it and pay special attention to any ridges and make sure they are as smooth as possible and free from any rubbish.



Next clean the holes of your shell where the thumbsticks poke through. The highlighted sections come into contact with the dome of the stick you just cleaned so these need to be free from any dirt or sticky stuff to stop any transfer.



Now look at the box you pulled your thumb stick off of. The innards of this (highlighted in red) may also need cleaning as if dirt gets in there it can cause them to stick. Carefully use a cotton bud or compressed air to remove any dirt that might have built up.


Also rotate the stick around so you can get to any dirt or grime that is hidden within. Be careful when you are doing this and don't leave any cotton bud or bits of cloth behind!



While you are here have a quick look at the buttons just to the right of the thumb sticks. Highlighted in red in the picture below these are your L3/R3 buttons and are activated by a small lever when you push the thumb stick down.  Have a quick check of these and make sure it's dirt and dust free.  If you any have L3/R3 problems this might just solve them.


Put your controller back together again by reversing the steps you followed above and hopefully your sticky thumbsticks problems are over!


If you don't want to take your controller apart we have heard that pressing your thumbstick down and blowing into the hole this creates can also help. While we at Control Blast are 100% believers in the magic blow fixing all manner of gaming problems (how many old SNES and Megadrive games would have been binned without the magic blow fixing them?!) we think you should try and avoid doing this if you can. Sure it might dislodge some dirt and fix your thumb stick but it might move that dirt somewhere else and cause another problem. It might work for a quick fix but be wary!

Good luck and let us know if you need any help!