Skip to content

Will Nintendo Fix Pro Controller Drift for Free?

Hey friend! As a fellow gamer, I know how frustrating Pro Controller drift can be. It drove me crazy when it started happening to my controller. But thankfully, Nintendo offers free repairs even if your controller is out of warranty.

In this guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know to get your Pro Controller fixed by Nintendo at no cost. Stick with me!

What Exactly is Pro Controller Drift?

Pro Controller drift is when your joystick registers movement even when you‘re not touching it. This causes your characters or aim to drift in a direction without any input.

Over time, dust and debris build up inside the joystick mechanism which interferes with the sensors. It‘s super annoying when Link starts slowly walking left or your sights keep moving upwards as you‘re trying to snipe someone.

The drift often starts very subtly but gets worse gradually. You‘ll notice it most on the left analog stick since that gets used more for character movement in games.

Confirming You Have Drift

To check for sure if your Pro Controller has drift:

  • Characters walk on their own in games
  • Menus scroll when the joystick is centered
  • The dot moves away from center during calibration
  • Joystick doesn‘t snap back to center when released

Try blowing compressed air under the stick to clear out dust. If the drift keeps happening, there is likely an internal hardware issue.

Does Nintendo Fix Drifting Pro Controllers for Free?

The good news is yes, Nintendo will repair any drifting Pro Controllers completely free of charge, even if it‘s been more than a year since you bought it!

After public complaints about Joy-Con drift, Nintendo expanded their policy to cover free repairs for Pro Controllers too. I was so happy when I found this out!

As long as you can reproduce the drift consistently, Nintendo will fix your Pro Controller free of cost. It‘s super simple to set up the repair as well.

How Many Controllers are Impacted?

According to consumer reports surveys, around 30% of Switch owners have experienced drift issues with their Joy-Cons or Pro Controllers.

That means potentially 13 million controllers could be affected based on total Switch sales to date.

The issue seems even more common with intense gamers and the longer you‘ve owned the controller.

Sending Your Pro Controller to Nintendo

Here are the steps to send your Pro Controller to Nintendo for free drift repair:

  1. Contact Nintendo – Start a repair ticket on their support site. Explain you have a drifting Pro Controller.
  2. Get shipping label – Nintendo will email you a prepaid UPS label to print out.
  3. Pack it up – Put your controller in a box with padding and include any cables.
  4. Ship it off – Tape the label on securely and drop it off at any UPS location.
  5. Await the repair – Nintendo aims to fix and return controllers within 1-2 weeks.
  6. Confirm it‘s fixed – Test thoroughly for drift when you get it back before regular use.

The entire service from Nintendo made it so easy. I was back up and gaming in no time!

Troubleshooting Before Sending It In

Before sending it off for repairs, try these troubleshooting tips:

  • Update to the latest firmware – Fixes can improve drifting
  • Recalibrate the joystick sensors
  • Clean around and under the sticks
  • Test the drift across multiple games/menus
  • Try a different user account on your Switch
  • Reset the controller‘s sync by holding the button

If you still have consistent drift after trying those steps, Nintendo will definitely need to repair the hardware for you.

Repair Costs Out of Warranty

Once your Pro Controller is past the 1 year warranty, Nintendo will still fix drift issues but charge $39.99 for repairs, which covers parts, labor, and return shipping.

That‘s only about $10-15 more than doing it yourself with replacement parts you‘d buy online. Pretty reasonable compared to buying a brand new Pro Controller for $69.99!

Other Pro Controller Repair Options

Aside from Nintendo, you could look into:

  • Local repair shops – Many electronics repair places will fix drift for $40-$60.
  • Mail-in services – UbreakiFix does $50 mail-in Pro Controller repairs with warranty.
  • DIY – If you‘re technically inclined, replacement sticks run $10-$15.
  • Buying a new one – If repairs exceed 50% of a new controller, it may be best to just replace.

But the convenience of Nintendo covering shipping both ways makes it the easiest choice in my opinion.

Preventing Drift from Happening Again

Here are some tips I‘ve picked up to help avoid drift:

  • Handle the analog sticks gently to prevent damage
  • Keep your controller in a case when not using it
  • Don‘t eat or drink around it to avoid liquid damage
  • Use compressed air to clean around and under sticks monthly
  • Recalibrate the sticks occasionally

With proper care, you can get the longest life out of your Pro Controller. But drift may still eventually happen from normal wear and tear.

Common Questions

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Pro Controller drift:

Does Nintendo fix drift on Switch Lite systems?

Yes, you would mail in your actual Switch Lite to Nintendo and they will repair any drift issues on the built-in joysticks for free.

Will Nintendo replace my Pro Controller or just repair it?

In most cases, they will repair Pro Controllers with drift rather than replacing them completely. But if it cannot be fixed or has severe physical damage, they may opt to replace it.

Can you trade in a controller with drift?

Some retailers may accept trade-ins on drifting controllers but will offer much lower value than fully working controllers. Best to get the drift repaired first.

What voids the warranty?

Opening up the controller, water damage, cracked casing, or other physical damage will void the 1 year warranty on Pro Controllers.

How long does the repair take to get back?

Nintendo aims to have your Pro Controller repaired and shipped back within 1-2 weeks after receiving it at their facility.

Get Your Drifting Controller Fixed

I hope this guide gives you everything you need to know to get your Pro Controller repaired through Nintendo‘s drift program. It‘s such an easy process and will have you back gaming in no time.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out friend! Best of luck getting your controller fixed.