How to fix PS4 controller stick drift

Last ditch efforts.

Stick drift is something nearly every gamer has had to deal with at some point. Whether it’s the Joy-Con drift or Xbox One drift, the issue can easily hamper any given gameplay experience and render your games unplayable.

Sony’s PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller is no exception to the stick drift issue that plagues modern gaming. Luckily, not all hope is lost. Sometimes foreign debris and buildup can gunk up a stick, causing it to drift. In this case, the solution is simple. On the other hand, older controllers that have taken a beating over the years might not be so lucky and could be beyond repair.

Here’s how to fix PS4 DualShock 4 controller drift using two different methods. It is not advised to take your controller apart yourself. Instead, if none of the following steps work out, visit a repair shop or send your controller to Sony if it is a new purchase.

Before diving in, make sure your controller is turned off and disconnected from the console. You’ll also want to make sure you have the following materials on deck.

  • Cotton swab
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper clip
  • Compressed air

Once you gathered up all the required materials, we can start by cleaning out the joysticks.

  • Wet the cotton swab with a small amount of rubbing alcohol.
    • Be careful not to completely soak the cotton swab. Doing so could track excess liquid into the stick housing.
  • Gently swab around the base of the joysticks on the DualShock 4.
  • Allow the rubbing alcohol to dry.
  • Once dry, use the compressed air to remove any leftover debris or loosened buildup.
    • Do this from a distance. There is a risk of introducing more moisture with compressed air.

You can also try resetting the controller if the issue persists.

  • On your PS4, head over to Settings.
  • Select Devices.
  • Hit Turn Off Device.
  • Select the device you’d like to turn off.
  • Power on the controller once more.
  • Turn the controller over.
  • Use the paperclip to press the recessed reset button for 10 seconds.

If your PS4 controller is still experiencing stick drift, it may be time to throw in the towel. There’s always the option of taking it in for repairs, but it’s likely to be a pricier endeavor than going to the store or waiting for a sale.