How to Protect Your Gaming Controller Analogue Sticks From Damage

How to Protect Your Gaming Controller Analogue Sticks From Damage

A gaming controller is an expensive piece of hardware. Both the DualSense and Xbox Wireless Controllers now sit in the thousands of rand range when looking to replace it. You should know how to protect your gaming controller analogue stick from damage which may occur over time.

Ever since the PlayStation 3 days, when clicking in the L3 button to sprint became the normal thing to do, I have been using this method to prevent the shaft of the analogue sticks from scratching and slowing getting damaged from the constant click and rub of the inner mechanism. Think about it for a second. Every time you sprint in a game you have to click in the L3 button which moves it up and down ever so slightly against the rim.

Fast forward a few months and you have done this thousands of times already and moved the analogue up and down against the side. Over time, this does more damage than you think. Firstly, you are slowly scraping away the plastic around the shaft of the stick. Secondly, the plastic then goes into the inside of the controller and can build up on the device. If you look at your analogue stick, just under the rubber nub, you will most likely see it has been worn down and this has affected your sprint.

A reader’s DualShock 4. Damage done over 2 years. 

Thankfully, there’s a solution to this problem and it can be fixed by using common household items. I use insulation tape and the method revolves around snipping a thin slice of it and wrapping it around the shaft of the analogue stick. I have found that using insulation tape is way more effective than sellotape. This is thanks to the adhesive being a lot stickier and the soft plastic surface lets the tape adjust to your movements too. I used to use sellotape but it often fell off after a few months of gaming

We put together a video of the process to help you through it. If you have any questions ask away down below.

How to Protect Your Gaming Controller Analogue Stick From Damage

You will need

  • Black insulation tape (you can use whatever colour you want but the black blends with the controller)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Toothpicks
  • Ruler to measure

The method is simple. You want to slice a piece of insulation tape off the roll and then slice that piece into a thin strip which can wrap around your analogue shaft. The strip can’t be too thick or too long. It has to wrap around once and just slightly overlap the starting point. If it is too thick then it may touch the top and bottom and cause friction when moving the stick. So the measurements need to be

  • Xbox Controller – 35mm long x 5mm thin (1.37 x 0.19 – inches)
  • DualShock 4 / DualSense Controller- 35mm long x 5mm thin


How to Protect Your Gaming Controller Analogue Sticks From Damage

The Method

  • Slice the insulation tape into a short piece of tape
  • Place it on a ruler and measure out the above dimensions
  • As a result, you will get a thin and slightly long piece of tape
  • Pull your analogue stick down with your thumb, grab the tape with your fingers and wrap it onto the shaft of the stick
  • Use the tweezers to pull the one end around the shaft and stick it down
  • Repeat the process for the other end
  • Using the toothpick, adjust the tape if it needs to be cleaned off the top or the bottom. You can also use it to apply pressure to the whole shaft to make sure the tape is stuck across it
  • Twirl your analogue around to further stick the tape down.
  • Repeat the process on the other stick

How to Protect Your Gaming Controller Analogue Sticks From Damage

This is the stick after the tape was applied back in November last year. Very little damage to the tape and if it gets too bad I can just remove and replace it. 

I apply the tape to both sticks just to prevent damage. Even if you aren’t sprinting, the other stick will already have a white circle on the shaft which means it too can get damaged over time. It may feel strange for a day or so when sprinting but the insulation tape should form around the rim.

Some tips to note. If your piece is too thick and it touches the top and the bottom it’s not a trainsmash. You see, only a small portion of the shaft comes into contacts with the circle part of the analogue so you can get away with it. Just make sure it is not soo big that it flaps and may come loose after a while. Also, if you are not happy with how clean it looks at first, try again. Keep in mind that that the more you use the stick the more it will press the tape down and get neater over time. I know it may seem ratchet at first but I have never had to replace a controller due to analogue drifting or sticking issues thanks to this method. I hope it helps.

Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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