Okay. Here’s something that’s kept my PS2 running for years.
NOTE: IF YOU TAKE THE FOLLOWING STEPS TO CLEAN THE PS2 LASER, YOU WILL VOID THE WARRANTY
Read the above carefully. Sometimes you can take the PS2 into the place you bought it and they’ll clean the laser for you. Or if you have a replacement warranty that’s still good, take the PS2 into the store and get a new one.
Now: 99% of the time the PS2 stops reading discs, it’s because of a dirty laser. In Sony’s world, there is no such thing as dust. This also happens much faster if you’re a smoker.
So here’s what to do, as long as you don’t care about voiding the warranty:
Unplug everything from the PS2 and make sure the CD tray is closed. Place it upside down on a work surface. Get a relatively small screwdriver. Now, pop off the little rubber feet — there are more screws under those. Unscrew all the screws from the bottom of the PS2 and turn it over carefully. You should be able to ease the top off. Be careful, because some of the cords are usually taped to the top (it’s not the end of the world if the tape slips, try getting it back on there, but I left the tape off mine and it still works fine).
Looking down on the PS2, you’ll now see the DVD/CD drive. It has a little white plastic disc in the middle of it. Frankly, it’s just plain hard to miss. There are six or seven little screws on that thing. Take them off. This shouldn’t be too hard. Make sure you keep track of where all the screws are that you’ve removed.
Lift the top of the DVD/CD drive off carefully. It takes a little work but don’t force it. Once you’ve done that, you’re almost there. The next thing you need is a Q-tip and some rubbing alcohol.
You should now be able to easily see the laser. Don’t touch it with anything yet. Get that Q-tip. Soak the head of it in the rubbing alcohol (do NOT use anything else, do NOT use lighter fluid, etc.) and take the Q-tip and carefully swab the laser. It’s okay to press down a little bit, but not much. Do two or three passes with fresh Q-tips. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the dirt on the used Q-tips and you’ll know your laser was dirty.
After this, it’s simple. Put the drive cover back on and screw it back in place. Put the main cover on, and screw it back in place. Reattach everything. Plug the PS2 back in…and it should run like new for another six months, until you have to do it all over again.
This really has saved my ass a number of times, but, again, it voids the PS2 warranty so only do it if you don’t care about the warranty and you feel comfortable taking it apart.