Your DVD Player
Average life span: Four to five years.
Preventive medicine: Keep it cool. Avoid stacking other components on top of or under a DVD player, and clear space around it, especially if it’s in a cramped cabinet. When moving your player, always turn it off before unplugging it, and walk around corners slowly. Delicate interior parts can malfunction when they’re jostled.
Most common ailment: Skippity-skip goes the DVD, if it bothers to play at all.
Diagnosis and treatment: It’s possible that the DVD lens, which sits under the pop-out tray, has a film of skip-inducing dust. Use a DVD-player cleaning kit on the lens. Other kits can remove scratches from discs―another potential culprit. To keep discs free of scratches and dust, store them in their cases.
When to pull the plug: When you’ve tried cleaning the machine and your discs still won’t play, move on. While repair shops can fix many mechanical problems, DVD players are now so inexpensive that it might be wiser to replace a malfunctioning model.