How To Fix Sticky Arcade Buttons

How To Fix Sticky Arcade Buttons

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Have you ever owned an arcade machine and had problems with the buttons sticking? Maybe you have recently been to your favorite arcade to play a game and found out that the arcade buttons are sticky and totally ruin playing the game. If you have had either of these problems you will definitely want to keep reading this article. 

So how do you fix sticky arcade buttons?

Depending upon why the buttons are sticky in the first place, will depend on how you fix them. Most people find out that their buttons just need cleaned to fix the issue, while others have to replace the buttons entirely.

If you want to know the five ways to fix your arcade buttons, you will want to keep reading. You can also watch this video which will show you how to fix your sticky arcade machine buttons.

What causes the buttons to stick?

Arcade machines are games that consist of a coin pocket in which you play by inserting coins. Most people might think an arcade game is expensive but it’s completely otherwise. A coin or a token normally cost much less than 1 dollar. Its price model is designed like that to attract as many customers as possible at the same time allowing them to spend as much money as possible. This is similar to the way stores have sale items. Although a store will not make much if any money on a sale item, they are hoping you will spend money in other parts of theri stores while you are there. Most of the time, this is true as you walk through the store you will pick up more than just the one sale item. 

Just like any other machine, an arcade machine needs maintenance. This is because the machine has a habit of wearing down when they are used for a long time. This is why one or more of the arcade body parts that need maintenance is the controls, especially the buttons. The buttons have a habit of getting stuck. 

Below are the reasons the buttons normally get stuck.

1. Stuffiness

This happens when you either replace the buttons with new ones or move the button shells. This can also be caused by aging of the machines

2. Pressing the buttons recklessly

The buttons are hard, but it doesn’t mean that they should be pressed extremely hard. In most cases, kids which are below 14 like to press the buttons hard recklessly. This can cause the buttons to slowly break simply cause of abuse. It could also be cause by people who get angry at the machine when they lose and smack or punch down on the machine. 

3. Combat games

Games that involve a lot of shooting or combating tend to cause arcade buttons to get stuck. This happens especially when you are competing with an individual. Also, games that require you to beat high scores accelerate the sticking of buttons. This is simply because the buttons are being pushed hundreds of times every game instead of just a couple. 

4. Dirt

The arcade buttons may also jam due to dirt getting stuck right below the button covers. Small things such as remaining food particles may get stuck. This causes tension between the button push and the food particles down into the buttons. If a drink gets spilt on the buttons, it can also cause the buttons to stick. These two problems are what cause the majority of buttons on machines to be stuck. 


1. You can try cleaning them.

Cleaning sticky buttons might just do the trick here. You’ll need to clean both outside and inside just to make sure that there aren’t any obstructions present. The best way to do this is by taking off all the buttons and their plastic covers. Scrub them with a large amount of soap until all the stickiness goes away. Then you can rub them with a clean piece of cloth and leave them to dry for a while. 

2. Make sure they are assembled the correct way

Although this is not a common problem, sometimes an arcade machine will have a piece or two be put together wrong. When this happens it causes the buttons to not work properly. Simply take apart and reassemble the buttons the correct way one at a time to fix this.

3. If the problem persists then take out the button and clean it. 

If cleaning the top didn’t work, you may need to disassemble the board and clean it from the underneath side.

4. You may need to replace the button.

Although we hope this never happens, you may need to replace a broken button every once in a while on a machine. Here is the best replacement button for an arcade machine. 

5. If the problem persists try taking it to a technician. 

The technician will be able to tell you exactly what is wrong, no matter if its something as simple as a button, or a whole issue with the wiring of the machine.

Things to do to avoid your arcade buttons getting stuck

1. Avoid pressing the buttons too hard

Pressing the button too hard may result in the jamming of the control buttons. Even if the game involves a lot of pressing, you do not need to press the buttons aggressively.

2. Avoid eating or drinking while playing the game

Chewing food leads to dropping crumbs which might find their way under the cover of the button or on the sides leading to buttons getting stuck. Not only that, but a lot of foods, especially saucy and fried foods contain a lot of oil which tends to stick. This is why avoiding them would help your buttons last longer.

3. Have the habit of cleaning dust from the inside parts of your cabinet

As we saw earlier a dusty button can cause the buttons to stick. This is why having the habit of generally cleaning your buttons frequently reduces the risk of the buttons getting stuck.

4. Keep certain arcade games away from kids.

Kids are the number one button busters. In combat games, they like being so competitive that they end up pressing the buttons extremely hard. If your household contains a kid, it’s probably best that you restrict them to playing it when you are  around to supervise.

Tools to fix arcade buttons

1. Screwdriver

This is used to pluck out the button of the arcade machine. It’s also used to unlock the plastic covers around it and sometimes clean the side of the buttons by scraping around them

2. Wrench

The wrench is very important especially in the mounting and unmounting of the push button. The wrench comes in handy on tight buttons and button rings. It is used on the following buttons

  • IL arcade buttons
  • Ultralux translucent (Chrome arcade buttons)
  • Happ competition arcade buttons
  • Happ standard arcade buttons
  • Happ ultimate arcade buttons
  • Classic arcade buttons

3. A clean piece of cloth

This is for rubbing the switch and LED after cleaning them.


The buttons of an arcade are very hard to die off completely, so if they malfunction it’s probably some other part in the arcade or dirt. Now you know how to fix your arcade buttons that are sticky, and what tools you need to do so.  

Matt Robbs

There is nothing quite so enjoyable as bringing back memories from your childhood. We used to spend hours playing pinball in my friends basement and that really got me involved in everything retro!

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