Last Updated on December 22, 2020
Operating a computer without a mouse is hectic because this handy little device offers a lot of conveniences. If the mouse is acting up, particularly, if the scroll wheel is not working as expected, you need to know how to fix a broken mouse wheel.
You should clean the mouse wheel if it has some debris caught inside its mechanism. This can restore functionality to a working mouse. If the wheel is non-functional, you may need to replace it. This will be easy if you have a compatible unit that you can pull out spares from.
A broken mouse wheel may miss some steps when scrolling, feel awkward in the hand, or even not work at all. It all depends on what the problem is. Fixing it is the only way to get back to a good working condition.
Is Your Mouse Wheel On?
The first thing to do before you start disassembling your mouse is to check if the wheel has the right settings.
Under the mouse settings (type “mouse settings” in the search bard) on your computer, check to see if the settings are suitable.
For instance, if you issue is with the mouse wheel not scrolling documents properly, then the “choose how many lines to scroll each time” setting could be culprit.
You can also adjust the number of lines that the computer should scroll when the wheel is moved alongside other settings.
Bad settings can be the reason why the mouse seems not to work.
How to Fix A Broken Mouse Wheel
You will need some basic tools and knowledge about how to fix a broken mouse wheel. You will also need to know the positions of the screws that hold the case together before you disassemble it.
As a caution, confirm that your actions won’t lead to warranty issues down the road.
Step 1: Disassembly
Only a small portion of the wheel is exposed outside the mouse, so the first step when fixing the mouse wheel is to disassemble the mouse. This gives you access to the entire component and will let you identify the issue much easier.
Before disassembling the mouse, make sure it is not connected to any device. For a wireless mouse, ensure it is turned off, and if possible, also remove the batteries.
Turn it over so that it’s upside-down and undo the screws of the bottom cover. Having a schematic of the mouse that shows the locations of all available screws will be very helpful.
After all, screws are removed, carefully pry the tool open via the seams. Make sure not to use too much force so that you don’t end up causing some damage. The components inside are very delicate.
Step 2: Isolate the Wheel
If possible, try and separate the mouse wheel from the rest of the PCB inside the mouse. Ensure you don’t tamper with wires if any, and if the wheel’s housing and the board are not separable, you can avoid tampering with them.
It will, however, be possible to remove the wheel from its housing. Firmly hold the scroll wheel assembly and pull up on it. This will dislodge the wheel, letting you clean it out separately.
Step 3: Clean the Wheel
You can use a dry piece of cloth to give the mouse wheel a thorough wipe down, cleaning off all the accumulated dirt on its surface.
You should also clean out the assembly just incase any dirt is still lodged in there. Alternatively, a can of compressed air can also be used to blow away the dirt and debris from the mouse.
Once clean, you can reassemble the mouse and see if it’s now working normally.
If it Doesn’t Work After Cleaning, Time to Troubleshoot
If the cause of your non-functional mouse wheel was not dirt or debris, you will still not be able to scroll on your computer even after cleaning it up.
While the mouse is disassembled, it is important to inspect it too, and see if there are any noticeable issues with the wheel’s position or connection.
If something is obstructing the wheel, it needs to be removed. At the same time, if the wheel’s assembly and the board are not firmly connected, the fix will be different.
If on testing you find that the connection between the mouse wheel and the device’s circuit board has been compromised, you may need to fix it. The connection can be made with the help of a soldering iron, some solder wire, and some skill.
You’ll need to ensure the correct terminals are soldered to avoid ay short circuits. Once done, test to see that all the parts which need to be connected are well done. A continuity test can help determine this.
There’s a wide variety of mice available. Some may come with very specific drivers that may not be correctly installed on your system, thus making the device not function correctly. This is how to fix a broken mouse wheel if the issue is the software.
First, you’ll need to install or reinstall the drivers. These should be the correct ones, preferably from the device manufacturer’s website.
You can also use the “Update Driver Software” option on Windows for your mouse to accomplish this.
Replace the Wheel
If the electrical issues have been resolved, the wheel is clean, the software drivers are correctly installed and configured, but the mouse wheel still doesn’t work, you may need to get it replaced.
You can take a wheel from an old compatible mouse, or buy one online. They are cheap to purchase and when installed correctly, you will have your mouse back in ship shape.
Hopefully, this clears up some things about how to fix a broken mouse wheel. A broken wheel will not work correctly, and it can be caused by several issues.
Among the causes are physical issues, electrical issues as well as software issues. The wheel can be physically broken or dislocated, causing it not to work. Having dirt and buildup in its mechanism can also have this effect.
Bad drivers can also cause the wheel to not work properly, and it’s also likely that bad settings configurations are what broke your mouse wheel, causing it not to work as expected.