I have two original Nintendo 64 controllers. A year or so ago, I finally opened them up and replaced the old, worn-out analogue sticks with new ones.

They work and I can play games, but it "squeaks" in a very annoying way, and I get a strong feeling that I'm not exactly getting the "full advantage" of the analogue stick.

Now I want to lube it. But of course I stupidly did research before doing it, which always causes me to not go through with things which I would have done if it were just up to my own judgement. All the horror stories I read made me NOT want to do this without first asking some experts. So I'm doing so now.

The only oil I have in the house is a small bottle called "Lubricating Oil" which came with my Remington hair cutter. It has no list of ingredients, but simply states: "Contains petroleum distillates".

I do not have any plans on opening up the controllers ever again, because of various nasty issues which make me think they would be permanently damaged if I unscrewed them again. My plan is to drop one or a couple of drops of the "lubricating oil" right down the stick's base, and then use my finger to make the stick go around and to make it all lubed.

But people online seem to talk about how various oils can get clogged into cogs inside which requires opening it up to fix, or they don't even talk about doing it this way at all, instead assuming that you are going to open it up before applying the oil.

Is there any danger/downside in using this kind of oil? Possible future issues? If I don't do this, I will have a non-lubed stick and it will drive me nuts. But if it damages the controller(s), I will feel so bad and stupid.

And if this oil is not good enough, is there something which is guaranteed to work (and doesn't require opening the controller up)?

Naturally, I would vastly prefer to be able to use my existing oil and not have to order and wait for some specialized product from half across the world.

  • 4
    Well, you are now lubricating new parts, not retro parts. The oil seems to be thin liquid and good for metal parts. A drop or two seems extremely excesive, it will flow everywhere in the part and out to the PCB. Usually plastic parts are lubricated with more greasy substance that won't flow. What if you just wipe it with a cotton swab that is just gently moist with silicone grease, so it does not flow anywhere?
    – Justme
    Dec 27, 2022 at 9:33
  • @Justme Sounds better, but "silicone grease" is not something I have at home or frankly have ever heard of!
    – Ladelf
    Dec 27, 2022 at 9:44
  • Many people just don't know the technical terms of chemicals they use daily. Silicone grease spray is what is commonly used on car door seals.
    – Justme
    Dec 27, 2022 at 11:15
  • @Justme I managed to find a local way to get a small tube of silicone grease, so I'm going to order it and (unless somebody says it's the worst thing I could ever do) apply it on my controllers when it arrives. Thanks for the (hopefully!) great advice!
    – Ladelf
    Dec 27, 2022 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


The oil you have (likely sewing machine or 3-in-1 oil) won’t do any harm to the controller but will tend to cause dust and fluff to accumulate, where it would otherwise not stick to the surfaces. There’s really no way around that apart from using the minimum amount of lubricant and making sure it’s applied only where it’s needed. A more viscous lubricant (silicone grease, petroleum jelly etc) would be easier to clean up and more likely to stay where it’s needed. I’d suggest that a good long-term strategy would be to keep your controller as dust-free as possible, eg store it in a cupboard rather than on a shelf.

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