How to Fix XBox - What To Do When You Get the 3 Red Lights Error

If you're looking for answers on how to fix your XBox, I'm going to assume that you're talking about the XBox 360. It's a great console, but one with a few well known problems bound to drive you crazy.

Ever since the XBox 360 console was released in 2005, it has been plagued with reliability issues -- most of them stemming from a general failure known to gamers as the "Red Ring of Death".

The Red Ring of Death is also known as the 3 Red Lights error. If you take a look at the photo below, you'll notice that three of the four small led lights around the console's power button are lit up.

Red Ring of Death
Red Ring of Death

This is something you never want to see, but sadly it is all too likely - especially in earlier generation XBox 360 consoles. Some of these issues are supposed to have been resolved with more recent manufacture dates, but I don't think the problem has gone away entirely.

Because the general hardware failure is basically caused by poor design and shoddy manufacture, Microsoft has taken some small amount of responsibility for the problem and extended XBox 360 warranties from 1 year to three years. However, this only covers hardware faults such as this one. If you have some other issue with your XBox, the one year warranty stands.

Fix it Yourself or Send it Back?

If you've heard that Microsoft is taking ages to repair XBox consoles, you may be considering opening it up and just taking care of the problem yourself. If you're still within the warranty period, doing this will VOID your warranty.

My understanding is that Microsoft has gotten much more efficient at fixing these problems and returning the consoles to their owners, so I think the best way to get your XBox 360 fixed is to simply send it back.

Call them at 1-800-4MY-XBOX and they'll tell you what you need to do.

Now if you have one of these extended warranties you get from places like Best Buy or Gamestop, that's a no brainer. Let them give you a new one!

On the other hand, if you are already out of warranty or you just don't care or you already voided your warranty by opening the case for some other reason, you can fix the problem causing the 3 red lights error yourself if you're handy.


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Comments 3 comments

RobertPalmer profile image

RobertPalmer 7 years ago from Ellsworth, Maine

I had the Red Ring of Death Twice. The first time, I had my box for a year. I got the rings. Sent it back. It took Microsoft over a month just to ship me a refurbished box. Less than 30 days after I got the refurbished box, I got the red ring again. I sent that box back and within a week and a half Microsoft had sent me a brand new box (manufactured within a month of the date I sent the second box in for repair.)

So far, I've not had any problems with this box (knock on wood.)

The worst part of the whole ordeal was dealing with the darned automated customer service drone "Max" -- think Keanu Reeves in Point Break -- though I hear they've since gotten rid of him.


Tigermadstanley profile image

Tigermadstanley 7 years ago from Canterbury, Kent, UK

Wish I'd seen this hub before my son dismantled the Xbox!


mtsi1098 7 years ago

we have repaired this problem also by the technique you described...we patched the same problem on a different xbox 360 by adding a cooler

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