You put your game disc into your XBox 360 unit. The game won't play. Now what do you do? Pay $100 or more for an official repair group to handle it? Here's what we did.
I'll first note that we have an Original XBox 360 unit, from when it very first released. That was back in November 2005. The unit got intensive amounts of use, since we are gamer reviewers, so it's impressive that it only started to have real issues in January 2013. We would put the game disc in, and the console wouldn't be able to play it. We did the normal disc cleaning activities, making sure the disc itself was completely free of any fingerprints. No luck.
Get a DVD Cleaner
Just about every electronics store sells DVD shaped cleaners that you put into your DVD unit to clean its lens and insides. The DVD player can get full of dust and crud, and the lens it uses to read the disc can get contaminated. Your first step should always be to clean the DVD player that way.
Open Up the Case
You start voiding your warranty here, but if your XBox 360 is old it's probably not something you have to worry about. Pop open the XBox 360 case. Is it full of dust? That's probably not good. Blow that dust out. I definitely recommend you keep your XBox 360 up on a shelf so it's not down at dust level. The cleaner the system is, the longer it'll stay operational.
Open Up the DVD Drive
If things are still not quite working properly, it's time to get into the innards. Open up the drive itself. It could be there are dust bunnies and such within it. That's what happened with us. We opened up the entire drive and cleaned it out. Then we carefully reassembled everything in reverse order. There are plenty of videos on YouTube which show step by step instructions. Just go carefully and keep track of everything you remove.
When we finished with the reassembly process, everything was working perfectly again! We haven't had any problems at all. So it's well worth investing the time.
Still, the best solution is not to get dust in there in the first place. Get a shelf system. Put the xbox on top. Vacuum regularly :). That'll keep your system playing for decades!