Why Is My Vinyl Record Skipping & How To Fix It

Why Is My Vinyl Record Skipping & How To Fix It

Craig Walker |

Vinyl records, cherished for their warm sound and nostalgic charm, can occasionally present challenges, with skipping being a common concern.

Understanding the reasons behind this issue and implementing effective solutions is crucial for preserving the enjoyment of your vinyl collection.

In this guide, we'll explore the common causes of vinyl skipping and provide practical solutions to get your turntable back on track.

6 Causes of Vinyl Record Skipping

Man Cleaning Vinyl Records

1. Dirty Records

Let's start with the basics.

Scratches and dust are the common culprits behind a skipping vinyl record. Even the tiniest scratch can cause your record to skip, and dust can interfere with the needle's ability to read the grooves properly.

So, before you do anything else, give your record a good clean and inspect it for any visible damage.

It's also worth noting that not all scratches will cause skipping. Some might just result in a bit of extra noise.

So, if your record is skipping and you can't see any scratches, don't assume it's not the problem. It could be a very small scratch that you're not seeing, or it could be dust that's causing the issue.

  • Issue: Dust, dirt, or debris on the record's surface can interfere with the needle's path, causing skips.
  • Solution: Regularly clean your records using an anti-static brush or a record cleaning kit to remove contaminants.

Man Cleaning Record Player Stylus

2. Worn or Dirty Needle

Another common cause of vinyl records skipping is the stylus.

It's worth checking the condition of your stylus (the part of the needle that actually touches the record) and ensuring that it is regularly, and properly, cleaned.

If it's worn or damaged, it can cause the record to skip or even for the tonearm to slide across the record. At this point your only option is to replace the stylus for a new one.

Your stylus does need regular maintenance, cleaning and will need replacing after a number of hours.

  • Issue: A worn or dirty needle may not properly track the grooves, leading to skipping.
  • Solution: Clean the stylus using a soft brush or a stylus cleaning solution. If the needle is excessively worn, consider replacing it.

Read More: How To Clean A Turntable Stylus

Man Adjusting Counterweight Of Record Player

3. Tracking Force Issues

Another common cause of skipping is improper needle weight. If the needle is too light, it might not stay in the grooves properly, causing it to skip.

On the other hand, if it's too heavy, it can cause unnecessary wear and tear on your records, which can also lead to skipping over time.

The correct weight will depend on your specific turntable and needle, so it's worth checking the manufacturer's recommendations.

If you're not sure, a good rule of thumb is to start with a weight of 1.5 grams and adjust from there.

  • Issue: Incorrect tracking force (the downward pressure of the stylus on the record) can cause skipping.
  • Solution: Check your turntable's manual for the recommended tracking force and adjust it accordingly using the tonearm's counterweight.

What Is Anti-Skate On My Turntable & How Does It Work?

4. Anti-Skate Setting

When the stylus moves along the record's groove, it experiences a force known as 'skating force'. This force tends to pull the stylus towards the centre of the record.

The anti-skate mechanism counteracts this force, keeping the stylus centred in the groove. 

If it's not setup correctly then it can cause your record player to skip.

  • Issue: Incorrect anti-skate settings can lead to tracking issues and cause the needle to skip.
  • Solution: Adjust the anti-skate setting on your turntable to match the recommended value, preventing lateral movement of the stylus.

Read More: What Is Anti-Skate On My Turntable & How Does It Work?

5. Uneven Surface

Record players are prone to vibrations and need to be placed on a sturdy, level surface.

If you have a floating floor you may find that walking around can cause the record to skip through vibrations so be careful when dancing around!

Likewise if you have a subwoofer or bass-heavy speakers close by you may find they can cause the record to skip.

  • Issue: An uneven or unstable surface can disrupt the turntable's operation and lead to skips.
  • Solution: Place your turntable on a stable surface, free from vibrations. Ensure that the turntable is level and that the record is sitting flat on the platter.

Record Weight For Warped Speakers

6. Warped Records

  • Issue: Warped records can cause the needle to jump out of the groove, resulting in skipping.
  • Solution: Use a record weight for minor warps. For severely warped records, professional restoration or replacement may be necessary.

Preventing Future Skipping

Man Picking A Vinyl Record Out From Record Storage Crate

Proper Record Storage

Once you've fixed your skipping problem, you'll want to prevent it from happening again in the future.

One of the best ways to do this is by storing your records properly.

Records should be stored vertically, not horizontally, to prevent warping. They should also be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

It's also a good idea to keep your records in their sleeves when not in use to protect them from dust and scratches.

And if you're a serious vinyl collector, you might want to consider investing in some plastic outer sleeves for extra protection.

Read More: How To Store Vinyl Records

Clean Your Vinyl Records

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is also important for preventing skipping.

Even if your records don't look dirty, they can still accumulate dust and grime over time.

So, make it a habit to clean your records before and after each play.

And don't forget to clean your stylus regularly too.

A dirty stylus can not only cause skipping, but it can also damage your records. So, make sure to give it a gentle clean with a stylus brush or cleaning solution every now and then.

Read More: How To Clean Vinyl Records

Man Holding Vinyl Record

Proper Handling

Finally, make sure to handle your records properly.

Always hold them by the edges or the label, never by the grooves.

And when placing the needle on the record, do it gently to avoid causing any scratches.

Read More: 5 Steps To Correctly Handle Vinyl Records


By following these tips, you should be able to keep your records in tip-top shape and prevent any future skipping.

So, go on, get that turntable spinning and enjoy the sweet sound of vinyl once again. Happy listening!