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Solved Windows 95 CD-ROM drive problem

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I have a Windows 95 computer that I still use to play old games. It’s an IBM Aptiva 2162-S3C. It’s one of those with that media console that has the CD-ROM and floppy drive separate from the tower.

The problem I’m having is that the CD drive is only sporadically reading CDs now. It shows up in device manager as working properly. But when I put a CD in, it spins the CD for like 3 seconds, then just stops/”gives up”. And then I have to eject and re-insert the disc usually 20 times or more before it’ll finally read the CD properly.

Did some previous Googling on this. People suggested the laser lens might be dirty. I tried multiple brands of CD laser lens cleaning discs (the ones with the little brushes on the underside of the disc). I don’t think that solved the problem…the drive wouldn’t even read the CD cleaning disc! (It finally read it after 23-something retries.) The drive still had problems reading CDs after putting the CD cleaning CD in it.

I’m now faced with the possibility that I simply have a failed CD-ROM drive. Does anyone have any other suggestions?