I bought and installed a well recommended ASUS DVD drive on a desktop about two months ago. I don’t think it’s been used more than ten times. Yet an istallation DVD errored out on it. I attached another quite new Lite-On drive via USB and had no problems. So I assumed the ASUS is bad. Is there any software I can run to verify it’s bad before it greets the garbage? I have another new, unopened Lite-On drive that I could use to create a test DVD on another unrelated desktop.
Is the DVD recognized normally (dmesg is your friend here)?
The installation DVD was burned in this same drive?
Did you try to read another DVD on it?
Also, if you try to burn a new one, do you get error messages?
On older drives is not uncommon that recording becomes flaky but not reading, they use different lasers. I believe that even DVD and CD writes use different lasers.
I’ve had a gazillion internal drives in the last decades, and I never had to clean the lenses. On external units they are more exposed, so it might be an issue, but I doubt that is your problem, and opening an internal drive for cleaning, although not too difficult, is not trivial either, so it’s something I’d keep as a last resort.