Honestly, if it weren't working at all, I'd be worried enough to dive in, but as of now both my PSX (which I've had for many, many years) and my Dreamcast (which I've had for about four months) are struggling to read CD-R's...
I'll start with the PSX. To boot them, I have the sensor taped over with a push-pin holding it down, using an old Gameshark (that doesn't require you to open the tray, thankfully) as a boot disc. This worked for quite a while with some Memorex, some literally brand-less discs, and some HP. The issue started when I used a couple Sony discs... They are VERY poorly read. In fact, one of my games earlier surprised me by even booting, then, as I was coming to a save point, failed to load... I also had a few HP Printable discs that it failed to read...
Obviously it still works with originals as the Gameshark disc (which, I admit, has seen better days, and I am a bit worried about the life of...) boots instantly.
By contrast, the Dreamcast LOVES to read the HP Printable discs! No trouble, other than a few games chugging on along noisily. It's kinda cute, really. Again, the jump to the Sony discs show no work. The old HP still keep playing.
I bought another stack of Memorex Music CDs. I forgot that the last set I bought were the HP, or I would've picked those again, but damn my memory! Again, I'm having a few issues with getting them to work...
Now, I have a PS2. I keep the PSX around for backups, because I do have some games that I've seen go for sums of money, should I ever be desperate. (Amongst other reasons for keeping the copies around, like nostalgia.) Should the PSX die in glory, the only thing I'll lose is a childhood friend... So I wonder if turning the pots on the laser is worth it.
Same for the Dreamcast. Yes, at $25 (+$10 for the first VMU, then $12 for a second controller), it was a steal, and yes, it is somewhat replaceable, but... I've already grown accustomed to this one. (It came from a smoker's home, too!) I suppose, as a temporary fallback, there is always emulation... (Amen for the PSX but bleh...)
Finally, I'm not afraid I'll destroy the insides when I go to adjust, just more that the laser will die way before its time... Any suggestions would be greeted with a warm thank you and thoughtful consideration!