I had a crazy day on Monday working through the Apple Care Support System. My Macbook has been intermittently burning CD's since about February - shortly after I upgraded to Leopard. I would try different CD's and different speeds and usually get something to burn. But it continued to get worse. It finally got to where it wouldn't even load blank CD's. What's crazy is that sometimes when you change the language in System Preferences, it would work another time or two. Go figure.
Finally after our E-Team trip I had a day or two to devote to fixing this issue so I called Apple Care. They were really friendly, but of course I had to walk through what seemed like 100 steps. First we did a reset. Then we did an update. Then the dreaded Archive and Install. Then an attempt at some hardware diagnostics. You know you should be nervous when the guy on the phone says hit D on bootup and you'll get diagnostics, and then after failing twice, he says that's normal.
They offered to let me mail in my laptop, but I wouldn't see it for 5-10 business days. Ouch. This almost made me want a Dell again. Then I inquired about some sort of local tech support. The nearest support was about 60 miles away, but they would probably be able to turn around the repair in 3 or 4 days. That did sound better, but I wanted to check one more time so I read some forums and then went to Walmart.
I bought a $9 CD lens cleaner, popped it into the macbook and then tried burning some CD's at full speed. So far I've burned 5 in a row without a hitch. I'm so glad it was this easy. Too bad I didn't figure it out before the Archive and Install.
So the next time your SuperDrive stops burning see about some lens cleaner. The 9 bucks is so worth the 4 hours you won't have to spend on the phone!