The disc drive in my laptop (a Dell Inspiron 17R, about 1.5 years old) won't read DVDs anymore. The drive spins up several times as if attempting to read it but gives up about 2 seconds later every time. It does so about 5 times and then just stops spinning the disc. It doesn't eject the disc then, but if I click the disc drive icon in the explorer, it tells me that no disc is inserted and then opens the drive.
It used to play CDs and DVDs with no problem. I'm using Windows 8.1. I tried updating the driver for the disc drive by letting the device manager search the internet, but it says I already have the latest driver installed. It also shows that the drive apparently works perfectly, although it obviously doesn't.
The drive can still open CDs, but I tried three different DVDs and it could read none of them. They can be read by other devices though, so they're not the problem.
The name of the drive in the device manager is HL-DT-ST DVD+-RW GU70N.
I found this question that sounds similar, but the OP sent the laptop back to have the drive replaced as a solution. I'm looking for the reason of the problem and what I could do myself instead of using my warranty (if I even still have it).
What could be the problem and what could I do?