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Video Cassette Won't Move Forward or Backward

Video cassettes can have a number of problems.
black video cassette image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from Fotolia.com

Video cassettes can break for a number of reasons. The tape can stretch as it gets older, causing it to break or jam in a VCR. Plastic parts of the video cassette case can crack, jam or break off. The videotape may simply not move forward or backward when placed in a VCR. There are a number of actions you can take to get your video cassette working again.

Things You'll Need:

  • Philips Head Screwdriver
  • Vcr Head Cleaner
  • Tweezers
  • Knife

Clean your VCR heads with a VCR cleaner tape to remove any debris from the VCR heads. Put the tape into the VCR and fast forward and then rewind it. Move on to Step 2 if the videotape will not move.

Press the white or black square on the side of the video cassette, and flip open the horizontal door. Trace the videotape over the tracking pins to ensure that it is threaded correctly. Fast forward or rewind the videotape in a VCR. Move on to Step 3 if the videotape will not move.

Trace the scoring in the middle of the video cassette's three sides with a knife. Use a Philips head screwdriver to unscrew the five screws holding the videocassette together.

Place the video cassette face up on a flat surface, and lift the top off. Remove any debris in the supply and take up reels with a pair of tweezers. Test the reels to ensure that they now move freely.

Reattach the videotape around the take up reel by threading the videotape through the take up reel slot. Wind the videotape around the take up reel a few times. Reattach the video cassette top with the five screws. Rewind and fast forward the videotape in a VCR.


You can put the videotape in a new cassette if the reels are permanently damaged. Remove the videotape from the reels slots, and slot the videotape end that matches the end of the recorded material into a take up reel on a new cassette. Wind the videotape around the take up reel by hand until you reach the end. Put the left end into the slot on the new supply reel, and wind the videotape around it. Attach the videotape cassette top.

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