Video Cassette Won't Move Forward or Backward

By Mary McNally ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • VCR head cleaner
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • Tweezers
  • Knife
Video cassettes can have a number of problems.

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.

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.

Tip

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.

About the Author

Mary McNally has been writing and editing for over 13 years, including publications at Cornell University Press, Larson Publications and College Athletic Magazines. McNally also wrote and edited career and computer materials for Stanford University and Ithaca College. She holds a master's degree in career development from John F. Kennedy University and a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in counseling.