How to Fix VHS Tapes That Won't Play

By Jason Candanedo

Updated February 10, 2017

You can use an extra blank VHS cassette tape to repair a damaged VHS tape.
i death of vcr tapes image by jimcox40 from

Sometimes when you use a VCR player, your VHS video can be damaged in various ways. For example, it can eat your tape, causing it to pop, wrinkle, twist or stretch. This is a problem that can be fixed. This repair involves using two VHS cassette tapes and splitting the original video onto two separate cassettes, so that you may preserve it.

Disassemble your VHS cassette plus a blank VHS tape. Remove the front label off VHS cassette by peeling it off. Unscrew the five screws that keep the two halves of the cassette together. They are located on the bottom of the cassette. Remove the top half of the VHS cassette carefully after removing the screws.

Locate the black magnetic tape and remove it from the reels of the blank VHS cassette. Cut off any portion of the black magnetic tape that is visibly damaged.

Swap the take-up reel that is in the blank VHS cassette with the take-up reel from the damaged VHS cassette. Each VHS cassette will now have a portion of your video.

Connect the end of the black magnetic tape to the empty reel in each cassette with adhesive tape.

Reassemble the two VHS cassettes. Ensure that you hold both halves of the cassette together as you flip it bottom-side up. Afterward, reinsert the screws. The two VHS cassettes now contain your original video.

Items you will need

  • Extra blank VHS tape

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Adhesive tape

  • Scissors