How to Remove Cassette Tapes From Car Stereos

Updated February 21, 2017

A stuck cassette in a car stereo can be extremely frustrating, especially if it's your kids' sing-a-long nursery rhymes tape and you are desperate to hear something more adult. There are several ways of removing tapes if the eject button won't work. Depending on the condition of the tape within the machine, and using a few common household tools, you should be listening to your favourite music in no time.

Press the eject button. This might sound obvious, but sometimes the mechanism needs a few pushes to eject the tape. Try pressing the button (or buttons on some models) rapidly a few times. Sometimes the build-up of tension in the mechanism can pop the tape right out.

Use a flathead screwdriver to work the tape loose. Make sure the car ignition is turned off first and try to position the screwdriver beneath the cassette and lift up. Sometimes cassettes can become caught on the winders that turn the tape. Try combining a lift of the screwdriver with a push of the eject button.

Insert the needle-nose pliers and grip the edge of the tape. Try pulling the tape out by gripping the cassette and lifting then pulling on the pliers. Press the eject button a few times for good measure while pulling on the tape with the pliers.

Check your car owner's manual for instructions how to remove the tape deck from the dashboard. Unplug the leads at the back of the stereo and use the Philips screwdriver to remove the top of the stereo. Use the pliers to pull the tape out. If the magnetic tape within the cassette has unwound and tangled inside the machine, try untangling it with the pliers, if not, cut it away with a pair of scissors before pulling the tape out with the pliers.

Make sure no debris is left inside the stereo and screw the top back on. Re-insert the wires into the back of the stereo and push it back into the dashboard. Turn on the stereo and test-play a new tape.


When taking off the top of the stereo, be careful not to damage other internal components while trying to remove the cassette.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Screwdrivers (flathead and Phillips)
  • Scissors (if necessary)
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