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How to correct wrinkled VHS tapes

Updated April 17, 2017

Ironing out the wrinkle in a VHS tape takes patience and a lot of care. Unlike a wrinkled audio cassette tape, which is thinner and can be manually rewound with a pencil or a finger, a wrinkled VHS tape is more difficult to straighten. If a tape hasn't been played for some time, then problems can occur with wrinkles. If the wrinkle is not corrected, then the tape will become unplayable and will get jammed in the videotape recorder. Eventually the tape may snap in two.

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  1. Press the "Eject" button on your videotape recorder. Carefully remove your VHS tape.

  2. Flip the VHS tape over on a flat surface. Use a screwdriver to remove the back part of the tape. Be careful that the parts of the VHS tape, including rollers and springs, do not fall out.

  3. Turn the VHS tape back over again, after you have removed all the screws. You will now be able to determine where the wrinkle begins on the tape. Next, turn the VHS tape around.

  4. Move the tape manually by moving either tape spool. If the wrinkle is in the right tape spool, then move the left spool in an counterclockwise direction until the source of the wrinkle is discovered. If the wrinkle is on the tape in the left spool then move the right tape spool in a clockwise direction. If the wrinkle is in the middle of the tape between the rollers, then move either tape spool until you have found where the wrinkle begins from.

  5. Use your fingers to touch only the edges of the tape and manually straighten the VHS tape out. Next, manually turn the tape spool to check that this has been done correctly and that no wrinkle is visible.

  6. Connect the VHS tape together again with the screwdriver. Put it back into the videotape recorder. Play the tape for a few seconds and rewind and fast forward over the area where the wrinkle was. These final three steps will prove whether the VHS tape is functioning correctly.

  7. Tip

    If a VHS tape has only a small wrinkle, then it will still need some attention, as it will get worse over time.


    If a VHS tape is jammed in a videotape recorder, never stick anything into the machine when trying to remove a damaged tape.

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Things You'll Need

  • VHS tape
  • Videotape recorder

About the Author

Paul Rance

Paul Rance began writing in 1979 for small-press publications and was a columnist for the British small-press publication "Rattler's Tale." He has had articles and reviews published on many subjects, especially relating to music, cinema, TV, literature and poetry. He was educated to A Level standard at Rapid Results College in London.

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