How to Save a Cracked VHS Movie.




Hello there, I am rather mechanically inclined artist that loves making old things live again. I...

Hello and welcome to my latest Instructable.

In the renaissance that VHS tapes are having at the moment. Be it up-cycle or re-purpose or people just wanting to watch them. Let me start off by saying this Instructable of for the later. How to fix salvage that prized family video or rare VHS movie if the case gets cracked.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional and I am not responsible for any damaged movies or VCR's that may come from any mistakes made. This has worked for me many times I have even fixed magnetic tapes that snapped entirely*maybe a future Instructable*. I mean come now we are way passed voiding the warrant on VHS and most VHS players.

That said lets get to it.

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Step 1: Oh the Analog Horror.

So you go to take out your favorite video, or your spouses in my case and someone has dropped it and cracked it. Little plastic pieces everywhere, lets face it this is not going in your VCR anymore. Most would be inclined to throw it away. Though what of your parents childhood is on them or your first baby steps....or a really campy movie that will probably never make it to Blu-Ray conversion. You can buy kits that will let you convert them but you can not if the master copy is broken.

Next is how you can fix it.

Step 2: What You Will Need

  • A broken VHS
  • a sacrificial intact VHS
  • screwdriver

You can find VHS at most thrift stores for less than a dollar or failing that amazon. Normally no more than a few dollars (with shipping) on amazon especially on videos that over-saturated the market. I just happen to have a blank one that came with it's own blank labels.

Step 3: Remove the Screws on Both

Remove the five screws holding the cassette together then while holding it together flip it to the top, press the side button and then remove the top half. Look at the order the tape is in as you will need it to match when you transfer it.

Step 4: Removing the Tape

There are all sorts of small items in here to lose,above is a side by side comparison of all the stuff that can fall out if you open these with the screw side up. Now, press these arms up and remove the tape spools of the new one and set it aside.Now take out the spool you wish to save and put it in its place. Gently sliding the tape between the rollers seen above. Then take the slack out of the tape by winding the left one tighter if needed.

Step 5: Replace the Cassette Top.

Time to put the the newly functional tape back together. Take the top, kick up the hing again.Lower it back on and flip it down the protective arm. Hold it together tightly turn it over and replace the five screws.

Step 6: Done: Enjoy Your Video

Try it out. Pop it in your VCR and press play.

The video I just repaired is seen playing above.

I hope this helps someone out. Thank you for reading!

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    7 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Why dont you get them converted to DVD and throw them away?

    2 replies

    Reply 7 months ago

    Don't throw it away. You might need it to transfer it AGAIN in the future. DVD can degrade in less than 5 years if it's a bad disk. I'd advise a hard drive and cloud back up too.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you for looking and commenting!

    To answer your question. I do not know if you have tried converting VHS to DVD or even digital , I have done both. I can verify, You can not convert a VHS if it will not play, try putting one like the above it in the player and risk ruining both entirely.

    Granted I would not be shocked if there is a way to by pass all that by now. I just have yet to come across it. Would be cool though.


    7 months ago

    Great idea! You need to be able to play it before you can do anything with it. Also if you do transfer it you should probly still keep the tape in case you need to transfer it again in the future. Redundancy is underrated sometimes.


    1 year ago

    That's what I thought you were going to do. I've done some VHS tape surgery back in the day myself.


    1 year ago

    Search the net for images and reprint the label with a color printer.
    That's a finishing touch I think.
    Thanks for producing this 'ible!

    1 reply

    Reply 1 year ago

    That sounds like a perfect addition to this. People could also get fancy with the label art and make it their own.