How to Repair a VCR Tape That Jerks & Skips When it Plays

By Greyson Ferguson

Although VCRs can be extremely helpful in recording content and playing back older videos, you may find, every once in a while, that the video playing on the TV screen seems to jerk and skip frames. This can be a sign of many different issues; however, most of these issues can be corrected without too much trouble and effort. Although you may be inclined to blame the tape, the problem may be due to the VCR.

Things You'll Need

  • VCR
  • Compressed air
  • VHS head cleaner

Step 1

Eject the tape that is currently in the VCR. Inspect the outside of the tape to see if there is any dust, dirt or hair stuck to it. The smallest amount of dust caught in a tape can cause issues with playback.

Step 2

Push down the small button on the side on the VHS tape. This allows you to lift up the flap protecting the tape. While the flap is up you need to inspect the magnetic tape. Make sure there is no debris on it. If there is, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe it off (do not use your fingers).

Step 3

Blow into the VCR. There may be dust stuck to the tape heads. You may even want to use a can of compressed air to shoot air into the player.

Step 4

Insert a VHS head cleaner tape into the VCR. Press the "Play" button. Depending on the tape, there may be an actual image and music on the screen. However, most are just going to circulate a cleaning tape around the tape heads with nothing playing on the screen.

Step 5

Place the tape back into the VCR. When you press "Play" you should find the jerks and skips have stopped.