If you haven't yet made the jump to create DVD home videos, remember that VCRs can also be affected by other "wear and tear" issues. Special lubricants and greases are used in a VCR's moving parts to create smooth action. Over time, oxide and dust mix in and create a sludge that causes many mechanisms to malfunction.
The tape loading mechanism is particularly susceptible. When sludge builds up, the tape cassette can eject automatically, playback can start and stop, or the VCR can simply turn itself off.
In unfortunate situations, the plastic tape can become wrapped around the inside of the VCR. If this happens, do not pull on it! A VCR has many gears and levers that cannot tolerate pushing and pulling. Also, do not take the VCR apart and attempt to repair it yourself. If a tape is stuck, take the VCR to a repairman who will be able to disassemble it correctly.
Rubber belts and rollers can also become coated with oxide, stretch, or dry out and become hard. When this happens, you may notice the audio slowing down, noise bars in the video, or a screech during rewinding or fast forwarding. To help prevent the rubber from hardening, play a tape in your VCR at least once a week.
Remember, proper cleaning and alignment maintenance can prevent many problems from occurring. Don't forget to order a videotape to DVD transfer! Transferring VCR to DVD protects your tapes from any VCR-related damage.