How can I get a stuck tape out of my car stereo?

I have a car stereo with a built-in tape deck, and there’s also a factory CD player which is a separate unit down below. I use the tape deck for audiobooks from the library, and also I can put an Ipod adapter in it. I recently got a tape stuck in it; it wouldn’t play properly and then it wouldn’t eject. I’m wondering how I can get it out without paying as much as it costs for a whole new stereo to be installed.

I’ve called car-stereo places and they say they can’t help. One guy said that even removing the head unit wouldn’t make it easier to get it out, in comparison to just trying to yank the tape out from where it is now. I called one garage and they said they don’t do stereos.

Is there anything that can be done? I really don’t want to pay for a new stereo, and they mostly don’t make tape units anymore, so I’d end up with only CD. (and hopefully an aux input for Ipods etc.)

I have been able to jimmy them out with a butter knife. Slide it around on the bottom around the edges, then, well for lack of a better word… jimmy on it. It will pop out eventually.

Yes, I use a flat head screwdriver myself. If you can even see the edge of the tape, you have some leverage to work with. See if you can gently press the screwdriver against it and push upwards. Not too hard, or you’ll break something.

That to me signifies the end of the tape, btw.

Once I got a tape out using a tweezer. I don’t know if that will work for you but good luck.

This is the Universe’s way of telling you to give up on tapes.

I can’t really spare money to buy a new stereo now. I already have a CD player, and the tape deck lets me plug my Ipod in with a tape adapter. Also, tapes work better for audiobooks in the car, because you can toss them in the passenger seat while the car is moving, instead of having to stop and gingerly place a CD in its case.

Anyway, can I just pry the tape out, or is there something in there that locks the tape in? Do I have to push the eject button at the same time?

The tape may have unraveled and caught on the heads, causing it to be stuck. That’s what happened to me. I just pulled it out and threw it away.

No, it’s the universes way of telling him that the 1980’s are over and done with.

Would the universe like to help him pay for it? :slight_smile:

I too still have a tape deck in my car - a 2001 Toyota Corolla. Granted, I use a tape conversion for my iPod, but no way am I switching the stereo out with a new one.

Yeah, I still have a tape deck, too. Shut up. They’re cool and you know it!
P.S. The Universe can kiss my ass.

This specific part of the universe politely declines.

Just yesterday, I realized that I just have to give up on audiobook CDs. I get them from the library, and they are almost invariably scratched. Nothing pisses me off like listening to part of a story and then* trying* to listen to a story and finally realizing I’m not going to get to hear any fucking more of it. At least when tapes screw up, there’s a chance you can fix them.
Now I’m pissed because most newer stuff isn’t offered on cassette. I guess if I want something new, I’d better be first in line for it.

My car (a 2007!) came with a cassette deck, and I use it all the time, mainly for audiobooks.

I concur with the advice to try to maneuver the tape out with the help of a screwdriver or knife. The tape itself is probably a lost cause, and if I were in your place, if/when I did get it out, I’d look around in there with a flashlight to make sure no bits of tape were still curled around the rollers, then try the player out on a not-too-valuable cassette.

If you can’t get it out, as a last resort you could look on e-bay for a replacement cassette deck.

Many librarys subscribe to a downloadable audiobook program. My NH library is part of the system. Download to an MP3 player, and off you go. No skips.

The system does have a limited number of titles that are playable on an iPod, but there are plenty of generic type players that handle mp3, WMA, and the like, and are compatable with the digital rights management system in use by Overdrive. I use the Sansa clip. The site has a large number of compatable devices listed on their site.

I used to get stuck tapes out of my car tape deck with a bent paper clip. Just take a sturdy big paper clip, and fold it so that you have a t-grip at one end, and about a 1/3 inch or so in an L-shape at the other end. Insert the l-shape end into the tape deck so that the L is flat, then move it towards the middle of the tape where the hole should be, then turn it so that the L-shape hooks into the hole. One good tug and the tape should come right out.

“toy geek”

The car audio shops won’t help you with a tape deck as there’s not enough money these days in repairs for these items. Fortunately a stuck cassette in a player is definitely fixable, though the tape itself may be trashed.

If the levering-upwards-with-a-screwdriver doesn’t work (try this while jabbing the eject button at the same time), then you’ll need to remove the unit from the dashboard (ignore that one mechanic, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about).

Once the unit is out, take off the top cover and you should have clear access to the cassette loading platform. This takes the form of a pressed metal cradle that holds the cassette, and this moves in and down when the cassette is loaded. There’s quite a sharp knee in the drop-down characteristic as the cassette has to drop straight down over the take-up and supply sprockets (for the tape spools) and the capstan (which drives the tape). This sharp knee in the drop-down is crucial so these bits don’t collide at an angle with the cassette, but it does make it harder to eject a tape when something has gone a bit wrong.

There are two internal levers you need to prod: First off the auto-stop lever, which has a plastic end that rubs against the tape, pushing it in slightly. When the tape reaches the end the tension goes up, and this operates the auto-stop. Push this gently away from the cassette.

Next you’ll need to operate the eject mechanism. Untangle the tape as best you can (it’ll probably be wound around the capstan and pinch roller), and then follow the linkage from the external eject button and start wiggling and prodding things gently. There will be a magic spot that pops the cradle and cassette back up.

While you’re in there, take the opportunity to clean the tape head, capstan and pinch roller with alcohol and cotton buds. Don’t wave any steel items (e.g. screwdriver) near the cassette head or it will become slightly magnetised, which you don’t want.

This is all eminently do-able, and once you’ve finished your machine will work better than ever. It’s not as daunting as it sounds - here are some pics that will help.

I dream of having a tape deck for just that reason. I bought the Toyota Matrix in exactly the wrong epoch for built-in stereos. I have a 6 CD changer that I never use (Wow, 6 CDs are so attractive since mp3 players came out!!), but the Matrix was marketed to a younger market, and so the tape deck was skipped. I have to use a radio transmitter for the iPod, and switch around when I leave the area.

This is what’s going to force me to catch up with modern technology. :smack:

Nice answer,** Fridgemagnet**!

I also want to point out that, in most cases, a scratched disk is nowhere near unrepairable. It just needs the reading side to be ground and polished to be clear again. The data is recorded fairly close to the label side.

I’ve often wondered why libraries and rental stores can’t use the backup copy clause that was all the rage when floppies were mainstream. You made a backup copy of the floppy, stored the original in a safe place, and used the copy until it wore out. Then you’d make a new copy.

I’m not usually that bad with CDs, but I’ll do it when loaning them out to certain friends. Or, at least I did before everyone used MP3 players instead.

Cassette tape will not eject from car stereo. I read many posts but they do not apply here because the tape has to come up first and then eject. By me it does not come up.