Car Cassette Deck Only Works Sometimes


Old 12-26-18, 11:35 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
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Car Cassette Deck Only Works Sometimes

My 1999 Toyota Corolla (that I recently got used) comes with a factory radio/cassette player.
The other day I used the cassette player for the first time and it worked well.
I was able to play as well as rewind.
Then when I rewound all the way back to the start after listenening to the whole tape, the tape stopped making noise when it plays. After repeatedly turning the cassette deck on and off and switching from radio back to tape, it started working again after one attempt (but not on previous attempts).
It worked for about a day and now after rewinding I have the same problem and I can't get it to work.

To be clear, it appears the mechanical components ARE turning the tape, I CAN rewind and fast forward, and the radio does play normally and at full volume I hear the speakers hum. It seems to be a problem with the signal from the tape going to the sound output.

Is there a connection that might be loose?
Any help is appreciated.
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Old 12-26-18, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: USA
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could try a cleaner tape but as outdated as cassette are and considering you can probably buy a decent cd stereo with tons of other features for not very much to replace it with not sure I would spend a lot of time on it.
Old 12-26-18, 12:06 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Unfortunately you can't see the actual tape movement when the cassette is in the player. It's more typical to have a mechanical problem rather then an electronic one. Slipping drive belt, worn idler or some other rubber part. If the tape is definitely moving and there is no audio..... there will be a stuck mute switch. Finding it and getting to it can be quite a challenge.
Old 12-26-18, 12:24 PM
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Have you tried another tape or turning that one over to play the other side.
You keep saying you rewind it all the way then it doesn't play. Could be a bad/erased place in the tape? Is it always in the same place? I mean, rewind & each time it doesn't work?

A cassette head cleaner might work, but I don't know if you'll find one in a store... maybe Amazon or somewhere.

Also, once you rewind it, it takes a minute or two for the tape to move around enough to get to where the audio starts.

Once you find it not working, have you tried ejecting the tape & re-inserting the tape? Maybe the heads are out of alignment a little bit.

I mean, these are just some thoughts without a lot of info. Just trying to throw out some ideas, not only for you but maybe some other members to help you.
Old 12-26-18, 02:45 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Just thinking back a couple of years, vinyls were never designed to bounce up and down the road and even 45's were too big to be practical anyway, so 8-tracks came along and for the most part were pretty clunky from the gitgo, and cassettes were better, but even so I was never impressed with their longevity, so then came CD's, and now we have Sirius and all of that. It's just dated technology that, in my opinion, was the best that we had at the time, but not up to today's standards. As already mentioned, I'd try a head cleaner, then look for something mechanical, but otherwise focus on keeping the rest of the vehicle in as good of shape as possible. Or get old like me and be content with a good local AM news radio station.
Old 12-27-18, 05:11 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
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Thanks for the responses.
I removed the cassette player and opened it up and couldn't figure out if anything was abnormal.
I plugged it back in and confirmed 100% that it was turning but no sound.

So I went to the scrapyard and got the exact same radio cassette player and it works perfect!

Problem solved by alternate means.
Old 12-27-18, 06:52 PM
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Glad it worked out for you! Thanks for letting us know.
Old 01-17-19, 07:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 3,223
Tape recorders and players do accumulate dust that can prevent proper mechanical operation. Dust can get into bearings causing sluggish movement including improper takeup spool rotation and, in turn, a rats nest of tangled tape.

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