How to Replace a Radio Antenna on a Car

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How to Replace a Radio Antenna

Whether your radio antenna was damaged in an accident or you are receiving constant interference, it may be time to replace this essential, yet often overlooked car component. A functioning radio antenna maximises the reception quality and provides greater music variety.



The placement of a car radio antenna, or a car radio aerial, differs between vehicle makes and models. Generally speaking, you should place the new antenna in the same location as the old one. Those deciding on a new location should choose a metal portion of the car exterior, preferably on the roof near the front or back windows. Keep in mind that you should choose a spot as far away from the engine as possible, as its electrical discharge can cause interference. Be sure to take into account roof racks or other car accessories that may obstruct your car roof aerial.


Remove the Original Radio Antenna

Loosen and remove the original retaining nut on the base of the antenna mast, which houses the antenna. This is best accomplished with a spanner or needle-nose pliers. After its removal, get access to the underside of the area where the antenna is located and pull out the antenna coaxial cable, or the thick wire that connects the antenna to the interior. Next, unplug the coaxial cable from the extension coaxial cable.If there is only a small gap between the antenna mount and the radio, there may not be an extension coaxial cable; if so, simply unplug the coaxial from the antenna lead in the back of the radio. Finally, noting the route the cable follows, remove the original antenna coaxial cable.


Install the New Radio Antenna

It is important to follow manufacturer instructions when installing the new car antenna. Prior to installation, inspect the area for signs of rust. Clean off any dirt or grit with water and a sponge. Allow the area to thoroughly dry, and then plug the new antenna coaxial cable into the extension coaxial cable; otherwise, simply plug the antenna's coaxial cable into the antenna lead from the radio. Next, direct the new cable through the same route. Insert the mast into the hole from above and screw it into the coaxial cable. Lastly, replace both the retainer nut at the base of the antenna mast and the panel that covers the antenna mount area to finish installing the new radio aerial.

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