Replacing your damaged or broken antenna is not a difficult task, and anyone can do it by themselves. Most vehicles have an antenna placed on the windshield or the roof.
However, you will find new models with antennas built on its body. This is because most people still have cars with broken or damaged antennas due to accidents or recent visits to the car wash.
If this is a case for you and you wonder how to fix a car radio antenna, keep reading.
Generally, to fix the car radio antenna, you have to disconnect it from the stereo and check the wiring for any damages. If the connection wire is loose, you have to tighten the wire connection or replace the connector with the new one. Check all soldering points within the antenna and re-solder if required. In some cases, you have to replace the wire and connector with the new one.
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Tip: Fixing this might become a delicate process because the antenna can easily break if not handled well. But, having the right tools and technical know-how helps in a quick fix of it.
To set the radio antenna, you should first identify the issue, remove it, and fix it. If the problem persists, you should replace the antenna with the new one.
This article aims at helping you with tips on how to set up your broken or damaged antenna.
Causes of A Broken Radio Antenna
Radio antennas are important part of your car. They help you receive and transmit signals from the airwaves.
When they break, it can be very frustrating. If you don’t know how to fix this problem yourself, you should call a professional technician who knows what he is doing.
Here are some common causes for a broken radio antenna:
The connector that connects the wire to the antenna has been damaged or cut off.
This usually happens when someone tries to remove the antenna without disconnecting the cable first. You will need to replace the connector with one compatible with your car.
If the connection between the wire and the antenna is loose, there may not be enough tension on the wire.
The wire could also have become disconnected from the connector. To fix this, tighten the connection by pulling both ends of the wire together.
Poorly Made Connectors
If the connectors were poorly made, they might not fit properly.
On the other hand, the connectors also could have been misdesigned, and in this case, you will need to get new ones.
Sometimes poor installation can damage wires due to poor installation. Ensure that the wire is securely connected to the antenna before installing anything else.
Types of Radio Antenna
An antenna uses electromagnetic waves to receive and send signals to the car stereo. The majority of the external ones installed on the cars are either telescopic, and they can move in any direction to pick signals.
The common types of antennas include:
Internal antennas are installed inside your car’s trunk, windshield, or dashboard. Internal antennas are better protected against accidents and the weather.
However, their reception is not clear compared to satellite or external ones. Using an antenna with a built-in amplifier can help solve the reception issues.
These antennas are made of fiberglass and are placed near the hood or trunk of your car. External antennas perform better because they are good in reception.
However, adverse weather conditions or accidents can damage them. They sometimes come with retractors that pull them into the car to protect them when not in use.
Satellite antennas are the most recent types of antennas used in automobiles.
A radio dock is mounted in the front near the windshield or the dashboard. Then wires are connected to a small magnetic antenna on your car’s roof through the back or side.
How To Replace A Broken Radio Antenna
You cannot use an antenna forever because it can wear out or break. So you have to fix it if you still need one for your car radio. Removing the device is simple when you use the right tools.
If your car’s radio has no antenna but a factory antenna hole, you should put the antenna cable through it.
The antenna is mainly removed when broken, not working or if the drive is poor, and you can solve such issues by replacing the whole assembly of the antenna.
If it is broken, you can solve this by replacing the mast instead of the entire assembly.
You will need a few tools to work on your broken antenna, and most if not all you may already have in your garage. if not, I added links below to products I use:
- Universal antenna wrench
- Crescent wrench
- Replacement antenna
- Clean cloth
- Electrical tape
Here is how to go about it:
Identify Your Type of Antenna
This is the first step because various antennas are made up of cables or wires. The three common ones are internal, external, and satellite antennas.
When internal ones are set in your car, they receive better and are protected from weather and accidental damage. Installing it improves the performance of your car’s radio, and its removal will also affect reception.
External antennas located around the car’s hood offer better reception than internal ones. But they are prone to weather damage or breakage.
Remove the Rubber Grommet
This seal prevents water, dirt, and debris from the antenna. In addition, it protects the antenna hole from damage due to tearing or fraying. Removing the rubber can be tricky, and if it is removed incorrectly, it can damage the antenna.
Firstly, you should reach the rubber itself, but it would be hard to access it in a drive or below the car’s hood.
Before removing it, clean around the antenna to protect the car’s surface. For cleaning purposes, use a clean piece of cloth. Also, use an appropriate tool to take off the rubber grommet from around the lip of your car’s radio antenna.
You can remove the rubber by using a flat head screwdriver if placed on the outer part of the radio. If it is internal, there might be wires running through it.
Then you might have to cut the grommet using a razor blade. Be careful not to cut the wires that the grommet is protecting. After the rubber is loose, remove it from the car’s antenna.
Take Off the Coaxial Cable
The coaxial cable connects the radio dock and the antenna in the roof of your car. Identify the cable running from the antenna to the radio dock placed behind the dashboard.
You should check whether there is an extension wire or not. If it has an extension cable or one cable running throughout, it is a coaxial cable.
You are supposed to remove the cable at the extension at the coupling part. If it is a single cable, you should take it off behind the radio.
The first thing while removing the cable is to place the equipment where you can find the connection point easily. Add some drops of oil to the visible thread entering the connector.
Open the nut clockwise by using a wrench and its handle. If it is hard to loosen, add oil. Use the wrench again after applying the oil. When the nut is loose, you can effortlessly remove the coaxial cable.
Remove the Antenna Screws
When removing the rubber grommet is complete, you have to undo the screws; therefore, you should get a screwdriver.
Remember to lift off the mount from your car when using the screwdriver.
You should take off the screws because they are used to the antenna. To undo the nuts on the mast’s base, you can use pliers, a wrench, or a screwdriver. Keep the nuts safely because you can use them later.
Screws are generally tight on the antenna’s mount, and after loosening them, lift the mount from your car and check under the dashboard. By doing this, you will find out the correct location where the antenna is installed.
Remove the Sockets
Do away with the sockets after removing the nut. The socket holds your car’s antenna to the frame. You can easily do this by using a crescent wrench.
Loosening the socket will release your vehicle frame. While loosening the nut, you may need someone’s help to hold the antenna if you cannot reach it from the other side.
However, if you have no one, you can do it yourself. This is done to protect the socket from falling or protect the car’s paint from damage. After removing the sockets, clean the surface of your vehicle using a clean cloth.
Remove the Damaged Antenna
The final step is to detach the antenna from the car’s surface. Slip the socket out of the coaxial cable and then disconnect the antenna from your vehicle. Remove it slowly to avoid damaging the paint on your car.
Remember to place all sockets and screws in a good place to use them later if you need to replace a new radio antenna.
There could be several reasons to remove your car’s radio antenna. It could be because it is damaged or broken, or you may need to remove it before washing to avoid damaging it with water. Water damages the interior of the antenna and while repairing it, cover the broken part with aluminum foil.
Install a New Antenna
If you want to install a new radio antenna, you can find a place inside or outside the vehicle, depending on the antenna type you wish to use.
If you reinstate the antenna, you will find a ready spot from the old antenna. But if it is new, you need to make a hole to install the antenna.
After inserting it:
- Hold it in place using bolts.
- Use electrical wires to connect the fuse box to the antenna if you set a new one.
- If it is a replacement, repeat the same process you used while removing the antenna. You can connect the coaxial cable to the radio doc, the antenna mostly placed on the roof of your car.
- After using the coaxial cable, place a rubber grommet to prevent water and dirt from damaging the antenna.
- Install the socket to hold the antenna in place.
- Install the sockets before installing the rubber grommet.
After setting up the sockets, tighten all the nuts and screws that sport the antenna. Tighten the nuts using a wrench and install them the way you removed them.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens When Radio Antenna Breaks?
Because a car’s antenna protrudes and stands on the surface of your vehicle, it is prone to damage. When it is damaged, your radio might stop working. Therefore, fixing your antenna comes with many benefits.
Why Should I Fix My Car Antenna?
Car radio antennas are not durable because they tend to break or get damaged. Sometimes you may also forget to remove them during car wash and might be a target to vandals, thereby needing replacement.
Luckily, most antennas are easy to replace; thereby, you can easily fix them alone.
Will My Car Radio Work Without An Antenna?
All cars have antennas with various designs, and some are retractable while others are rigid and solid.
No matter the design, you may find your antenna broken due to an unprecedented occurrence. Therefore, you may wonder if your radio can work without one or how easy it is to replace it.
Without an antenna, your car radio may not pick up radio signals.
Which Car Antenna is Appropriate for My Car?
Like other items nowadays, you can get antennas in aftermarkets to find some working better than others.
Those with quality performance are expensive compared to others. They come with more advantages such as durability and good reception.
What is interesting about car antennas is that although others are better than others in terms of reception and durability, they all function the same way.
The car radio antenna is an essential piece of equipment for your car because it receives radio signals and helps play the radio.
Without a doubt, you should fix your car antennae to have the clearest radio reception in your car by implementing the steps as highlighted in this article. However, if you feel that fixing it cannot help you, you can replace it with a new antenna and consider lifelong usage in your car.
However, there are other ways radio can receive a signal apart from using an antenna. Among the methods is using chassis as an extra antenna.
Conclusively, you should aim at getting the most precise radio performance in your car.