How to replace a car antenna

How to replace a car antenna

Replacing your car’s radio antenna is quite simple and inexpensive depending on the type of antenna for your vehicle. Motorized antennas are going to be more expensive than fixed antennas so that should be considered before attempting the repair. As always, consult your vehicle’s user’s guide before attempting any repair.

What to do prior to starting the job.

Visit your local auto parts store, or car audio specialty store to obtain a replacement antenna for your model car. To determine the model of the car, consult your owner’s manual. Most aftermarket antennas, aftermarket meaning that they are not supplied by the auto manufacturer, usually do not say specifically what makes and the model car they fit on the package.

You’ll want to look for something on the package such as, “Fits most import cars” or “Fits domestic trucks.” If you are looking for a replacement for your powered antenna, you will need to find out what powers the motor. On most vehicles today, they are operated on a vacuum type system. Powered antennas come in both electric and vacuum power, so be sure to actually look at the part inside your vehicle to make that determination, or contact your local dealer and ask an automotive technician or the parts department before removing the antenna from the vehicle.

Tools needed for the job.

Some basic tools are needed to complete this task. A flat head or Phillips head screwdriver set, standard ratchet toolset and a specialty small ratchet.


First, disconnect the negative battery cable. This is to insure that you are not shocked when handling the antenna plug during removal and installation. Locate remove any panels, if necessary, to gain access to the antenna itself. Remove the stereo antenna wire from the plug connector on the antenna housing. Once removed, use the appropriate tool, such as a ratchet or screw driver, to remove the antenna assembly from the vehicle frame. Remove antenna assembly from vehicle.

If removing a motorized antenna, be sure to disconnect the electrical wires or vacuum hose from the antenna assembly. Note the proper lead connection sequence if removing an electrically powered antenna on a piece of paper. Caution: If working on an electrically powered antenna, ground yourself before handling any electrical wires. Even with the battery disconnected, electrical capacitors maintain an electrical charge that can be discharged if touched by a metal tool. You can ground yourself by using a grounding strap or by touching the metal frame of the vehicle.

Once the old antenna is removed, replace with the new antenna in the proper mounting area. Tighten all screws or nuts until snug, but do not overtighten. After the antenna is mounted in the proper location securely and in the right orientation, reconnect the stereo antenna wire to the antenna housing plug. If necessary, connect any electrical wires or vacuum hoses to the proper connectors.

Replace any paneling securely and then connect the negative battery cable. Turn on the radio and check for the reception. If the radio has static, you may not have fully pushed in the stereo antenna wire firmly into the connector on the antenna housing. Most connectors will make a clicking sound to inform you that the connector is properly seeded. Remove the connector and replace it until either hearing or feeling a click between both male and female ends. End of repair instructions.

Replace any paneling

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