How to Fix a Car Power Antenna

Complete this simple fix in about 2 hours.

Fix a stuck power antenna by replacing a burned out motor or bad cable/mast. You can do both in about 2 hours, and you'll avoid the $50 - $100 dealer service fee. You need only one special tool, an antenna wrench.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Fix a stuck power antenna

If your power radio antenna won't go up and down anymore, the problem is either a burned-out motor or the geared cable inside the mast. Both are easy DIY fixes. You can do the entire repair in about two hours. The parts run about $25 for a new cable/mast, plus the cost of the special wrench. Or, pick up a complete junkyard unit for about $75 (that's half the price of a new antenna).

First, make sure the motor works. Have a friend turn on the radio and listen for motor noise coming from the antenna area. If it makes noise, it's a candidate for repair. If not, you'll have to replace it using the steps we show. Next, order a replacement mast kit from antennamastsrus.com. The kit includes a new geared nylon cable connected to new antenna sections. You'll also need a special wrench to remove the bezel nut (Photo 1A). DON’T use pliers; you'll scratch the bezel and the paint. Check an auto parts store for one or order the Steck No. STC21600 (about $18) from amazon.com.

Unscrew the bezel (Photo 1) and remove the antenna retaining bolts. If your antenna is mounted inside the front fender, remove the wheel-well liner by pulling out the plastic rivets and push-in retainers.

Next disconnect the power and coaxial cable connectors and remove the entire unit from the vehicle (Photo 2). If your antenna doesn't have a removable coaxial connector, disconnect the power connectors and perform the mast replacement while the unit is still connected to the coaxial cable.

Remove the cover screws from the antenna. Then lift the cover and note the location of the gears, cable spool, washers and idler roller before you remove them. Next, remove old mast (Photo 1). Thread the nylon cable and mast into the spool and reinsert the gears and rollers (Photo 3). Spray all the moving parts with lithium grease. Reinstall the cover, then plug in the antenna and reinstall it in the fender or trunk.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Socket/ratchet set
  • Nut driver
  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Side cutter

You'll also need a special antenna wrench.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Replacement mast kit
  • Degreaser
  • Lithium grease, spray can
  • Plastic gloves