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How to Replace a Car Antenna

Repair most auto antenna types yourself for less than $20

car antennaFamily Handyman
Repair most types of bent auto antennas for less than $20 in parts. You can easily fix both “pillar-mount” and “fixed-mast” antennas.

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Identify your antenna type

Pillar-mount antenna

Pillar-mount antennas slide in and out of door pillars.

Need to fix a bent or broken antenna? That problem goes back as far as car radios and marauding teenagers. The two most common styles are “pillar mounts,” which slide in and out of the top of door pillars, and “fixed masts,” nonretractable ones that are mounted on fenders. (We won’t include power antennas here.) Both styles are easy to fix yourself. Start the repair by buying a replacement unit (less than $20) from an auto parts store or antennamastsRus.com.

Repair pillar-mount antennas

Pillar mount

Fish the new cable through the door pillar by using the old one to pull it through. Securely splice together the new cable to the old one.

New pillar-mount antennas come with the coaxial cables already attached. So after you unscrew and pull out the old unit, cut the old cable and use it to fish the new cable through the pillar to the radio. (Splicing the old cable to the new one isn’t recommended; you may get radio interference.) But be careful! If the splice comes apart inside the pillar, you’ll have to remove the pillar trim to fish the new cable. Form a hook in the old cable, loop a picture-hanging wire through it and then wrap it with tape for added insurance. You’ll have to remove the car radio to hook up the new cable. For about $5, you can buy removal instructions from carstereoremoval.com.

Repair fixed-mast antennas

Fixed mast

Replace the old base stud with the matching one from the kit. Then screw in the new mast.

Fixed-mast antennas are much easier to replace. Buy a universal kit (about $15) from any auto parts store. Just unscrew the bent mast with an adjustable wrench and install the new mast. You may have to install an adapter (included in the kit) to match the thread size.

Required Tools for this Car Antenna Replacement Project

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

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Lineman's pliers

Required Materials for this Car Antenna Replacement Project

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

  • Electrical tape
  • Replacement antenna