How to choose a replacement antenna

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Crutchfield Writing Team

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Having antenna problems? How do you know if you need a new antenna? It's sometimes hard to tell with FM, because relatively strong FM signals can sometimes be picked up without an antenna. On the other hand, if you get nothing across the entire AM band, you probably need a new antenna.
antenna install

If you can tune in a station, gently take hold of the antenna near its base and jiggle it lightly back and forth. If the signal pops in and out, your antenna is not making firm contact with the body of the car. It may just need tightening, or it may be partially corroded and need replacing.

Stock antennas may need to be replaced after only four to six years. They wear out faster if you live near the ocean, where the salty sea breezes can accelerate corrosion. We recommend replacing the antenna only when the mast is obviously rusted or broken. However, if you have an antenna that's embedded in the windshield, you'll get better reception if you upgrade to a fender-mounted antenna.

If you want the convenience and security of a motorized antenna, which automatically raises and lowers the mast, we have models to fit most vehicles. However, a motorized model won't improve reception unless the original antenna has gone bad.

You might need a cable adapter

Some GM, VW, and Nissan vehicles require an antenna cable adapter to accommodate an aftermarket antenna. Crutchfield stocks these adapters and our expert Advisors will be sure to let you know if you need one when you place your order.

In most cases, you need to remove your radio to reach the antenna plug. If you buy your antenna from Crutchfield, you'll get the receiver removal instructions for your vehicle for free. As with anything else you buy from us, we'll be here if you need any help when you install your new antenna. Our Technical Support staff is just a phone call away.

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