Skip Navigation

How to choose a replacement antenna

Robert Ferency-Viars is the managing editor for the Crutchfield car A/V learning content, and has been with the company since 1999. A Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, he loves spending time with his wonderful wife and sons, listening to music, writing, and playing games with friends. Robert's love for car audio began at 16 when he installed his first car stereo.

More from Robert Ferency-Viars

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.

  • Stephen from Toronto, Ontario Canada

    Posted on 5/20/2015

    Hi, I am in need of an antenna mast for my 1989 Lincoln Town car. The car has a newer Pioneer radio. I am in need of an antenna mast to replace the broken one for my car. The over all length of the antenna mast and stainless steel shaft (whip) was 54 inches. I can provide the length of the stainless steel upper section of the mast at a later time. The mast currently is the 3 piece sectional type but the car originally had the four sectional type. The closed section, from motor to upper wheel well, I believe is 8 to 10 inches in size, I can confirm this at a later time. Do you have antenna masts that might work for my car? This car is a good condition, summer car. Thanks Stephen

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/21/2015

    Stephen, we carry this replacement antenna for a 1989 Lincoln Town Car with a toggle-style volume control on the factory stereo. A Crutchfield MasterSheet is included with your purchase to help you install it. However, please note that if your Town Car's factory stereo has a rotary volume knob, we do not carry a compatible replacement antenna. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to give us a call, and for an in-depth look at the recommended antenna, click the "Details" tab on the product page and download the owner's manual.

  • john from palm desert

    Posted on 8/3/2016

    do you offer a quality shark fin antenna for my mk4 vw golf?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/10/2016

    John, give us a call with the year of your Golf for the best answer.

  • Tim Pearce from zebulon

    Posted on 9/13/2016

    I choose pioneer because of their reputation and back in the day they had something called super tuner. The stock radio in my truck pulled in and held more stations that my new Pioneer radio. It's like the muting level is rejecting in and out. I'm disappointed. I'm tempted to find a stock radio and sell the new pioneer unit. DEH-X3800UI

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/14/2016

    Tim, sorry to hear that. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, please give our Tech Support a call. They'll help you troubleshoot your system.

  • Vidal Smith Jr

    Posted on 10/23/2016

    I am unable to get good, clear reception on my after market radio, Boss bvb9364rc, when installed in my 2002 Honda CRV. Everything works well except the radio. Would an antenna cable adapter help?

  • Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 10/24/2016

    Vidal, I don't see that an adapter is required. You may want to check your connections to ensure that they're secure at the back of the radio. If you continue to have trouble, keep in mind that you can get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • gary hester from LIVINGSTON

    Posted on 4/8/2017

    Does the antenna need a ground or does the cable to the radio qualify as a ground?

  • Ken Nail from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/10/2017

    Gary, No worries on the ground. Plug in the new antenna and you're all set!

Ask an expert advisor

No pressure, no commission — just lots of good advice from our highly trained staff.

Find what fits your vehicle

Can't find your exact vehicle?