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Car antennas FAQ

Common questions about replacing your car's FM antenna

I've been with Crutchfield since 1999, where I began as one our advisors, helping our customers choose new gear. After a couple of years, I moved to the writing team where I spent a decade researching new products and getting hands on with car stereos, amplifiers, speakers, and subs. Yeah, I've been doing this for a while.

For the past few years, I've been the managing editor of Crutchfield's Car A/V web article content. I couldn't ask for a better job — we get to play with car audio gear every day! I'm a Virginia native from the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outside of work, I love listening to music, playing board games, and installing new audio systems for my friends.

More from Robert Ferency-Viars

Q: Is installing a new antenna a difficult task?

A: Installing an antenna can be challenging because of the need to replace the entire run of antenna cable. But if you give yourself plenty of time and follow our suggestions for feeding the cable through the car, you should be able to do it without too much difficulty. When you purchase your replacement antenna from Crutchfield, we give you installation instructions specific to your vehicle AND our Technical Support expertise.

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Q: My antenna's reception is pretty good, but I think it should be better. Would an antenna booster be of any help?

A: If your overall reception is good and you just want to get better reception on a couple of stations, then yes, an antenna booster may do the trick. On the other hand, if your overall reception is poor, the problem may be the antenna or the radio's tuner.

First check the antenna connection. If radio reception pops in and out when you gently jiggle the base of the antenna, 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.

If the connection is fine and the antenna is not obviously rusted or broken, then changing antennas won't be of much help. In this case a booster may be easiest, most cost-effective solution.

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Q: Will there be any problems connecting a new antenna to my factory stereo?

A: Most car manufacturers use a standardized antenna connection, called a Motorola plug. If you own a GM, Nissan, or VW, however, you'll need an adapter. These manufacturers do not use the standard connector. Crutchfield carries the appropriate adapter for your vehicle, so just call our helpful Sales Advisors at 1-888-955-6000.

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Q: Do you sell replacement masts for my factory antenna?

A: No. We only sell replacement masts for the aftermarket antennas that we carry. However, the aftermarket antennas are inexpensive, especially for non-motorized applications.

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