Car Stereo Antenna

How To Wire A Car Stereo Antenna From Scratch With Fixing Tips

If you are a true DIY-er, or are a home-based mechanic, then you might want to know how to wire a car stereo or repair it if it’s broken. In this article, we will show you how to wire a car radio antenna and give you tips on fixing a broken one. Let’s start with wiring a fresh antenna.

How to wire a Car Stereo Antenna

If, somehow, you’ve purchased a car that has no antenna, or just want to replace the installed antenna with a better one, then you might want to install the car with an after-market car antenna. After-market meaning that it did not come with the car. In contrast, one that comes already installed in the car is known as an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) antenna.

Follow these steps to install an after-market car antenna:

1.Get the necessary equipment

Needless to say, you should get a pretty good antenna (you can find a good one on Amazon). Here are several other accessories you’ll need for the installation:

  • >> A fit kit
  • >> An antenna adapter
  • >> A wiring adapter

You can also find these ones online at competitive costs. Their functions are:

  • Fit kit – this one is a just an assembly made of plastic; its work is to match your ride’s console up to a standard after-market radio antenna.
  • Wiring adapter – it makes plugging an after-market stereo into the car’s wiring system possible. The colors on the wires match the ones coming with the after-market stereo antenna, so everything is uniform and to reduce errors. Similar to the fit kit, the wiring adapter also comes in a blister pack or a plastic bag.
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    Antenna adapter – meant for making the connection possible in vehicles that have a non-standard antenna connection. Most times, wiring adapters come with an antenna adapter (ask your retailer if they have this offer).

Luckily, all these accessories are inexpensive, and they will only cost you around $50.

2. Remove the original stereo

Fit kits normally come with booklets describing the process of disassembling the car’s console and getting the original radio antenna out. It’s easy in some cars and difficult in others but it will help a lot if you have tools like wrenches and screwdrivers. And by the way, in the part “how to fix a broken car antenna” below, you will get lots of insights into disassembling a car antenna mechanism.

3. Wire the new stereo antenna

In this step, you’re basically going to wiring the fresh antenna wire to the wiring adapter. You’ll need a roll of electrical tape and a wire stripping equipment for the task.

So, strip around 2” of the insulating material from every end of the wires of the antenna wire harness with colors that match that of the wiring adapter’s wire. Perform the same task with every wire in the wiring adapter with a color that matches that of the harness.

Note: you won’t really be using the wires that aren’t matching color. Thus, just fold them back and apply tape to their ends.

After stripping the insulating material, start twisting together the ends of wires with the same color, and once you’re done with each batch, use tape to cover it.

As soon as you have connected the wires, plug the harness into the stereo and the adapter into the vehicle. You need to confirm that the radio is working and the speakers are all working; turn on the ignition to do that. You’re not checking if the radio is receiving stations but rather checking to ensure that the sound works excellently.

 If all is fine, turn off the car, remove the adapter from the radio, and apply tape generously around the entire bundle of wires, especially at the spots where you made the connections.

4.Install the new antenna

The first thing you need to do is prep the fit kit, according to the instructions in the booklet that came with it that fits your specific kind of car. You’ll be cutting plastic tabs from the kit, and for that, you might need a pocket knife or some shears.

 When that is done, put the kit in the console’s hole where the original radio was. Fasten the bolts or screws if there are any, to hold the kit in place.

5.The DIN Cage

New radios come with a metal frame, which is normally called a DIN cage. You’ll need to get the cage off the radio and fix it to the fit kit. You might some release tools for that.

Before you snug the cage into the fit kit, you got to pull the antenna wire, as well as the wiring adapter through the cage. Then, after that, snug the cage into the fit kit. A screwdriver will be very handy for prying down on the metal tabs surrounding the cage so it doesn’t slip out of tilt from the stereo’s weight.

 Perhaps your installation requires an ISO Mounting. In that case, you won’t need the DIN cage, and instead, you’ll only have to bolt the new radio into the OEM mounting brackets directly.

6.Get the Stereo in

At last, you can place the new stereo into the dashboard. The first thing you need to do is connect the wiring harness together with the antenna wire to the radio, at the rear side. After that, you will need to foist the wires into the console to ensure the wire bulk is below or above the radio, as there might not be adequate room behind it.

And that’s it folks, now that you’ve gone through the instructions, go for it.

So, what if your antenna is broken? How do you fix that? Let’s look at that quickly.

How to Fix a Broken Car Stereo Antenna

Through an accident or other causes, your car radio antenna might need to be replaced. But there’s no need to worry; with our guide, wiring a car stereo antenna is a no-brainer task. Before we go through the steps, let’s first see some common types of antenna malfunctions.

Common car antenna issues

  • Bent antenna mast
  • Dirt – snow and dust can infiltrate the antenna mechanism, causing it to fail
  • Problematic nylon bits
  • Broken/snapped antenna rope

Below, we will look at how to disassemble, clean, and fix/replace the affected parts.

1.Remove the part with the problem

The first thing you want to do is gain access into the mechanism. In case your antenna is mounted on the rear fender, take out the trunk trim panels. If, on the other hand, it is mounted on the front fender, accomplish the task of reaching the mechanism, you will possibly need some wrenches and screwdrivers.

Fortunately, removing the mechanism is not very difficult. You only need to loosen the nuts and disengage the ground strap. Then, disconnect the signal wire as well as the motor-control wires.

Caution: Be careful how you handle the connectors; you will need them again.

 Pull the antenna’s mast down through the fender to remove the assembly.

2.Take it further part and find the problem

Extract the cover screws to reveal the mechanism’s core elements. Take off the housing as well as the gear cover. Do it carefully, ensuring the nylon cord doesn’t just spring out (it might throw off tiny parts).

In the core mechanism, you’ll have a view how the gears, the motor, and the nylon rope all function together. You might find some broken pieces in there or find that the gears or the rope is stripped. You’re also likely to encounter some old, dirty grease, which you ought to clean out.

 Be sure to examine all the components, and if you notice damaged parts, replace them. Just in case a major component, such as the motor or the housing is broken, the entire assembly will need to be replaced.

3.Fix the parts

Is the telescoping mast the one causing the problem? Take it of by removing the bushing at the upper part of the guide tube (which secures the mast).

 Now, hold the mast firmly (possibly using a pair of pliers) and pull out the mast along the nylon rope. Next, use a mild detergent like the one used for dishes to clean the parts (that includes the gears). Once you’re done doing that, apply white lithium grease lubrication on the housing and the gears.

4.Reassemble the Unit

Did you replace the gears? Consider reinstalling them first, as they just drop into place. Then, compress the antenna mast totally and drive the nylon rope into the tube.

You’re looking to seat the base in the housing and for that to happen, it might need to be hammered a bit.

Now, extend the antenna completely, mesh the nylon cord’s end into the gar drive, and reinstall the housing and the cover.

Without bolting the mechanism, reconnect the electrical lines and switch the stereo on and off. Turning the stereo on and off, the gears should move, pulling on the nylon rope and retracting the antenna mast. If that doesn’t happen, the gears haven’t been aligned properly, and you will have to rectify the alignment.

If the gear is working as needed, it’s time to reassemble everything and secure the mechanism with bolts.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.What’s an auto antenna?

Also called a power antenna, an auto antenna is one that’s capable of rising and lowering automatically when you turn the on/off switch.

2.What is a whip car antenna?

A whip car antenna normally has a straight rod or flexible wire that captures signals. Its lower end connects to the stereo transmitter/receiver.

3.Why is there so much static on my car radio?

If there’s static when you tune in to stations but no static when listening to auxiliary audio sources, then there’s a problem with the antenna or the tuner itself. Or, there’s lots of interference from external sources. One trick you can try is unplugging the radio and plugging it back to see if the static will disappear before trying other solutions like replacing the antenna.

Final Word

We hope this process has helped you fix your car radio reception problems. One thing – always remember to turn off the radio when taking your vehicle to the car wash, so those guys don’t break the antenna.


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