How to Fix a Car’s Power Antenna

Fix a car power antenna that’s stuck by replacing a burned-out motor or bad cable/mast.

Fixing a Broken Power Antenna: Step-by-Step Instructions For the Home Mechanic

If your power radio antenna won’t go up and down anymore, the problem is either a burned-out motor or the geared cable inside the mast. Both are easy DIY fixes. You can do the entire repair in about two hours. The parts run about $25 for a new cable/mast, plus the cost of the special wrench. Or, pick up a complete junkyard unit for about $75 (that’s half the price of a new antenna).

Tools and materials needed to fix a broken power antenna:
– Socket/ratchet set
– 4-in-1 screwdriver
– Side cutter
– Nut driver
– Replacement mast kit
– Degreaser
– Lithium grease, spray can
– Plastic gloves

First, make sure the motor works. Have a friend turn on the radio and listen for motor noise coming from the antenna area. If it makes noise, it’s a candidate for repair. If not, you’ll have to replace it using the steps we show. Next, order a replacement mast kit. The kit includes a new geared nylon cable connected to new antenna sections.

Antenna wrenchPhoto:

You’ll also need a special wrench to remove the bezel nut (above)DON’T use pliers; you’ll scratch the bezel and the paint. Check an auto parts store for one.

How to Fix a Car's Power AntennaPhoto:

Unscrew the bezel and remove the antenna retaining bolts (above). If your antenna is mounted inside the front fender, remove the wheel-well liner by pulling out the plastic rivets and push-in retainers.

How to fix a broken power antennaPhoto:

Next disconnect the power and coaxial cable connectors and remove the entire unit from the vehicle (above). If your antenna doesn’t have a removable coaxial connector, disconnect the power connectors and perform the mast replacement while the unit is still connected to the coaxial cable.

Reinsert gears and motorsPhoto:

Remove the cover screws from the antenna. Then lift the cover and note the location of the gears, cable spool, washers and idler roller before you remove them. Next, remove old mast. Thread the nylon cable and mast into the spool and reinsert the gears and rollers (above). Spray all the moving parts with lithium grease. Reinstall the cover, then plug in the antenna and reinstall it in the fender or trunk.

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