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How Does a Power Car Radio Antenna Work?

Updated April 17, 2017

A car power radio antenna operates by electronic control. Most power antennas are designed to switch on when the vehicle ignition is turned on. When a key is inserted into the ignition switch and turned to the "on" position, electricity from the battery reaches the car's accessories, including that of the power antenna, and they are turned on, or activated.

Power Antenna Housing

When a vehicle's accessories are turned off, the power antenna collapses and resides in a special compartment, or housing, located on the bumper wall. This is a safety feature designed to protect the antenna from breakage or damage when not in use.

Power Antenna Function

When power is turned on at the ignition switch, the power antenna is activated, and it rises up out of its compartment and extends to its full height. In this position, the power antenna is fully functional and receiving radio signals.

Power Antenna Motor Operation

All power antennas operate by way of a small motor housed directly beneath the antenna housing in the car bumper. A power antenna motor, which is basically a cylindrical rotor that spins, is the part that becomes energised when the car ignition switch is turned on. This motor propels the antenna up out of its housing upon activation, and it also collapses the antenna when the ignition switch is turned off.

Power Antenna Replacement Parts

Most power antenna replacement parts can be purchased at regular automotive parts shops or at a car dealer parts warehouse. The power antenna motor as well as the antenna itself can become worn or damaged over time, and timely replacement of these parts is necessary for proper car radio reception.

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