How to Install a Car Antenna

Updated April 17, 2017

A snap in the car wash, a case of mischief, a simple accident--all can result in a broken antenna. The sight of a snapped antenna might be galling, but never fear--replacing the antenna can be done at home with a few basic tools. Antennas and their accessories can be purchased from auto parts stores, but be sure to ask an associate if you are not sure about the proper antenna for your car.

Remove your car stereo from the dashboard to locate the antenna cable. Unplug the cable from the stereo and tie one end of the string to the end of the cable. This will help you find the path for the new antenna's cable.

Remove the screws holding the antenna in place on the exterior of the car. Pull the antenna from its socket, allowing the accompanying wiring to come with it. Continue to pull out the wiring until the antenna cable comes out entirely and you see a bit of string.

Attach the string to the antenna cable of the new antenna. Return to the interior of the car and carefully pull the string through so the new antenna cable is properly fed through the path to the stereo.

Connect the antenna cable to its outlet in the car stereo and place the stereo back into the dashboard, fastening it back in with tools. Return to the exterior of the car and fasten the antenna to its socket by screwing in the screws with a screwdriver.


Be sure to test out the connection of the new antenna once you have installed it. Check the reception quality of your radio; if it's poor or nonexistent, remove the stereo from the dashboard again to check the antenna cable connection. Then, be sure the new antenna itself has not been damaged.


If possible, have someone with you while you install the antenna to ensure the cable is fed properly through its intended path. This will help ensure the wiring isn't stuck or tangled. Always be careful when handling electronics. Be sure everything is connected as properly as possible to the best of your knowledge before testing the antenna.

Things You'll Need

  • Car antenna
  • Antenna cable
  • Tool kit
  • String--at least 2 to 3 feet long
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About the Author

Christine Margiotta began writing in 2003. Her work has been featured on various websites. In 2004 her journalism won a New York State Associated Press Award and an Award of Excellence from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association. Margiotta received a Master of Arts in journalism from Syracuse University.