How to improve AM/FM car radio reception

Written by helen jain
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How to improve AM/FM car radio reception
Car radios sometimes have reception problems. (autoradio 2 image by Nathalie P from

Listening to the radio on either a favourite AM or favourite FM station while driving a car can make the ride seem faster. When the radio station is unclear or is fuzzy, the station becomes annoying rather than relaxing and sometimes ends up as a distraction. Improving the reception not only makes the music clearer, it can make the sound less distracting. Car reception depends on the antennae of the vehicle, but there are ways to improve the sound quality.

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Things you need

  • Portable radio

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  1. 1

    Turn off electrical devices like phones, iPods, mp3 players or anything else running in the car. Interference from electrical devices can result in poor reception that is easily fixed. Keep in mind that windscreen wipers, AC or other car electronics can cause interference which cannot be turned off.

  2. 2

    Change the radio mode to "mono" rather than "stereo". This will change the signal type and often improves reception as a result.

  3. 3

    Look at the location of the antenna. An antenna in the front of the vehicle, near the engine, will often have more interference than an antenna on the back of the vehicle or on the top of the vehicle. Also look at the height of the antenna and ensure it is fully extending if it is the type of antenna to extend when the radio is turned one. If the antenna is short or is not fully extending, look into replacements for better reception.

  4. 4

    Look at the antennae wiring. One cause of poor reception is improper wiring or damage to the wiring in the antennae. Check if the antenna is the problem by taking a portable radio, turning off the car and finding the station on the portable radio. If the station is clear on the portable radio, turn on the car and try finding it without moving the vehicle on the car radio. If the signal is not clear in the car, it is possible that there is a wiring problem. Replace the antenna if the problem is related to wiring.

  5. 5

    Replace the radio with an HD radio. Unlike the original radios in a car, HD radios pick up clearer signals in high definition sound. Sometimes the problem with reception is the type of radio installed in a vehicle, especially if the car is older. Wiring problems with the radio itself can result in poor reception or no reception.

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