How to fix My AM/ FM tuner: the dial strings are broken

Updated July 19, 2017

Any AM/FM radio with a tuner dial relies on a string to turn the dial to the correct station. If that string comes loose or breaks, it will need to be repaired. Restringing a tuner dial can be done at home and may take several hours to complete. Anyone that has not worked on tuner dials before may take more than one attempt during the course of the project before getting the string on the dial correctly.

Evaluate what pieces of the radio need to be removed to access the tuner dial. Typically this includes the front panel. Take off the control knobs on the front of the radio, as well as the toggle switch mounting nuts and the screws that hold the front panel in place.

Detach the dial plate by removing any screws that hold the dial plate to the plate's mounting brackets. Lift the tuning dial pointer straight up and then raise the dial plate up and off the radio. Removal of the dial plate provides complete access to the drive pulleys.

Study the tuning dial if there is still a string attached to it. Even a loose string will provide an idea of how the string should be placed and how many turns to wrap it around the pulley. Otherwise, try to locate a diagram specific to the type of radio needing a new cord for the tuning dial.

Cut a length of dial cord or string with scissors. You can use a length of 2.9 kg (65 lb) fishing line in lieu of a dial string. Cut small pieces of masking tape to assist with holding the line in place until it is attached to the spring and the pulley. Super glue on a knot at the end of the string will also help keep the string in place.

Align the tuner dial with the proper frequencies. Adjust the alignment so the oscillator settings for the short wave band is below the frequency and the broadcast band is above. A frequency counter can be used to check accuracy while aligning the tuner dial.

Screw the dial plate back onto the mounting brackets. Reattach the front panels with the proper screws. Replace any control knobs that were removed so the radio is ready to use.


A piece of tape or a small dot of super glue will help keep the knotted string in place while winding it around the dial.


Hire a professional that is dedicated to radio repairs if the string and pulley combination seems too complicated.

Things You'll Need

  • Radio
  • Small screwdriver (Phillips or flat, depending on the radio)
  • Dial cord or heavy fishing line
  • Scissors
  • Super glue
  • Tape
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About the Author

Lila Rose has worked as a freelance writer since 2005. With a focus on home and family topics, her articles appear on eHow and Answerbag. Rose received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Kansas.