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How to Get a Good Ground on a Car Antenna

by Cassandra Tribe

If your car's antenna is not grounded, you will hear more static than music when you turn on your radio. The ground of an antenna needs to be attached to the car in such a way that the voltage of the antenna can connect to the earth. This connection allows the earth to receive and store excess voltage rather than the extra voltage bouncing back through your antenna and radio. It is harder to get a good ground on a modern car because of the way in which the body of the car is attached to the frame, however, it can still be done.

Step 1

Open the trunk or the hood of your car, whichever is nearest to the location of your antenna. Locate the antenna ground. It is a single wire coming off the base of the antenna, not the larger cable wire that goes to your radio, but the only other wire running from the antenna.

Step 2

Pull the ground wire of the antenna so it reaches the car frame. Find a bolt on the frame that the wire can reach. Note, you will want to find a bolt that is attaching the frame to the frame, such as a cross piece or hinge attachment, and not one that is attaching the body to the frame. The idea is to connect the antenna ground as directly to the frame as you can.

Step 3

Remove the bolt with a socket wrench.

Step 4

Clean the bolt and around the bolt hole with a wire brush so it is free of any debris or rust.

Step 5

Coat the bolt and the bare copper end of the antenna ground with a small amount of dielectric grease. This will help keep moisture and debris from building up on the ground connection you are about to make.

Wrap the bare copper wire of the antenna ground around the bolt and reinstall the bolt into the frame.

Tip

  • Crimp a ring terminal onto the end of the antenna ground that is large enough for the bolt from the frame to pass through. Put the bolt through the ring and reinstall the bolt. This will lessen the chance of the ground coming off the bolt because of the vibration of the vehicle.

Warning

  • Don't operate a radio that is connected to an antenna that is not grounded properly, excess voltage can loop back through the radio and damage it.

Items you will need

  • Socket set
  • Wire brush
  • Dielectric grease
  • Ring Terminal
  • Electrical Pliers

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