How to Replace the Antenna on Vehiclesby Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017
A replacement antenna can improve the reception of your car radio, especially if you have already replaced the radio itself. If you are replacing the radio antenna on your Vehicles you will likely need to work in the car's ceiling. This can vary depending on the year of the model, but many Vehicles models have the antenna mounted on the roof with the cable traveling through the ceiling and back down to the radio within the dash.
Under The Hood:
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- How to Replace the Antenna on a 2000 Mercury Sable
- How to Replace the Antenna on a Toyota Matrix
Removing the Old Antenna
Remove the sill plate's securing screws with a Phillips screwdriver, then lift the plate out of the car. The sill plate is the chrome piece that covers the seam between the bottom of the door jamb and the edge of the carpet, and features a "Ford" emblem in the center of the plate.
Remove the kick panel from the passenger's side of the interior to access the antenna cable. The kick panel is the plastic piece located against the side of the interior, next to the passenger's feet. The kick panel is held in place with a single screw.
Trace the antenna cable to the back of the radio, then pull the cable out of the radio.
Tie a piece of twine around the metal tip of the antenna cable. The twine should be at least 4 feet in length.
Loosen the nut located at the top of the base of the antenna with an adjustable wrench, then slide the nut up and over the length of the antenna.
Rotate the antenna until the two tabs at the bottom of the underside of the antenna align with the two slots cut into the top of the fender, then lift the antenna off the fender and pull the antenna cable out of the fender. When you reach the twine, stop pulling.
Installing the New Antenna
Untie the twine from the old antenna and tie it to the tip of the new antenna's cable.
Feed the tip of the new antenna's cable into the top of the fender, then pull the twine to draw the antenna cable into the interior of the car.
Lower the bottom of the antenna into the fender and rotate the antenna until the antenna's two tabs slide underneath the fender.
Slide the antenna's retaining nut down the length of the antenna and tighten the nut onto the bottom of the antenna with an adjustable wrench.
Remove the twine from the antenna cable and plug the cable into the back of the radio.
Position the kick panel against the wall of the interior of the car, then install and tighten the panel's single retaining screw with a Phillips screwdriver.
Position the sill plate over the seam between the interior of the car and the door opening, then install and tighten the plate's retaining screws with a Phillips screwdriver.
Items you will need
Unscrew and disconnect the main antenna mast from the antenna base, mounted near the rear windshield. Like most models, it will come off the threaded connector in a counterclockwise direction.
Enter the car and remove the trim panels along the A-pillars and ceiling at the passenger side: Pry out the screw caps and remove the screws where needed and then pry out the panels with a trim stick. This will lower the ceiling headliner.
Disconnect the cables at the connector, where the antenna base's cable connects to the intermediate cable. If necessary, disconnect the intermediate cable from the radio cable, which will be connected close to the front of the car.
Remove the nut fastening the antenna base to the ceiling from the inside using your wrench. You can now remove the base from the outside of the car.
Insert the base for the new antenna into the mounting hole on the roof, threading its cable through the hole. You will likely need a second person to hold it in place, or you may be able to temporarily secure it with tape.
Screw in the mounting nut for the antenna base from the inside. Remove the tape, if any was used.
Screw the new antenna mast onto the base. You can do this at any time, once the base is secured onto the roof.
Connect the antenna mast cable to the intermediate cable. If needed, connect the new intermediate cable to the radio cable. Position it so it will be in between the ceiling and headboard.
Push and position the headboard back in place on the ceiling and connect the trim panels along the car's inner borders with their clips and screws.
Items you will need
Antenna mast and cable
Intermediate antenna extension cable
Open the trunk and remove the left-side inner trim panel if you are working on a sedan-model Sable. If you have a station wagon, remove the spare tire from inside the trunk.
Unplug the antenna cable from radio chassis located in the ear of the car.
Remove the retaining nut on the outside of the car with an open-ended wrench; this nut holds the mast for a fixed antenna or the antenna itself for a power one. The antenna will still be in place on a power antenna and will be removed with the assembly.
Disconnect the nuts and/or screws on the inside of the trunk to remove the inner antenna or the antenna assembly. For a power antenna, disconnect the electrical connector for the antenna motor first, then slide the antenna out of the car's mounting hole.
Mount the new antenna assembly or inner antenna in place within the inner rear end of the car and apply its mounting nuts/screws. Connect the motor's electrical connector (if equipped) and plug in the antenna cable.
Install the antenna mast--if you are connecting a fixed antenna--then install and tighten the mounting nut with your open-ended wrench.
Re-install the trunk trim panel or the spare tire.
Items you will need
Unscrew the antenna mast, and remove it from the base.
Grasp and pry off the trim panel inside the car bordering the headliner on the rear passenger's side. You might need the help of a trim stick. This will uncover the headliner fasteners at this end.
Remove the fasteners for the headliner using a screwdriver, and look for the headliner to drop low enough for you to access the antenna base's fastener.
Unscrew and remove the nut for the antenna base with a wrench. Disconnect the antenna from the rest of the wire, and remove the base from the roof.
Install the new antenna base into the mounting hole within the roof -- you might need another person to do this from outside the vehicle -- and secure it with its nut. Connect the mast to the vehicle's antenna wire.
Fasten the headliner back into place, and re-install the trim along the upper edge.
Thread and screw the mast for the new antenna onto the base.
Items you will need