Antenna Mast Replacement

How to Replace an Electric Antenna Mast

The electric antenna on your car is used to receive radio wave transmissions from a transmitter generated by area radio companies. There are several styles of antennas from units imbedded into the windshield of your car to the ever popular retractable antenna that features a mast that moves up and down automatically with the 'on' and 'off' switch of the radio. These mast style antenna's utilize a plastic drive that attaches internally at the top of the mast and then down to the drive gear located inside the housing near the electric motor. This plastic drive can become brittle and fail causing the mast to stop it's telescoping action. The drive failure is usually down near the base of the drive gear. To replace the drive you must retrieve the broken parts to allow the new drive to be inserted.

Before we start park your car on level ground, in park with the parking brake set. Please use gloves and protective eyewear to prevent injury.

Tool and Supplies Needed to Complete this Job

1. Wrench Set

2. Socket Set

3. Shop Towels

4. Replacement Antenna Mast

5. Screw Driver Set


Step 1 - Remove the top or retainer nut from the antenna mount on the body, this will allow the mast to be removed and aid in the removal of the antenna assembly.

Step 2 - While standing near the antenna grab hold of the mast. Have a helper turn the ignition key to the "on" position with out starting the engine. Next, turn the radio to the "on" position.

Step 3 - The mast will start to come up, if you have to, gently help the mast up and out of the antenna assembly. Turn the ignition key "off".

Step 4 - Next, gain access to the antenna assembly unit. Disconnect the electrical connector.

Step 5 - Remove the mounting bolts that attach the antenna unit to the body member and remove the antenna unit.

Step 6 - Once the unit has been removed observe a round cover that looks like a donut cut in half the long way. In the center of this cover is a nut, remove this nut.

Step 7 - Once the nut is removed gently pry the cover off of the antenna unit.

Step 8 - Clean all broken pieces of the plastic drive, clean and reassemble with light layer of silicon grease. (without the new antenna mast)

Step 9 - Reinsert the freshly cleaned unit into the vehicle and reattach the electrical connector. (note: leave the top mounting nut off for right now)

Step 10 - Remove the new antenna mast from its packaging. Inspect the mast, the replacement mast should look the same as the original mast, especially the drive tape (long plastic piece).

Step 11 - Have your helper turn the ignition key to the on position without starting the engine. Then turn the radio on for 30 seconds and then shut the radio off. As soon as the radio is turned off, insert the replacement mast drive plastic tape into the antenna. Be ready, the mast drive will begin feeding into the antenna housing.

Step 12 - Once the antenna stops feeding insert the top retainer nut and tighten. Once tight turn the radio "on" for 30 seconds and then turn it off. The mast should extend and retract fully.

Best Practices

  • Always remove broken pieces of the old mast.
  • Use a light oil to lubricate the mast extensions.
  • Use a light grease to lubricate main drive gear (internal antenna part)
If further assistance is needed, our certified car repair technicians are ready to answer your car questions. Also, gain manufacturer specific instructions and information by clicking - Auto Repair Manual

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Article first published (Updated 2015-01-07)