Your car’s antenna is one of the most vulnerable parts of your vehicle and also the most likely to break or get damaged, even during routine activities like taking your car through a carwash. They are one of the preferred targets for vandals, so you may have lost yours to petty crime. In any case, you may be wondering if you can replace your power antenna with a regular one.
You can replace a power antenna with a regular antenna in two ways. The first is to totally remove the power antenna system and connect a standard antenna. The second is to remove the automatic antenna mast and connect a regular antenna mast using a universal conversion kit.
This article will explore how you can replace your power antenna with a regular antenna. Additionally, this article will also explore several related questions, including what you need to consider when replacing your power antenna. Read on for more.
How to Replace a Power Antenna With a Regular Antenna
It’s possible to replace the power antenna on your car with a regular antenna. However, to do this successfully, you need to remove the power antenna mast and use a universal conversion kit that supports most fixed mast antennas to install a non-automatic antenna.
To understand how to replace the power antenna with a regular antenna, it’s crucial to know how they differ. The main difference between a power antenna and a regular antenna is that the power antenna goes up and down automatically after simply flipping a switch typically located in your car’s driver’s compartment.
This way, if you’re going through a carwash or if you reach your destination, you can just flip the switch. This makes them more secure than regular antennas, which don’t retract automatically. Instead, you need to adjust the standard antenna manually.
For this reason, the power antenna is often referred to as an automatic antenna, while the regular antenna is referred to as a non-automatic antenna. You’ll see these terms repeated in this article.
Suppose you need to replace a power antenna with a regular one. In that case, you’ll need to remove the automatic antenna mast because it’s not possible to use a non-automatic antenna on a power antenna mast.
Using a Universal Conversion Kit
You can purchase your power antenna with a regular antenna by using a universal antenna conversion kit. This kit includes an adapter and a non-auto replacement mast.
The first step to replacing the power antenna with a regular antenna is to remove the entire mast because you won’t be able to use a standard antenna with an automatic antenna mast. All you need to do is remove the automatic mast on your car using an adjustable wrench.
After removing this mast, the next step is to install the adapter/conversion sleeve included in the conversion kit, allowing you to connect the non-automatic mast.
This adapter enables you to match the thread (new antenna) size, making it possible to use the power unit as the antenna base. After installing the conversion sleeve, the next step is to introduce the antenna into the conversion sleeve, which is also included in the kit.
This approach is often recommended because it allows you to retain the power unit. In essence, this kit converts the power antenna into a standard non-power antenna.
Uninstall the Power Antenna System
While the option mentioned above leaves the power unit, the alternative is to replace the entire power antenna system, but instead of installing a new power antenna system, you’ll set up a regular antenna unit instead.
The power antenna system consists mainly of a mast and a small motor. Typically, a malfunctioning power antenna is due to a faulty motor or mast. You can find this motor under the antenna housing in your car’s fender.
This motor is essentially a cylindrical rotor, responsible for engaging the antenna so that it goes up when the car is switched on and stops spinning when you switch off the vehicle, causing the antenna cord to retract.
In this option, you’ll need to remove the motor after removing the antenna mast with a wrench as in the previous option. Once you remove the motor and the mast, you can access the antenna base via the dashboard.
After accessing the antenna base, the next step is to thread the non-auto antenna into your car. Because there is no motor/power unit, your antenna will not automatically go up or collapse.
However, I don’t recommend this approach because it is more laborious and more time-intensive compared to using the much more straightforward process of a universal conversion kit.
Cost of Replacing a Power Antenna With a Regular One
To compute the costs of replacing a power antenna with a regular one, it’s essential to consider two critical costs:
- Part costs
- Labor costs
The cost of the parts will depend on the style of antenna that you select. Additionally, most kits or replacement antennas are only compatible with select vehicles, which may cause a slight difference in pricing.
However, as explained by Family Handyman, a universal conversion kit only costs about $15. You won’t need to buy an adapter separately since it’s already included.
The cost of a replacement regular antenna, on the other hand, can be as low as $20. You can get a good bargain by going to an auto parts store or yard instead of buying a new unit. You may also opt for some aftermarket options instead to save on costs.
However, it’s essential to note that some premium models will cost more than $100.
The labor costs for replacing a car antenna will vary depending on your auto shop. However, expect to spend between $50 to $100 on labor costs.
This means that the total costs of replacing a car antenna will generally be somewhere between $100 and $200 in total.
DIY Antenna Replacement
Replacing a car antenna is pretty straightforward and easy, as long as you know what you’re doing. As always, seek the services of a professional mechanic if you’re unsure about how to go about replacing the power antenna with a regular antenna safely to save you cash from further damage.
If you decide to replace the antenna yourself, you can save a pretty penny on the labor costs. However, you’ll need to purchase some tools for this project. You’ll need the following:
- A four-in-one screwdriver
- Electrical taps
- Lineman’s pliers
- Replacement antenna
Should You Replace a Power Antenna With a Regular Antenna?
The decision to replace a power antenna with a regular antenna will largely depend on your own choice. In most cases, car owners replace power antennas with regular antennas due to the former’s higher likelihood of damage and the high cost of replacement power antennas.
The power antenna is typically much more expensive than the regular antenna. Therefore, regular replacement costs resulting from a malfunctioning motor or broken mast can significantly increase your maintenance cost. Often, car owners have to decide whether the automatic functions of the power antenna are worth the extra costs associated with replacing the unit.
In terms of functionality, having a power antenna will not result in significant audio enhancement for your car stereo compared to a regular one. Additionally, finding a replacement regular antenna unit is much cheaper and much easier when compared to the power unit, and so are the labor costs involved for both options.
You can replace a power antenna with a regular antenna, either by replacing the entire power antenna unit or using a conversion kit to replace the power antenna mast with a regular antenna mast.
With the right tools at your disposal, you can replace the power antenna with a regular one from the comfort of your home, as long as you have the right tools and a replacement antenna close at hand.