With all the state-of-the-art audio enhancements that you can rig your car with, nothing can still beat the dependability of a car FM/AM radio. You may already have a highly-efficient and outstanding stereo system with all the perks like a killer MP3 and CD player but having a radio signal can keep you up to date with the traffic, give you the latest news and entertaining music from your local FM/AM radio stations.
But having a good radio signal still depends on having a dependable antenna. Without it, your radio is nothing. A car antenna, which can be any electronic structure that is made to radiate or receive radio signals and other electromagnetic waves, is a must for every car.
You may say that your vehicle's stock antenna will do but it won't last that long, may be four to six years. They won't even last that long if you live near the ocean where the salty sea air can easily corrode it. A rusted antenna needs to be immediately replaced because, it won't work that efficiently. And if you're thinking of changing your antenna or even your antenna mast, be sure to get a power antenna or even a high-gain antenna for a sure signal. Also be sure to take note of the materials that were used on the antenna for these can make a big difference on the antenna's reception quality.
Car Antenna Buyer's Guide
Radios were once the main sources of entertainment, and as such, they made their way into automobiles.
Car antennas used to be made out of stainless steel, however, newer ones are now made from a silicon and rubber mix.
There are three types of antenna shapes: tubular, tubular wired, and sharkfin. The main differences between the three are aesthetics and a little bit of aerodynamics.
There are three ways one might install car antennas: using a screw, adhesive, or bolt-on.
Finding the right fit is a necessity when you’re not purchasing a universal fit antenna. CarParts.com has filters that help you narrow down your choices to your car’s year, make, and model.
Before the online streaming platforms of today, people used to spend their time watching the television. However, before the television, the radio was the main source of entertainment. Due to that fact, it was inevitable that it would make its way into automobiles. Until today, radios come as standard in any vehicle, regardless of make and model.
While radios are still in place, car antennas will still need to be installed on cars in order for the radios to pick up radio waves transmitted by the stations. However, did you know that car antennas don’t have to be a straight piece of chrome-wrapped stainless steel? The technologies of today allow consumers to personalize their needs and purchase different types of antennas for different types of people.
What are car antennas made of?
As mentioned above, antennas used to be collapsable rods of stainless steel. This configuration allowed for quick removal and easy storage whenever you wouldn’t need your antenna. Eventually, this style evolved, allowing the antenna to be built into your car’s trunk or roof, depending on your car’s year, model, and make. Withdrawn whenever it wasn’t needed, and appearing whenever you turned on your car radio.
Nowadays, it’s rare to see antennas like this. They are now usually made of rubber and silicon, allowing for better weather-proofing and increased aesthetic appeal. Thanks to its upgraded material composition, newer, more appealing designs have come out, paving the way for the introduction of new types of car antennas.
What are the types of car antennas?
Car antennas today come in different shapes and sizes. What used to be thin, flimsy, and brittle, has evolved into the contrary. Now, due to their improved durability, some can even fold and still work properly. Listed below are the types of antennas you might see today according to shape:
Types of antennas by shape
These are the closest type of car antennas available today relative to the older generation of car antennas. The most notable differences between the two are that newer antenna’s length has noticeably been cut in half and it’s flimsiness as well as its brittleness have been wholly forgotten.
Plain tubular with twisted sides
While very similar to the first type, these antennas are usually shorter in length, while carrying out the same range of effectivity, sometimes more, due to their shape.
As the name suggests, this antenna looks like a shark’s fin resting on top of your car. It’s the most aerodynamic, as well as the most unique design out of the three. Don’t be fooled by its compact size—it can perform as good as, if not better, than the rest of them.
The shape of your car antenna does not directly affect the performance and functionality of your car radio as today’s level of technology breaks certain barriers. What it affects is the aesthetic and appearance of your car, as well as its aerodynamic capabilities regardless of how small its effect may be in that regard.
However, another factor that one may consider in purchasing a new car antenna is how it would be installed. Before you ask how to replace a car antenna, listed below are the modes of installation you can choose from.
Types of antennas by mode of installation
Screw-on antennas are the most common type of antennas in the market today. Most cars manufactured today come with a screw socket made just for the purpose of housing an antenna.
For more universal selections, antennas installed using adhesives are the most readily available in the market. Since it doesn’t need a specific hole to screw itself onto, you are able to place it anywhere you’d like, allowing complete flexibility in terms of application.
This mode of installation is also commonly used for universal antennas. These are more industrial in nature, and will probably offer you a wider range of coverage. The catch is that you will have to drill a hole onto your vehicle. Select this method of installation only if you truly need the wider range of radio stations (which will not necessarily be like those commercial stations you listen to) or if you’re in dire need for industrial-grade antennas.
Choosing the method of installation easiest to you will help define how much you would need to spend to purchase the right one for you. This decision will also determine how much work installing your car antenna will entail depending on how you like it.
Finding the right fit
If you’re planning on buying a car antenna, it’s best to choose one specifically made for your car’s model year and make, and not one made for a general fit. This process can be tedious and time-consuming. However, CarParts.com offers filters that help you narrow down your search to car antennas suitable for your car.
The Automobile Basics: Antenna
Poor radio reception? Then it's high time you checked out your antenna. Chances are, your original equipment has incurred damage after years of exposure to adverse weather conditions. Antennas, which are also called aerials, are designed to allow radio reception. When this component fails, then you can expect to hear nothing but a buzzing sound each time you turn on the radio. And no, switching between stations won't solve your problem. Sometimes when antennas fail, you may still get a bit of reception. But each word or note blasting from your radio may be interspersed with droning or static noise. Now, you wouldn't want to listen to that all day, right? So if you want to restore your radio's function, then it's best that you replace your busted antenna as soon as possible. Don't worry, because there are a lot of aftermarket brands carrying top-quality antennas. So whether you're after power or manual antennas, you won't have a problem finding one that'll work with your ride. The only possible issue you may encounter with a quality, aftermarket antenna is that the component may require some modifications. The good news is that a lot of these antennas are modifiable and may already contain all the materials you need to adjust this component's setting.
Important Facts You Need to Know About Antenna
Having the dashboard's LCD monitor play a DVD while you're driving can pose a great danger not only to you but to other motorists and pedestrians as well. Such gadgets are best left to your passengers for enjoyment, and placed in a location where you can't see it.Your car's radio, meanwhile, lets you keep the boredom at bay without having to take your eyes off the road. To help your radio get the strongest signal, a power antenna is recommended. It's much longer than your car's stock antenna; the added length helps you get a better reception of the airwaves.It also helps when you're driving through gates, tunnels or parking lots with low ceilings. Simply retract the power antenna and you won't have to worry about breaking it. You won't even have to roll down your window because it's automatic.The best part is that it automatically retracts as you turn the ignition off, preventing vandals from taking or damaging it. Interested? Plenty of power antennas are available here at CarParts.com.
• Can capture airwaves a lot better than stock antennas
• Retracts automatically, protecting itself from breakage
• Can be installed in less than an hour