If your car radio's antenna wire is cut or severed, you can repair it yourself by soldering on a replacement adapter end. This minHour article will show you how to use a simple antenna adapter to repair a broken car radio antenna wire.
Gather your materials.
Before you get started, make sure you have the following materials handy:
- Antenna adapter: These adapters have both male and female ends. You’ll be cutting off the female end of the adapter and soldering it to the severed adapter end, which would allow you to connect it to the male end of the cable (or vice-versa). You can pick up an antenna adapter at any electronics store, such as Best Buy or Radio Shack.
- Soldering gun or iron
- Razor blade
- Electrical tape or heat shrink
- Zip ties
Turn off the car and disconnect the battery.
This prevents an electrical current from running through any of your car’s wiring.
Cut off the female end of the antenna adapter with a razor blade.
Make sure to give yourself enough length (several inches) of cable at the end of the adapter head so you can solder it to the severed part of the antenna wire.
- Depending on your issue, you may need to cut off and attach the male end instead. It’s also possible that you’ll need both ends—you can then attach the ends to either side of the severed wire and connect them together.
Strip the shielding from the end of the antenna adapter.
Gently pull the shielding away from the cut end of the antenna adapter to reveal the thin metal wire inside. You’ll want to pull away the black shielding as well as the inner plastic shielding.
- The wire at the center is thin and fragile, so make sure not to sever it.
- You’ll want about an inch of wire exposed.
Strip the shielding away from the end of the severed antenna wire.
Just as you did with the cut-off antenna adapter end, expose about an inch of wire at the end of the broken antenna wire by gently peeling away its shielding.
Wrap the inner wires of both ends and solder them together.
To do this, just wrap the exposed inner wire from the antenna adapter around the exposed inner wire of the broken antenna. Once wrapped, solder together to create a solid connection.
Wrap the pulled-away shielding around the connection.
The goal is to try to protect the soldered wires from the heatproof tape you’ll be applying.
Tape up the connection.
Just one layer of tape will do for now, as you’ll be adding more soon.
Align a zip tie lengthwise with the soldered area and tape it into place.
The zip tie will be there to splint the soldered area to further protect the delicate wire inside. Wrap the electrical tape or heat shrink tightly around the connection and zip tie.
- Optionally, you can also wrap some additional speaker wire (if you have some) around the entire new connection to thicken the wire. If you do this, wrap the ends of the extra wire around any exposed wire ends on either side of the connection.
Wrap tape or heat shrink around the entire connection.
If any wire is poking out, smooth it down first, and then wrap the entire area so that everything is covered securely.
- If the connector is larger than the heat shrink tubing, it might be hard to put on. Use electrical tape instead if this is the case.
Tie a zip tie around both ends of the tape.
This prevents the tape from moving and exposing any of the wires inside.
- If you need to add a new male end to the other side of the severed wire, you can do so using the same process.
Plug the male end into the female end.
Now that you’ve soldered a new adapter end onto the severed wire, plugging the two connectors together will give you a solid antenna connection.
- Don’t forget to reconnect your car battery before giving your newly-repaired antenna wire a try!