How to Replace a Power Antenna Mast (Toyota – Lexus)

The sign at the entrance to the automatic car wash says, “Remove antenna or turn off radio for before entering. We are not responsible for any damages.” You figure this sign was merely a suggestion and you head on in listening to the last minute of your favorite song. By the time you hit the drying cycle, all you hear is *pshhhhhhh* static. You look over and sure enough, your power antenna is gone. The horror before you can be fear-inspiring, but do not fret, replacing your power antenna is easy as finding a replacement and following a couple of steps.

  • First, if there is leftover power antenna, from the old one that snapped off, grab your needle-nose pliers. There is a retainer directly below the piece of the broken power antenna, which you need to remove. Be careful with your pliers and their sharp metal edges, as you could slip off the bolt and scrape your car and your car’s paint. While you are taking the bolt off, listen for a sound from about 7” below the power antenna. If your stereo is turned on and off, you should hear the motor that works your power antenna. If you don’t hear it, then your broken power antenna mast is the least of your problems.
  • Second, after you have loosened the retainer, go ahead and take it off. This may take the whole top part of the antenna mast with it, so don’t be alarmed if this happens. Once you’ve made it to this step, you may want to ask for assistance from a friend. You will need them to be inside the vehicle to turn the stereo on and off, while you are outside with the power antenna mast. When you hear the motor running, you should be able to remove the remaining part of the power antenna mast.
  • Third, when you have pulled the power antenna mast out, it should have a nylon cable running from it. If it does not, then there could be two different explanations. One, and the preferred circumstance, is that the nylon cord fell out with the rest of the antenna, back when it broke off; or Two, it is stuck within the motor assembly, and will keep you from immediately installing the new power antenna. You will still want to try the next step, installing the new power antenna, before attempting to disassemble the motor assembly only to find out it was the first reason.

    Broken Power Antenna Mast? Here's a Four-Step Plan!

    Broken Power Antenna Mast? Here’s a Four-Step Plan!

  • Fourth, installing the new power antenna involves sticking the long nylon cable in the through the mast. If the old power antenna mast does have a nylon cable, make sure the new one is the same length. If they are not the same length, this means there is probably a small piece still in the motor assembly that you will have to pull out. If the old cable and the new cable are the same length, then you should be ok installing the new power antenna mast. Once you have the new mast nylon cable inside, have your buddy turn the radio off. Jiggle the cord around to try to catch the motor. Once it catches, put the mast down in the hole and put the sleeve over it. If the antenna stops halfway down, this may imply a problem or it could mean that it didn’t catch the motor correctly. Extend the mast and install the retainer. Have your buddy turn the stereo on and then off again, and the mast should fully retract. If the mast doesn’t fully retract, you will need to disassemble the motor assembly to remove the old cable.

If you follow these simple steps to replace your power antenna, you will be back to listening to the tunes you enjoy. Remember the next time you go through a car wash to follow the signs and turn the radio off, this way, you’ll be able to listen to it loud and static-free for many road trips to come.

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