The antenna is an electronic device usually made of a thin steel tube. There are internal, external, and satellite car antennas. The first type is found in either a trunk, dashboard, or windshield; the external unit can be made of metal or fiberglass and is typically installed near the vehicle's hood or trunk. The satellite antenna, which allows for superior sound quality, is on the roof of a car.

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Believe it or not, the first car antennas were nearly 45 in. long when fully extended and had to be manually adjusted when, e.g., entering a garage. Newer vehicles are equipped with more low-profile antennas, whether they're built-in or hood- or roof-mounted. A car antenna is usually attached to the receiver by wires and works with an amplifier. It's an electronic device that is used for increasing the power of radio-frequency signals, AM and FM.

It's no news for many of you that car antennas can be adapted to increase the entertainment value of the radio. Such boosters improve reception in areas with a poor radio signal. Some of you may have heard of an FM modulator. That device is attached directly to the car's antenna unit, creating a connection for MP3 players and various video machines. When we talk about GPS systems, we should consider special antennas that receive navigation signals. There are also units incorporating radio signals and the satellite GPS.

No matter how important the antenna is to the radio's function, it's a very fragile part of your vehicle. A roof/hood-mounted unit can be snapped off in a car wash or your child can pull on the antenna and bend it. Even worse if the device was affected in a major car accident because you'll never bring it back to its normal function. You're lucky to own a vehicle with a built-in antenna, though, it's apt to failure too. Why? Because it may simply refuse to operate after prolonged use. But regardless of what kind of antenna issues can arise, there's always a way out. And you're quite right if you mean replacement!

Depending on how complex the case with your antenna is, there are two ways to follow: a do-it-yourself repair job or a visit to a local mechanic. You can diagnose the source of the problem yourself and fix the unit in your garage. Just strictly follow the manufacturer's instructions and prepare a set of the necessary tools. However, if you are not inclined to attempt the repair yourself, let mechanics do wonders for you! They will definitely deal with the task like that and help you save your time.

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1999 Ford Expedition
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