The car antenna mast is responsible for receiving signals you hear on your radio. It tends to deteriorate easily since it is exposed to the open environment. A mast sticking out also risks being broken when it is accidentally bent. Here are a few things to consider when buying a replacement for your stock antenna mast.
Since these masts stick out of the car, the material of the mast can affect the overall look of the whole car as well. Most antenna masts are sold either in a rubber, black, steel, or chrome finish. Rubber and black masts have a laid-back look while steel and chrome finish gives flash and shine. Try to sample different styles on your car and choose what looks best.
Replacements are sold in different lengths. While the stock usually reaches only up to 6-inches, aftermarket masts can extended from 8 up to 18 inches in length. Bigger is better. A longer rod improves the reception of the signal. But be careful that an increase in length also means an increase in the risk of damage the mast faces.
There is also a practical aspect in the picking process. Factor in as well the positioning of the antenna when buying a new mast. Antennas can be attached on a car's front or rear fender, or on the roof. A long, swaying, and shiny mast on the front might be distracting for the driver. A long antenna on the roof might affect a car's vertical clearance as well. You wouldn't want your new antenna to rub against carpark ceilings, trees, or road signs.
Metal antennas can be bought as power antennas that retract when the radio is not in use. This is a good way of protecting the mast against environmental hazards. Visually speaking, retracted antennas also make the car look better compared to a car with a big mast sticking out.