Help us fix our radio antennae so we can listen to your Lousy Show.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm sure you guys will come up with something funny to say about this, but my
wife and I are pretty mad about it. Our 1994 Toyota Camry has a temperamental
power antenna that does not like to come up after the car has been sitting still
in hot weather. It may take 30 seconds or 30 minutes to come up, and, during
this delay, the motor is not straining to push the antenna up. Nothing is

Since it refuses to exhibit this behavior on demand for the dealer mechanics,
they tell me they cannot even try to correct the problem or replace any parts
under warranty, since they can't tell what's defective. I couldn't get any help
from Toyota Customer Service headquarters either. Any ideas or suggestions? --

RAY: Don't worry, Bill. As far as we're concerned, there is nothing funny about
this. I mean, in terms of problems, a non-working radio ranks right up there
with itchy underwear, which as we all know is nothing to joke about.

TOM: Actually, I'd be frosted too, Bill, if I had an almost-new car and I
couldn't listen to the radio when I felt like it.

RAY: We can narrow the problem down to three possibilities for you, Bill. It's
either the switch, the wiring or the antenna motor. And if I was a betting man,
I'd put my money on the antenna motor.

TOM: But you don't have to bet. You can test this theory yourself, Bill, if
you're willing to invest in a nice little 12-volt test light.

RAY: Next time this happens, open the trunk and pull back the cardboard cover
that hides the antenna motor. Then have an assistant turn the radio on and off
while you probe the plug with your test light. If the test light goes on and off
correspondingly, that means that electricity is getting to the motor, and
therefore the motor must be what? Broken!

TOM: If electricity is NOT getting to the motor, then the problem could be in
the wiring, but much more likely, it's a bad switch.

RAY: Once you present your dealer with your irrefutable conclusion, you can ask
him to be a nice guy and try replacing the faulty part for you. Hopefully, he'll
be a little more considerate and give it a try for you.

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