Reader Question: Antenna Removal?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Sanjay asks: Do you happen to have some idea on how I can remove the GPS antenna from my 2019 Toyota 4Runner? I looked around and asked the technicians at my Toyota dealership, but failed to get a satisfactory answer.

My reply: Your Toyota, like most new cars, has a “shark” fin on the roof instead of the once-upon-a-time mast antenna or the filament embedded in the windshield. It can be removed but doing so will of course mean no radio signal and also no GPS as well as the loss of other “telematics” functions , including possibly over-the-air updates for your vehicle’s suite of apps.

This unplugging can be desirable, of course, if you prefer to run incognito – and untracked. Eliminating the antenna ought not to affect the other functions of the vehicle.

The antenna is removable but to access the underside of it you generally have to go through the roof – so to speak. Meaning, the headliner has to be dropped at least enough to access the wires and fasteners, etc. You can then disconnect the antenna and reinstall the fin to maintain the appearance of the vehicle. A shop manual for your Toyota will tell you how to loosen/lower the headliner (including where the attachment points are). It’s not a technically difficult job but it is a PITAS job. If you prefer to avoid the PITAS you could take the vehicle to a shop that does car upholstery and have them do it. The disconnecting part is easy; it’s the getting to it that’s hard!

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