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2017 Any way to fix awful XM reception?

16646 Views 26 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  vincefl954
I saw an old thread or two about this but I thought I'd start this one because I'm thinking of dropping the headliner and getting to the XM antenna to see if there's anything I can do to boost the signal. Has anyone tried anything?

I live in the country and didn't really pay much attention because the only place it went out was along a ~1 mile stretch where there are high power lines on the side of the road. But... I've been doing more driving down in the city this week and just about every city road that has power lines on one or both sides causes the XM radio to lose signal. It's so bad that either I'm going to stop using XM or I have to fix it somehow. None of my prior cars had this problem in the same places.

So I guess I'll start by asking, has anyone tackled this problem and gotten any results? Of course, the car is under warranty (2017) but from the older threads it doesn't seem like much relief is to be had by taking it to the dealer. I'm hesitant to do that anyway because it makes me cringe thinking about the dealer tearing into things.

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Just as a data point, I get virtually perfect reception on all XM channels except when I drive into a parking garage, and 2 other specific spots: one is under a rail road overpass, and one is as I pass through a somewhat deep stream valley with heavy tree cover overhead. It will drop out for ~1 second at those spots. Otherwise it is solid.
SXM is satellite based. So if you can't see the sky, you aren't going to get reception.

In general, the radio in this car sucks. SXM, FM, all get poor reception. Haven't we already discussed on this forum that the Volt is not a luxury car?
I'm in FL. Sats are high in the sky and none of these areas have an obstructed view! We're talking open sky w/no or one story buildings set back off the road. Would you consider a 2013 Kia Soul a "luxury" vehicle? Because that car never loses SXM signal: in the same spots nor anywhere else for that matter. If a Kia Soul with a dollar store radio can do it, I don't see why a GM vehicle with their flagship (decent) infotainment system can't.

Hey, the Korean's make most of the best electronics these days... :)
AFAIK, the XM satellites are closer to the equator so you should get a better signal in the south. But even if that's backwards, that explanation still requires a reason as to why all the other vehicles I've had in this same area in the past 10 years have no problem, yet the Volt does. 2005 Corvette, 2008 Solstice, 2010 GMC Acadia, 2009 Challenger, 2015 Challenger, and 2013 Kia Soul: all zero problems in the same area.

There's a very easy explanation. Lousy radio.
If you really want to figure it out, go to the local dealer and listen to a radio on the lot and compare.
I'll take it to the dealer soon. The problem is going to be repeating the problem at the dealer as it is sporadic. I guess I'll have to make note of the areas where it drops out on the way to the dealer and maybe tell them to try it in those locations.

If every Volt radio on the lot performs as poorly as yours, you are SOL. If not, you have a case.
Here's the dirty little secret: More people receive SXM from their terrestrial repeaters than from the satellites themselves. (The repeaters are in urban areas, which is where most of their customers are.)
Those repeaters are not getting into tunnels, underpasses, parking garages and such which is where you get most of your dropouts in urban areas. Minor coverage issues (trees, etc.) are not a problem.
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