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2017 Any way to fix awful XM reception?

16688 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.

Thanks,
Mike
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I pulled down the headliner in the back today. I could see the two sets of wires going into the shark fin. I assume one is probably FM and the other XM. Both plugs were tight but they were routed right next to some other wires. I moved them away a little so they weren't running parallel to the other wires. Will see if that makes any difference tomorrow. Also, I had SXM send a refresh signal. Don't see how that could help but there were a number of reports saying it helped reception for people. Maybe placebo since I thought a refresh did nothing but open up channel numbers based on subscription.

Mike
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.

Mike
Satellite Radio signal reception in North America is affected by how far south you are relative to the satellites' track. In some locations terrestrial repeaters are used to augment what would otherwise be a weak satellite radio signal. The Gulf Coast could be one of those areas with marginal satellite radio reception.

Some years ago I tried to used a Sirius Radio receiver from home, this was in South Florida. I had to return the radio as I could not receive the signal from the home location even with an optimal window exposure.
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.

Mike
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.

Mike
This is probably true, although I once had a vent problem on a Honda. The tech checked another car and said they all do that. I said, yeah, I know... they are all broken (and proved it). He fixed it under warranty. And he even had to drill a hole and add a screw that was never designed into the car.
I'd take a rogue screw right in the middle of the roof if it'd fix the problem. ;) Oh well, time is scarce for me right now but hopefully by the end of next week I can take it in.

Mike
You can also stream XM with your subscription if you have the XM app. This might work for you.
Thanks for that detailed response! I picked out these last two sentences because I did that just last night: I activated the online streaming for my XM account. I downloaded the app and it works fine but I haven't tried it in the car yet: as I understand it, you can't operate it from Android Auto. Do you know if, using the XM app, you can have it stream in the car and also be able to operate it via the infotainment display as you would an Android Auto app? It becomes a lot less useful to me if I have to listen to it with the aux cord and I have to activate the phone display in order to see the song names. The artist/song name are important to me because when I hear something new, I like to make note of it so I can go watch the video, etc. later.

Thanks,
Mike
1 - 7 of 27 Posts
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