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1995 ford ranger–4.0–at ac–the am-fm stock ford radio has lots of static unless I am a mile or 2 from tampa–It also picks up static from the ac fan when on–If I turn off the engine and put the ign switch on accessory the radio plays ok—if I turn the ign on without starting the engine there is static–the dealer and a local radio shoppe say they have never had the problem and suggested I buy a new radio …any help? thanks

Did they check to see that the antenna was properly isolated from ground? Did they check to be sure the antenna was properly plugged into the stock radio? If so, then take their advice and buy a new one. It’s usually cheaper than fixing the one you have and will probably have a CD player too.

Generally radios either work or they don’t. Most likely you have an antenna problem. If the problem is just that the antenna isn’t plugged in, a new radio will fix the problem, because they will plug the antenna into the radio this time.

If you have any mechanical skills, remove the trim from the console, remove the screws holding the radio in and pull it forward. There will probably be enough slack on the wires that you can see the back of the radio. If the antenna – typically a quarter inch thick black cable – is not plugged in, plug it in. If it is plugged in, push it in to make sure it is seated. If that doesn’t fix things, remove the antenna and plug a four foot length of wire into the antenna socket. If the radio now works, something is wrong with the car’s antenna.

This is a puzzle because I wouldn’t think that the radio would pull in the stations with the key in accessory position if the antenna was bad. The other suggestions, though, are worth a try. I wonder if, when you turn the key to ignition, some accessory also comes on–perhaps a fan motor? A light where the contact in the socket is causing an arc?