Do I Need OnStar to Use Navigation [08 Unique Features of OnStar]

OnStar is a daughter company of General Motors (GM), founded in 1996.

OnStar is a subscription-based vehicle communication system that provides turn-by-turn navigation, in-vehicle safety, security, and emergency services.

Due to its subscription fees, many users aren’t sure whether OnStar navigation is worth it.

In some cases, users only want navigation for driving and don’t need emergency or other OnStar services.

So the question naturally arises, do I need OnStar to use navigation and pay for it?

To clear up the confusion, I’ve discussed the advantages of OnStar and what to do if you don’t want to pay only for navigation.

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What is the Difference Between Navigation and OnStar Navigation?

The main characteristic of OnStar is the turn-by-turn navigation system.

The meaning of turn-by-turn navigation is that drivers receive turn-by-turn directions through visual or voice instructions.

OnStar will provide you with street names and distances between your destinations during this navigation process.

By doing this, OnStar gives you a real-time voice command service that simplifies travel.

On the other hand, navigation is a free system that provides routes and directions on screen.

Although OnStar has some extra features, it is a subscription-based navigation system.

OnStar’s current monthly subscription fee is $24.99 for a standard package.

The additional cost reduced the gap between navigation and OnStar navigation significantly.

Do I Need OnStar to Use Navigation?

Yes, you will need to have OnStar navigation if you want the premium services, but if you want a free navigation system, you will have to choose another option.

As part of the OnStar premium service, you will receive 08 unique safety and security features.

Let’s discuss these 08 unique features in detail.

01. Stolen Vehicle Support

Stolen Vehicle Support

In terms of vehicle security, OnStar provides the most reliable service.

It has a well-known stolen vehicle support system for quickly locating and returning stolen vehicles.

Once you report your vehicle stolen, OnStar tracks it using GPS.

OnStar slows down the car, so the thief cannot drive far.

Through a remote ignition block system, they stop the engine from restarting after it’s been turned off.

02. Automatic Crash Response

Automatic Crash Response

Nobody should be left in the dark after an accident.

That’s why OnStar provides an automatic crash response service.

Unfortunately, if you’re in an accident, OnStar sensors alert the service provider so that they can help you with the necessary steps.

03. Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance

If you experience mechanical problems, like tire failures, running out of fuel, or other issues while driving on the highway, OnStar can help you.

OnStar will send help through their service if you are in trouble on the road.

04. Emergency Services

Emergency Services

It is frustrating when you require emergency service, but no mechanic is available to assist you.

If you have subscribed to emergency services, OnStar will help you in this emergency.

OnStar assigns trained advisors to help in such emergencies.

05. OnStar Guardian App

Fast service is available with the OnStar Guardian app.

The app lets you control your vehicle’s primary safety services from your smartphone.

06. Unlimited In-Vehicle Data

Through this service, you will get unlimited data access in your vehicle.

You can connect around seven devices with this fast and reliable Wi-Fi.

07. Remote Access

You can remotely access your vehicle from your mobile app if you have OnStar.

You can use your smartphone to start the engine, check tire pressure and fuel level, set the radio, and perform other tasks.

08. In-Vehicle App

You can access your in-vehicle app to get information about the weather, real-time traffic updates, and maps.

You can also use Pandora, Spotify, and navigation.

You can ask Alexa or use your vehicle display to access this app.

Besides all these services, OnStar provides Alexa built-in, HD streaming, Super Cruise, etc.

What OnStar Plan Do I Need to Use My Navigation?

OnStar offers 04 different monthly subscription plans.

  1. Premium subscription plan ($49.99 per month)
  2. Essential subscription plan ($39.99 per month)
  3. Safety and Security subscription plan ($29.99 per month)
  4. Connected Vehicle subscription plan ($24.99 per month)

As the price increases, the number of features and services increases.

Premium has the most features out of all the subscription plans.

The premium plan includes the following services and features:

  • Stolen vehicle assistance
  • Automatic crash response roadside assistance
  • In-vehicle apps
  • OnStar Guardian app
  • Emergency services
  • Unlimited in-vehicle data
  • Remote vehicle access

As a mechanic, I suggest you use the premium plan for navigation, as it provides you with all types of access.

Chevy Navigation without OnStar

Yes, it is possible to use Chevy navigation without OnStar.

There are alternative ways to get navigation if you want to avoid paying for premium services.

Generally, you can use OnStar’s basic service for the first 5 years without any charge.

New Chevy vehicles come with a built-in navigation system.

You can use the onboard navigation system if you cancel OnStar or the trial period is over.

OnStar allows you to connect Apple or Google services for directions.

Many drivers use this option instead of paying the monthly subscription fee.

Some alternative cost-free navigation methods include Google maps, Waze, Apple maps, CoPilot, inRoute, mylink navigation, etc.

Can Police Track Cars with OnStar?

Yes, police can track cars with OnStar.

OnStar helps the police quickly find and recover your lost car when you inform them and file a missing car report.

Typically, OnStar uses GPS technology to locate the vehicle and report it to the authorities.

In some cases, OnStar uses a remote ignition prevent/block system, where the thief fails to restart the vehicle again.

Sometimes they use remote access to slow down the stolen vehicle, so that police can reach the car quickly and retrieve it.


Why do I need OnStar to use Chevy Navigation system?

You need to use OnStar in Chevy vehicles to add additional features to the navigation system.

OnStar provides attractive services like an automatic crash response, emergency service, turn-by-turn navigation, and more.

Does GM navigation require a subscription?

Yes, the updated version of GM Navigation requires a subscription.

Basic services are free for five years, but you must pay for the navigation system and additional features.

GM’s updated navigation system works like OnStar’s.

How much is OnStar navigation per month?

OnStar provides different purchasing plans with additional features and services.

OnStar basic navigation costs $24.99 per month.

Their minimum monthly subscription plan is $14.99, with a remote access feature.

How do I activate my Chevy navigation system?

Activating Chevy Navigation is very easy.

On the infotainment system homepage, you can find a NAV icon.

Press the icon to activate the Chevy navigation system and pick your targeted destination.

Then you will see the driving directions on your screen and get a voice command.

You can mute the voice commands if you want.

Do I lose navigation if I cancel OnStar?

Yes, if you cancel OnStar, all types of OnStar services will be deactivated.

You cannot use them at all.

Is there a free version of OnStar?

You will get the OnStar basic plan for free for five years.

But there is no free version of OnStar to use after five years.

Is OnStar ending in 2022?

OnStar discontinued its hands-free calling service in February 2022.

All US network companies have already transitioned from 2G to 4G and 5G by December 2022.

So OnStar service is no longer available for GM vehicles using 2G networks after December 2022.

Therefore, OnStar for older GM vehicles ended in 2022.

But the subscriber can use emergency services by dialing 1.888. 466.7827 to reach an OnStar advisor.

What is replacing OnStar?

A report came out in mid-2021 saying Maps+ powered by Mapbox would replace OnStar.

However, OnStar is still available, and nothing has replaced it.

What happens when OnStar ends?

Due to the sunset of 2G, you may not be able to use OnStar in your vehicle if the vehicle has a 2G connection.

However, you can continue to get 24/7 emergency services by calling OnStar advisor (1.888. 466.7827) or via the OnStar Guardian application.

Can I disable OnStar in my car?

Yes, you can disable OnStar in your car.

You can ask the service center to unsubscribe from OnStar or remove the fuse, and you can disable OnStar.

But these processes don’t disable OnStar completely, as OnStar can still track your movements.

Physically removing OnStar is the only way to disable OnStar completely and permanently.

Why is GM making OnStar mandatory?

GM makes OnStar $1500 for a 3-year subscription plan mandatory for all new GMC, Cadillac, and Buick models.

They believe it is more convenient for their users and gives them a smoother experience.

Can you use the my Chevy app without OnStar?

No, without OnStar, you cannot use the myChevy app.

You need an active OnStar plan to access the vehicle’s different features.

Final Thoughts

Now, you know the features and benefits of OnStar premium services and what to do if you don’t want to spend money on navigation.

OnStar provides a lot of exciting services that are very helpful when driving.

Now the ultimate decision is yours-whichever you want to choose.


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