General Motors developed the satellite-based communication system known as OnStar.
Over one million active OnStar subscribers exist throughout the United States and Canada.
Besides, OnStar provides more features and services that make it so popular.
OnStar is known to nearly every vehicle owner these days.
To determine whether OnStar is worth it or not, I have covered the benefits and drawbacks of the OnStar service in this article.
What is OnStar?
OnStar is a subsidiary of General Motors that provides communication, security, and many more services.
It was founded in 1996 as a collaboration between GM, Electronic Data Systems, and Hughes Electronics Corporation.
OnStar wanted to connect all the cars remotely and provide services in an emergency.
At that time, with just a button push, one could lock and unlock a car and get help from an OnStar operator.
OnStar functioned like an app when apps were only a concept.
They increased their services and modernized with time.
Even after a quarter century, OnStar is popular among people.
By 2021, OnStar will have more than 22 million connected vehicles on the road.
OnStar is providing subscription-based services globally, especially in America, Canada, Europe, Brazil, China, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, and some Gulf countries.
How Does OnStar Work?
OnStar is a telemetric service that provides information in a mobile environment.
Telemetric services are vehicle systems that combine GPS and mobile technologies with onboard electronics.
It includes safety, communication, entertainment, vehicle diagnostics, and emergency aid.
Cars with OnStar have a small panel located in the dashboard, rearview mirror, or overhead console.
The console has buttons for making calls, contacting OnStar advisors, and accessing emergency services.
You can get OnStar by purchasing any GM vehicle or installing the OnStar Guardian app in non-GM vehicles.
You need to subscribe to one of the available service plans.
OnStar consists of cellular, GPS, telemetry, and voice command technology.
All these technologies work together to track your vehicle and provide you with the necessary services included in your OnStar plan.
10 Benefits of OnStar
OnStar has 10 major benefits, including vehicle tracking, crash response, remote access, diagnosis, navigation, voice command, roadside assistance, etc.
Let’s discuss 10 benefits of OnStar that can save your life and time.
1. Vehicle Tracking
OnStar provides vehicle tracking service, which is very useful when your vehicle is lost or stolen.
You can track your vehicle’s location whenever you need to.
You can also monitor the speed, distance traveled, etc.
2. Network Connection
OnStar provides 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot service in the vehicle.
Passengers can always stay connected to the internet.
They can also enjoy online streaming and other entertainment on the go.
3. Crash Response
Accidents or crashes may happen to anyone at any time.
OnStar sends emergency services when your car crashes or an accident occurs.
OnStar’s crash response service is life-saving and significantly impacts your life.
4. Remote Access
OnStar provides you with remote access to your vehicle.
You can lock, unlock, start, and find your vehicle if it’s stolen or if you need to locate it for any reason.
5. Vehicle Diagnostics
You can diagnose your vehicle with OnStar.
OnStar collects data from the ECU and detects possible problems with your vehicle.
So you can solve possible issues before they become major issues in order to protect your vehicle from major damage.
OnStar offers a real-time, turn-by-turn, accurate navigation service.
OnStar’s navigation service includes real-time traffic updates, alternative route suggestions, weather updates, etc.
It suggests and reserves nearby hotels, motels, restaurants, etc., for you.
7. Voice Command
Eligible vehicles can use voice commands to control the vehicle.
OnStar uses Alexa to serve this feature.
8. Stolen Vehicle Assistance
OnStar helps you locate your stolen vehicle.
These days, OnStar can slow down the vehicle for you.
OnStar also assists law enforcement agencies in recovering it.
9. OnStar Guardian App
Both GM and non-GM vehicles can use the OnStar service with the OnStar Guardian app.
OnStar allows you to access its services with your smartphone.
You can have all the OnStar features even if you are a motorcycle rider.
10. Roadside Assistance
OnStar provides roadside assistance 24/7 in cases of emergencies.
Roadside assistance includes flat tires, jump-starts, towing services, and fuel delivery.
Note: Make sure to know about all the features before you buy any OnStar plan.
Is OnStar Worth It?
OnStar provides plenty of features for different subscription plans.
At first, only GM vehicles were allowed to use the service, but all vehicles can now use OnStar.
OnStar provides a three-month free trial for both GM and non-GM vehicles, so you can decide whether you want to be a subscriber or not.
Moreover, they provide some basic service plans on new GM vehicles for free for 5 years.
By 2016, OnStar had more than 7.2 million users.
OnStar has been popular for more than a quarter century and is growing.
There are also some negative aspects of OnStar.
OnStar charges $14.99 monthly for a basic plan and up to $49.99 monthly for a premium plan.
But many vehicle owners spend more money on snacks, so their subscription fee is not a big issue.
Additionally, all new GM vehicles cost an additional $1,500 for a three-year premium OnStar service.
Customers aren’t happy about this mandatory 1500-dollar extra cost.
Aside from the mandatory $1500 fee, OnStar is lifesaving for its emergency and crash response features.
Roadside assistance can save you precious time when there is an emergency.
OnStar also provides an anti-theft feature, so stealing your vehicle won’t be easy.
OnStar’s network connectivity feature is a game changer for any long trip.
Turn-by-turn navigation helps you reach your destination without any issues.
That is why, aside from the monthly subscription fee, OnStar worth it.
General Motors wanted to connect all the vehicles through OnStar.
Now, OnStar has a huge number of users and is popular.
Every service has its own benefits and drawbacks, and OnStar is not exceptional.
There are a few drawbacks too, which are not enough compared to its features and services.
I think using the OnStar service is worth the money if you don’t have any financial issues.