OnStar | 10 Things You Didn’t Know

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Odds are you’ve probably heard of OnStar before.

Maybe you own a GM vehicle with that little blue button up near the rear view mirror? And even if you’ve used the OnStar service, we’re betting there are a few things about OnStar you DIDN’T know?

I was able to attend a press trip with OnStar to learn about their newest technologies for 2014. Here are a few things I didn’t know:

  1. What Does It Cost Anyway? And Why Should I Pay For It?

    OnStar has two plans available for your vehicle – Safe & Sound and Directions & Connections. The Safe & Sound plan costs: $19.95/month and includes all of OnStar’s emergency and security services; – Automatic Crash Response, Roadside Assistance, Hands-Free Calling, Remote Door Unlock, Vehicle Diagnostics, and Stolen Vehicle Assistance.The Directions & Connections plan includes all of the services from the Safe & Sound plan, as well as unlimited Turn-by-Turn Navigation for $28.90 per month. You will save if you sign up for one, two or three year plans as well. The peace of mind of the safety plan is well worth the cost and if you’ve ever been lost and your cell phone’s GPS isn’t working, then having help just a little blue button away is priceless! Your car will automatically ‘talk’ to the folks at OnStar if you are ever in a crash where your airbags deploy, without you doing ANYTHING. Ensuring emergency services will be on the way faster than any other way.

  2. Did you know you can make direct phone calls with OnStar?

    You can purchase hands-free calling minutes for your car (separate from your cell phone plan). It relies on a cellular connection that is built in to your vehicle designed for better connections and fewer dropped calls. You can make calls by pushing the voice command button and saying the phone number or the stored contact you would like to call. There have been a number of instances where an OnStar connected vehicle has been able to connect victims of a crisis with help and loved ones when a cell phone couldn’t.During the Boston Marathon tragedy people were able to make calls via OnStar when their cell phones were unable to get through. Read about additional OnStar Hands-Free Stories here and here.

  3. Have you seen the cool new OnStar Commercials? Any guess who the voice belongs to?


    I THOUGHT I knew that voice??
    It’s John Cusack!
    See all the other great new videos on the OnStar Youtube Channel.

  4. OnStar is used heavily for Good Samaritan Calls.

    There have been more than 700,000 Good Samaritan calls made by OnStar subscribers to date (more than 6,000 in September 2013 alone).  These mostly involve drivers pushing their buttons to report an accident or request emergency services for others.  There are some great stories on the Connections blog – http://www.onstarconnections.com/tags/good-samaritan/

  5. Just how many calls does OnStar handle anyway?

    A lot more than I thought!!There are 2 calls every second, 185,000 every day.   These are calls of all types including turn by turn directions, remote unlock requests and emergency services.5 million button pushes every monthApprox. 155,000 remote door unlocks per monthNearly 78,000 emergency responses per monthApprox. 4,000 Automatic Crash Responses per month

  6. Did you know you can have access to OnStar even if you don’t own a GM vehicle?

    Turns out there is a rear view mirror you can install on your car with the little blue button ready for action. It’s called FMV  (For My Vehicle) and it costs around $99. What a great gift idea for a new teen driver, a graduation present or for the college student on your list? The pricing plans are similar to the regular OnStar service. Click to learn more about the FMV OnStar Mirror.

  7. You can record OnStar Calls, then play back later.

    No need to pull over to take notes during your call with an #OnStar #Advisor. You can record and play back the call to hear Hands-Free calling instructions, driving directions or other information. During the call, press your blue button to start recording, and press it again to stop. Then hit the phone button and say “Advisor Playback” to hear the recording.

  8. OnStar receives a substantial number of suicide related calls.

    This was a big surprise to me. But they have created a plan to help people: OnStar has a relationship with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.  If a motorist mentions being despondent or depressed, the OnStar advisor will connect them directly with the help they need through the hotline.  If there is a threat of imminent danger, OnStar will contact 911 right away. For more information about the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, please visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.

  9. OnStar has created a huge library of Real Stories. 

    Real people who have been saved by OnStar in one way or another. Go. Get a HUGE pile of tissues before clicking this link. I’m WARNING you.Real Stories By Onstar

  10. And the Big Announcement! OnStar is going mobile with their new RemoteLink App. And on new 2014 vehicles it will be a free service for 5 Years!

GM announced earlier this year that it will offer some of its most popular RemoteLink Mobile App services standard for five years on new vehicles purchased in the US or Canada.  This is the broadest mobile app offering in the industry – available on the full range of 2014 vehicles – that’s 36 models.

You’ll be able to use your smartphone to lock, unlock, activate horn & lights and remote vehicle start (if equipped from the factory), you’ll have access to the Assist and Vehicle tab giving VIN, dealer info and your OnStar account number are also available.

More Info about OnStar RemoteLink
Onstar Remotelink App 2014

The full-functional version of RemoteLink includes these services plus gives customers the ability to send navigation directions to their car and access an up-to-date health report of their vehicle anytime they need it, including fuel tank level and range, remaining oil life, current and recommended tire pressure and lifetime average miles-per-gallon that’s accurate as of the last vehicle start.  The larger set of services offered by the existing RemoteLink Mobile App is available only during the OnStar trial period or if the customer chooses a paid OnStar subscription.

Why Moms Love OnStar

I spoke with several moms who wouldn’t drive without OnStar. Why I wondered? I mean my cell phone can give me directions right… and I can call if I’m in an emergency?

Well… that’s the whole point.

There are many situations where you can’t call. Or your GPS doesn’t work. And simply to have the peace of mom-mind knowing exactly where your teenager is, and that if anything bad were to happen… OnStar would know BEFORE you did!

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in a weekend of learning as OnStar’s guest; OnStar provided my travel and accommodations for this event. Observations and opinions are all my own. 

Carissa Rogers was a molecular biologist in her former life, but now she is the chief researcher of bloggy... More about Carissa Rogers

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