Tell me about On Star

littlebug5June 28, 2005

We just got a new (to us) car which has On Star. I know I can punch the On Star button and a lady will come on to tell us all about their service, but I'd rather hear from somebody who actually has and uses the service. Is it worth it? What does it actually cost? Is it more expensive than if I added another cell phone to the cell phone service I already have? (I don't carry a cell phone now, but I pay for one for my son.)

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timgren

I have subscribed to basic service for 3 years now. They are handy to have.

1. They can track your car if it's stolen, and guide Police to the vehicle location.

2. They contact you if your airbag deploys for any reason.

3. They can run high-level engine diagnosis. ( this is VERY highlevel though. Your car would have to have something definately wrong with it before it would report anything)

4. They can unlock your car if you lock your keys inside.

Just the saftey and security items are my selling points. It's worth it to me.

They have a whole slew of other add-on features. Such as, cell service, news updates, etc etc. None of which add that much value in my opinion.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 1:44PM
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bulldinkie

I have it in my escallade.I like the peace knowing help is at a touch of a button.I used it the other day a ninja motor bike was speeding ...racing,passing all the cars on yellow line I called talked to the police dept in the next town he was heading,They caught up with him.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 2:57PM
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brianl703

In Virginia you can dial #77 or 911 (depending on whether it's an emergency or not) and get connected to the police even on an unactivated cellphone. 911 actually works nationwide on unactivated cellphones.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 3:17PM
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earthworm

2. They contact you if your airbag deploys for any reason.

What good does this do ??
Particularly if you are unconscious or dead ??
Now if they can contact the local ambulance and or police, that would be worthwhile..

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 4:18PM
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christopherh

**Now if they can contact the local ambulance and or police, that would be worthwhile. ***

I keep hearing the commercials and they do in fact contact emergency services if your airbag deploys and you don't answer them. They assume you are unconcious and they call for help. And they can guide the services exactly to where you are.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 7:36AM
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bulldinkie

I do not have a cell phone Do not want one.Thats one reason I like having onstar.If hubby needs to reach me.I also have a serious health problem.So knowing I have this gives me some peace.
Yes if your bag does blow.They know ,they call you and ask do you need help.If you can talk you tell them.If you are unconsiuos they ask if no answer they send out emergency vehicle.
I accidently touched the emergency button,I hung up quick.Within 1 minute they called me back asking if I need help.
In a real; emergency you would probably have to find phone to call.Onstar you touch button on rearview mirror.You can also push button on steering wheel.Which would you really rather have.
If say your one dash light comes on you can call and they will tell you if you need to get service immediately or why its on.
and IF I need to make a call its there.You do get your own phone number,reservations etc.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 8:10AM
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akastj_northern_ca

FWIW.

You may want to read the OnStar article, dated 6/27/05, linked below...

TJ

Here is a link that might be useful: Autoweek.com / As GM pushes OnStar in its vehicles, other automakers are dropping the service

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 8:59AM
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brianl703

Well, since 911 works on unactivated cell phones,and since old unactivated cell phones can be gotten for under $20 on Ebay, if not more like $5, it's cheap enough to buy one to stick in the glove compartment just for emergencies.

Then you always know where it is.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 10:16AM
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bulldinkie

I can say one thing for sure Ive never had problems getting through on onstar.Seeing problems with cell phones not having service here and not there no I want assurance I can get help when needed.GM didnt push it on me ,They said it was there if you want it, we did.Do what you want Im keeping it

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:40PM
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brianl703

Onstar uses the cellular network. If there is no coverage for your cell phone, there won't be any for Onstar, either.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 6:34PM
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johndeere

How can a unactivated cell phone be used to call 911?I have a few old cell phones laying around and I do not think they can do anything more then take up space.My parents have On Star and I feel its a good idea for the elderly.Only thing is its another monthly bill.Just like XM radio is nice but another bill just like a cell phone.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 12:23AM
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brianl703

An unactivated cellphone can be used to call 911 because FCC mandated that the cellular carriers process those calls from unactivated phones.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2005 at 4:07PM
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christopherh

Just like XM radio is nice but another bill just like a cell phone.

I'm gonna get satellite radio in my next truck! In my business as a crafter I travel a lot in the northeast and I find that getting my favorite radio program can be frustrating when the signal fades. Also my favorite music (country) isn't available in the NY metro area when I go there and the oldies station has gone away. So for those of us that travel, (truckers for instance) XM or sirius is fantastic. I listen to Sirius on my satellite TV and the music is great! No commercials either!
But if I never left home and never had to seek out stations I wouldn't consider it.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2005 at 7:15AM
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over_n_under

"An unactivated cellphone can be used to call 911 because FCC mandated that the cellular carriers process those calls from unactivated phones." This is true, but not of ALL cell phones. Only those manufactured after a certain date are required to have this capability. I don't recall what the date is, however. Sorry. If you have an old cell phone and want to use it for 911 purposes, check online to see if it is 911-capable.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 8:41AM
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Don_

How many people keep the battery of their 'unactivated cellphone' charged for emergency use? This isn't a logical argument against On Star. I've never had it but my wifes next car will and an active cell phone also.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 1:28PM
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earthworm

How much does this On Star cost - for the subscription , I imagine the aftermarket unit is $100 or so... ?

Some times a man can buy a cell phone for "nothing", but the user fees etc, really add up...

And what good is a cell phone laying about with dead batteries???
The auto-makers should have a 12v power supply built in - just eliminate the useless cigarette lighter and ashtray - a la Bricklin( I think)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 1:46PM
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brianl703

The capability of an unactivated cell phone to call 911 is in the cellular network, not the phone itself. So even your old AMPS-standard Motorola bag-phone from 1992 with it's cigarette-lighter cord for power (batteries for these phones were optional!) can be used to call 911. Anywhere in the USA. Stash it under the seat, pull it out, plug it in to the cigarette lighter, and call 911. (If your battery is dead or the electrical system is toast, OnStar isn't going to work either. Ditto for lack of cellular coverage).

In Virginia, such phones can also be used to call #77 for the State Police. Done it myself, several times, before I had an activated cell phone to report cars broken down on the side of the road.

These will work at least until the AMPS network gets turned off..which is a whole 'nother discussion, and I should point out that older OnStar systems (anything made prior to about 2003) ALSO use AMPS unless they're upgraded, which requires a module replacement at the dealer.

By the way, the cellular module that OnStar uses is the same type that Motorola used in their bag phones. Silver box, about 4" wide, 8" tall, with a 25-pin connector and an antenna socket on top, with the handset connector on the side.

I wonder what'd happen if you plugged a Motorola handset into the cellular module in an OnStar system and tried placing a call with it...

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 5:48PM
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brianl703

When a call is dialed on a cell phone, it sends a request to the cellular network consisting of the phone's electronic serial number (ESN), the phone's telephone number, or mobile identification number (MIN), and the number you dialled.

At this point the cellular network determines whether the call will go through based on this information.

If the dialled number is 911, the network will put the call through no matter what the MIN or ESN are. This is what the FCC mandated.

In no way does the phone determine if it should put the call through (except in the obvious case of no poor or no signal). It relies upon the cellular network to make that determination. That is done for reasons of fraud prevention, among others.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 6:05PM
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earthworm

My question (economics) has been answered.
No wonder people are dropping this.
Maybe in the future this will be standard fare, but not now..

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 7:21PM
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