Can OnStar Track My Car If Not Activated? [Ultimate Guide]

Can OnStar Track My Car If Not Activated?

As vehicle technology continues to evolve, car owners are increasingly concerned about their vehicles’ safety, security, and privacy. One popular feature in modern cars is OnStar, a subscription-based service that offers a range of safety and security features. But can OnStar track my car if not activated?

Yes, OnStar can track an OnStar module-equipped car if not activated. However, they are not interested in using their resources to track non-active subscribers. As a result, you will not have access to any of the services available to paid subscribers.

In this article, we will explain in detail whether OnStar can track your car if it is not activated, as well as other related topics that will help you understand the ins and outs of this powerful service.

How does OnStar Track my car?

OnStar can track your car using the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology built into your vehicle’s OnStar module. When your OnStar subscription is active, your car’s location information can be transmitted to the OnStar service center through a cellular network using OnStar GPS tracking.

Here’s how the process works:

  • The OnStar module in your car receives GPS signals from satellites orbiting the Earth. These signals help the module determine your vehicle’s precise location.
  • If your OnStar service is active and you request assistance, your car’s location information is transmitted to the OnStar service centre via a cellular network.
  • OnStar advisors can then use this information to provide roadside assistance, navigation, and stolen vehicle recovery services.

Can OnStar Track My Car If Not Activated?

If your OnStar subscription is inactive, the system cannot auto-track your car. The OnStar system requires an active subscription to communicate with the OnStar call center and provide its services. Without an active subscription, your vehicle’s OnStar system is effectively disabled and cannot transmit data.

OnStar is not interested in tracking not active subscribers. However, they use GPS technology to track OnStar-equipped GM vehicles and can track cars if not activated.

The tracking and other services provided by OnStar are available only when you have an active subscription.

However, some vehicles may have a limited free trial period, during which OnStar services are available. If your car is within this trial period, it could be tracked. To determine if you have any active services, it is important to check your vehicle’s documentation or communicate with the dealership or OnStar directly.

If you are concerned about privacy and do not plan to use OnStar services, you can contact OnStar customer support to ensure your subscription is deactivated and your vehicle cannot be tracked.

vehicle gps tracking

Read More: How to Turn Off OnStar Tracking in 7 Easy Steps

OnStar Activation

To use OnStar services, you need an active subscription. When you purchase a new GM car equipped with OnStar, you typically receive a free trial period ranging from a few months to a year. Once the trial period ends, you can choose to subscribe to one of OnStar’s plans, which offers different service levels and pricing.

OnStar Privacy Concerns

Many worries about the potential privacy implications of a vehicle tracking system like OnStar. However, OnStar is committed to protecting user privacy. Their policy states that they will not track your vehicle’s location or share your information without your consent, except in specific situations such as emergencies or legal requirements.

What Happens When Your OnStar Subscription Ends?

Your access to OnStar services will be discontinued when your OnStar subscription ends. Your vehicle’s OnStar system will no longer be able to communicate with the OnStar call centre or transmit data, rendering it incapable of tracking your car.

How to Reactivate Your OnStar Subscription.

If you decide to reactivate your OnStar subscription, it’s a simple process. You can do this by visiting the OnStar website or contacting OnStar representative by providing OnStar account information.

The Benefits of an Active OnStar Subscription

Having an active OnStar subscription comes with several benefits that can enhance your vehicle ownership experience, including:

  • Automatic crash response: In a serious accident, OnStar can automatically connect you to a trained advisor who will assess the situation and contact emergency services if necessary.
  • Roadside assistance: OnStar can assist you in case of a flat tire, dead battery, or other common roadside issues.
  • Turn-by-turn navigation: Receive directions to your destination through your vehicle’s infotainment system or an OnStar advisor.
  • Remote access: Control certain vehicle functions remotely, such as locking or unlocking doors, using the OnStar mobile app.
  • Vehicle diagnostics: Receive monthly reports on your vehicle’s health and maintenance needs.

Can I Track My Teen’s Driving With OnStar?

Yes, OnStar offers features that can help you monitor your teen’s driving habits when you have an active subscription. The “Teen Driver” mode, available on certain General Motors (GM) vehicles, can be used with OnStar services to track and manage your teen’s driving behavior.

Some features available through the Teen Driver mode and OnStar services include:

  • Speed alerts: Set a maximum speed limit for your teen’s driving, and receive notifications if the car exceeds that limit.
  • Geofencing: Set a specific geographic boundary and receive alerts if your teen’s vehicle enters or leaves that area.
  • Driving report: OnStar locate and access information about your teen’s driving habits, such as distance driven, maximum speed, and occurrences of hard braking or rapid acceleration.
  • Seatbelt use: Receive notifications if the car is driven without the driver or passengers wearing seatbelts.
  • Audio volume limits: Set a maximum volume level for the vehicle’s audio system to encourage safe driving habits.

You need to have a compatible GM vehicle and an active subscription to use these features. You can manage and monitor these settings through the vehicle’s infotainment system, OnStar app, or OnStar website.

How to Activate Onstar Without Being in the Car?

You can activate your OnStar services without being in the car using three easy methods:

1) OnStar Guardian app

Download the OnStar Guardian app on your smartphone to activate OnStar account online, available for both iOS and Android devices. Create an account or log in to your existing OnStar account, and follow the in-app instructions to activate your OnStar services.

2) Calling an OnStar Advisor

Call OnStar customer support at 1-888-4-ONSTAR (1-888-466-7827). Provide the representative with your vehicle’s information, including the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). The OnStar Advisor will help you choose a subscription plan and guide you through the activation process.

3) Using GM Vehicles MyLink Apps

For certain GM vehicles, you can use the MyLink app (or its equivalent, depending on the brand) to activate OnStar services.

Download the app for your specific car brand (e.g., Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac) on your smartphone, and log in using your existing OnStar account or create a new one. Follow the app’s instructions to activate your OnStar services.

Read Full Guide: How to Activate OnStar Without Being in the Car?

How To Tell If Onstar Is Activated?

1) Check the LED indicator

Most vehicles with OnStar have a status LED indicator, typically located near the OnStar button on the rearview mirror or overhead console. A solid green light indicates that your OnStar system is active, while a red light may signify a problem or an inactive subscription.

2) Use your vehicle’s infotainment system

Some vehicles have an OnStar section in their infotainment system. Navigate through the menu to find information about your subscription and its activation status.

3) Contact OnStar directly

If you still need to figure out your subscription status, you can call OnStar customer service department at 1-888-4-ONSTAR (1-888-466-7827) or visit their website and log in to your account to check your subscription status.

How Do You Stop OnStar Tracking You?

If you want to stop OnStar from tracking your vehicle, you can take the following steps:

1) Cancel your subscription

Contact OnStar customer support at 1-888-4-ONSTAR (1-888-466-7827) and request to cancel your subscription.

2) Disable location-based services

Some OnStar features rely on your vehicle’s location data. You can disable location-based services by contacting OnStar customer support and asking them to turn off these services.

3) Disconnect the OnStar module

If you’re certain you don’t want to use OnStar services and want to ensure your vehicle isn’t tracked, you can disconnect the OnStar module in your car.

However, this should be done cautiously and by a professional, as it may void your vehicle’s warranty or cause other issues. Disconnecting the module will also disable all OnStar features, including emergency services.


Does OnStar Work If The Battery Is Disconnected?

OnStar relies on your vehicle’s electrical system to function, including the car battery. If the battery is disconnected, the OnStar system will lose power and not work. This means that services like an automatic crash response, emergency services, navigation, and theft vehicle assistance will be unavailable when the car battery is disconnected.

Can Onstar Track a Stolen Car if Not Activated?

If your OnStar subscription is not activated, OnStar will not be able to track your car, even if it is stolen. The tracking and other services provided by OnStar, such as stolen vehicle assistance, are available only when you have an active subscription.
In the event of a theft, it is important to report the incident to local law enforcement immediately, as they will conduct the investigation and attempt to recover your car.

What Happens If I Cancel OnStar?

If you cancel your OnStar, you will lose access to the features and services provided by OnStar. These may include: Automatic crash response, Emergency services, Stolen vehicle assistance, Turn-by-turn navigation, Vehicle diagnostics, Remote services and Wi-Fi hotspot.

Can Onstar Disable a Vehicle?

Yes, OnStar can disable a vehicle remotely under specific circumstances, such as when it is reported stolen. With an active OnStar subscription and Stolen Vehicle Assistance service, OnStar advisors can work with law enforcement to help locate and recover your stolen car.

Upon receiving a request from law enforcement and confirming the vehicle’s location, OnStar locate and can send a signal to the vehicle that disables its ignition system. This prevents the car from being restarted once it is turned off, making it easier for law enforcement to recover it.

Please note that OnStar will only use this feature in coordination with law enforcement and only when it is deemed necessary and appropriate to assist in recovering a stolen car.

Final Thoughts

OnStar can only track your car if your subscription is active. The system requires an active subscription to communicate with the OnStar call center and provide its services. However, an active subscription offers numerous benefits that can greatly enhance your driving experience and peace of mind, such as automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance, and turn-by-turn navigation.

If you’re concerned about car security but don’t want to activate a subscription, consider alternative tracking solutions like aftermarket GPS tracking devices or smartphone apps. Ultimately, activating OnStar or pursuing alternative solutions depends on your personal preferences and security needs.

Affiliate Disclosure: Cars Escort is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases made through affiliate links on our site. Read Our Disclaimer .

Scroll to Top