Some of us would sooner break a window than admit to the people at OnStar that we locked ourselves out of our cars, but for those of us who can handle the minor embarrassment, OnStar can be a real lifesaver out on the road.
Many of us who drive Chevy do so because it’s really an adventurer’s car. When you roll off the lot of a DFW Chevy dealer, you’re looking forward to seeing the odometer roll over another zero, you’re looking forward to all of the strange trips you’re going to get into over the course of your vehicle’s life, and OnStar can be an adventurer’s best friend.
When we see the television commercials, what we’re seeing is that OnStar is there to help when you lock your keys in your car or if it gets stolen, but it’s useful in a lot more instances than those. Here are a few scenarios where OnStar might prove more useful than you probably think:
You may have a GPS in your car, but there’s something about having OnStar there to help just in case your GPS goes out or you simply can’t make heads or tails of the directions that it’s giving you. Calling an OnStar operator to get you back down that creek to find your paddles can be a real comfort the intrepid explorer.
What’s That Thumping Noise?
A number of vehicle diagnostics can be made with OnStar. If you’re wondering what that thumping or clanging noise is, if you’re wondering why the engine light is on, OnStar may be able to help you figure it out without the need for an expensive consultation from a mechanic in the middle of nowhere.
In some cases, having OnStar can help to reduce your insurance payments by landing you a nice little discount. Depending on your monthly payments, the discount may even offset the cost of the service itself. Talk to your agency and see if they offer any such deals.
Having OnStar is about more than just having a backup plan in the case of an emergency. OnStar has plenty of uses beyond theft and the age old problem of leaving the keys in the ignition.
I think we all know how much I love Facebook, Twitter and the like. Let’s think about this though… Do I Facebook while driving? No! Well maybe if I am in dead stop traffic not moving. Under normal circumstances I am paying attention to the road. I came across an article today from AutoBlog that was very interesting. GM has decided to combat Ford’s popular Sync System with a system of their own. I never thought about voice texting or updating your Facebook status while driving but this could be very interesting. The question is…. Could it be safe? What are your thoughts on this. Would updating your Facebook “safely” while driving be something that you would like to do?
Here’s the story:
General Motors is ready to bring the fight to Ford’s Sync system with a reworked version of OnStar, but the salient details won’t be revealed for another seven days. However, we’ve gotten word from the General that it’s testing two new features: Audio Facebook updates and voice texting.
On the Facebook front, GM is the experimental phase of integrating OnStar with the 800-pound social media guerilla, allowing users to verbally update their Facebook status via audio recordings, with the possibility of utilizing the OnStar Virtual Advisor feature to read off Facebook status updates and news feeds.
Voice texting works in a similar manner, pairing the driver’s Bluetooth mobile phone to OnStar and allowing the system to read received SMS messages and reply using a voice command to select four pre-set messages. That’s not true voice-to-text functionality, but it’s similar to what’s being offered by other automakers.
Well, what do you think? Something you might like?
Some people are so stupid. I can not even imagine how this guy thought he wouldn’t get caught. Thanks to Matt Rigney over at Camaro Blog for breaking this story. How hysterical! I just feel bad for the Camaro!
A brazen thief made off with a brand new 2010 Camaro as a truck driver unloaded it from his transport vehicle. The transport driver was delivering new merchandise to a Chrysler Jeep Dealership in Tigard, Oregon and as a result had to unload the Camaro to get other vehicles off. When the transport driver left the new 2010 Camaro unattended for a minute the thief jumped in the drivers seat and took off. The transport driver chased after the Camaro on foot and eventually grabbed and held on to the drivers door as he sped away. The transport driver held on for about a quarter-mile at speeds of around 45 mph until he was tossed when the thief drove through some grassy areas.
What the car thief did not realize is the new 2010 Camaro was outfitted with OnStar so the police were contacted who than contacted OnStar to find the location of the vehicle. The police located the stolen Camaro and a pursuit ensued with the thief doing some fancy driving to avoid being captured but in the end one of the Camaros tires was spiked by police and as a result the Camaro crashed right after. The thief exited the Camaro only to be met by two police officers and they thought he might run so they tased him. The thief was arrested on multiple charges including auto theft and evading arrest. Sadly the new Camaro met a grim fate.
I thought you guys might like to meet the new electric car from GM. Introducing the all new 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Personally I am very excited about this new car and can’t wait to see what other people think about it. This is a different direction for GM and this much anticipated car is on a lot of peoples minds right now. Check out these figures courtesy of Consumer Reports.
The Chevrolet Volt is one of the most-hyped cars expected to debut this year, with all-new drivetrain technology that General Motors has termed EREV, translated as “extended-range electric vehicle.”
Yesterday, the company brought two examples up to our test track, along with several engineers to explain the car, point out its new features, and allow the staff to get behind the wheel. GM drove the two cars to our Connecticut Auto Test Center from Milford, Michigan—a trip of about 750 miles.
The Volt’s electric drive motor is rated at 110 kW, equivalent to about 150 hp. It uses another motor/generator—GM engineers call this an “electric machine”—connected to the gas engine rated at 50 kW. This is used to start the engine and also provides electrical power to drive the vehicle when the battery is depleted. The gas engine is a 1.4-liter four cylinder similar to the Chevrolet Cruze base engine, though configured for this unique application.
The Volt uses about half the capacity of its 16 kWh lithium-ion battery. This ensures good durability of the battery pack and provides extra boost than can be delivered from the engine-driven generator so the driver sees/feels no difference between EV mode and gas engine. To maximize the battery’s life expectancy, the battery is never allowed to run completely down, nor is it ever allowed to take a maximum charge.
On long up hills, such as what you might experience climbing the Rocky Mountains, if that battery reserve is used up, the car’s power may be reduced to what’s available from the generator. GM engineers say there are only seven or eight such grades in the United States, and they have designed the car to be able to maintain the speed limit on these roads. The car has a “mountain mode,” which will increase the size of the battery reserve to assure there is enough power to maintain speed even on the longest, steepest hills. The trade off is reduced range.
GM has said before that the car will have a 300-mile overall range (including 40 miles on pure electric), but they have never before disclosed the capacity of the gasoline fuel tank. It will likely hold about nine gallons, in which case the range based on these figures would be well above 300 miles. The tank will be pressurized, so it will take a few seconds for the fuel door to pop open.
The Volt comes with a 20-foot, 110-volt charge cord. When plugged in, the car’s on-board charger tests the circuit to ensure that the house system is safe to connect to. A yellow light shows on top of the dashboard while the circuit is being tested. Once it passes, the car-horn chirps briefly, and the light turns green. If it fails the test, the light stays yellow, and the charger unit indicator lights show a fault.
Volt owners will receive OnStar for free for an extended period. Dedicated OnStar agents will be able to answer a wide range of questions about using an electric car. In addition, OnStar will automatically work with any Volt buyer to help arrange installation of an appropriate 240-volt electrical outlet for home charging.
GM is also building an app for iPhone and Android smartphones that will interface with the Volt to control and set up charging. It will also be able to interact with OnStar. Perhaps most significantly, Volt customers will be able to download their electric utility rates, and the software in the car will automatically set the car to charge when energy rates are lowest. The car can then notify a phone when the charge is complete.
GM says it will take four hours to fully charge a Volt from a 220-volt designated charger, which will need to be professionally installed at your house (at an extra cost), or about 10 hours on a standard 20-amp, 110-volt outlet.
The four-passenger Volt has individual seats in the rear that fold down, as the large “T” shaped battery takes up the space between the back seats.
The white, iPod-like center stack will also be available in gray and nearly all the switches are touch sensitive like an iPod and have a click sound associated with them.
The most common reaction to driving the Volt is that it is quiet and the linear power delivery provides good acceleration, but the sedan feels heavy in the corners. It weighs about 3,800 pounds, making it porky for a car of this size.
The Volt will initially be sold in Los Angeles; Washington, DC; and Michigan in November. Within about a year, GM plans to have them available at select dealers nationwide. Chevrolet is expected to announce the price this summer. Overall, it’s an impressive piece of technology, but the proof will be how it performs in the real world. We look forward to buying our own Volt and putting it through our full test regimen once it goes on sale. —Eric Evarts
Want to see it in action? Check out the video.
I am not sure what dealerships in Texas are going to get this car when it goes live but you can guarantee that your Fort Worth Chevy dealer will keep you posted.
Cars and trucks have had diagnostic systems for years something that had greatly benefited us for a long time. Now this concept has gotten even better. There’s a way for your car or truck to send you an email every month and let you know if your new car or truck is having any issues or needs any attention. This is pretty much the idea behind General Motors’ OnStar diagnostic system. In January Onstar sent an email to 1.8 millions Chevy owners and here’s what they learned about their cars: 11% were told they are overdue for an oil change, 38% got the news that they have a least one tire with low pressure, and 1% had some sort of mechanical problem, most of those were just annoying issues like the gas cap wasn’t on tight enough.
When you get your new GM car or truck you can sign up to get a monthly e-mail which then will let you know what’s wrong with your new car or truck. That’s pretty great in my opinion.
“At Chevrolet, we have significantly reduced customer warranty claims over the past few years, as we continually strive to make the most dependable cars and trucks on the road. A key part of that success is OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which helps Chevrolet and our customers keep vehicles in top running condition,” says Chevrolet General Manager Jim Campbell.
It’s just another reason why you want and need OnStar in your new car or truck.
Sometimes equipment on your new car or truck can be very important to you. For instance if you have kids maybe you want DVD players to entertain them in the car, or if you’re a commuter you may want XM radio for those trips to school or work. Everyone wants something different. Maybe you want everything available…. What’s most important to you?
I know you’ve seen the commercials about the “Stolen Vehicle Slowdown” by OnStar. What an amazing piece of technology that can help us recover a stolen vehicle. This service will definitely give subscribers the feeling of a little more security in their GM vehicle.
Here’s how it works: The vehicle has to first be reported as stolen to the law enforcements. Once you’ve reported it as stolen then you call OnStar and ask for Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance. “OnStar uses real-time GPS technology to pinpoint the exact location of the stolen vehicle and provides this information to law enforcement to help them recover the vehicle, says OnStar.com.”
Once the police have located the vehicle and have determined that it’s going to be safe for everyone around the stolen vehicle they will ask OnStar to slow it down remotely. This won’t be done until all of the safeguards are put in order. OnStar will only then send a remote signal using cellular technologies to the vehicle which interacts with the Powertrain system to ignore the throttle input which causes the vehicle to slowdown.
Below is a commercial dramatization of how the service works! No more worries huh?
Every GM vehicle comes equipped with OnStar. If you choose to subscribe to the service there are many different functions that will enhance not only your driving experience but will aid in a car accident. OnStar now offers what they call Automatic Crash Response. If you are in a crash, built-in vehicle sensors will automatically alert an OnStar Advisor and give them all of the critical details of your car accident. OnStar will then contact you to make sure that you are ok and see if you need any help. If help is required or you can not respond, then OnStar will contact 911 with your GPS location so that they may direct the emergency crews to you.
OnStar Technology - With more than two million subscribers, OnStar is the leading provider of telematics services in the United States. Telematics is the transmission of data communications between systems and devices. OnStar’s in-vehicle safety, security, and information services use Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite and cellular technology to link the vehicle and driver to the OnStar Center. At the OnStar Center, advisors offer real-time, personalized help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. -From Onstar.com
Here is a quick video that describes the Automatic Crash Response Service.
Hi, I'm Hagen Durant, General Manager of Classic Chevrolet in Grapevine, TX - I am a huge car and truck enthusiast and love talking cars. I'm a cyclist, health nut, father, geek, and drummer. I look forward to giving you great information about cars and trucks, driving tips, maintenance and so much more.
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