Tune-In and Tune-Up® with
America’s favorite Car-talk Show!
Since 1990 PTLA
Listen Now
Under the Hood Show - Car Repair Advice Talk Radio Show

Automotive Column 16 OnStar Problems

Automotive Column 16 OnStar Problems

Syndicated Newspaper Column

OnStar has become a familiar name in vehicle communications. We see it in many vehicles and it can be a life saver in many ways.


Daily Car Repair and Advice Tips Question 16 OnStar

Dear Motor Medics,
 I am a loyal General Motors customer and have been so for many years. I currently have four GM vehicles and they all are equipped with OnStar. The vehicles range from 2002-2005 and the problem is that I want to activate the OnStar in two of the cars and they tell me it can’t be done because the system is too old. I’m a little frustrated by this and would like your advice that hopefully gives me an understanding of why I can no longer use a feature that my car came with. I do have OnStar in the newest car which is the same model as one of the older ones, a Monte Carlo, and it works just fine. Can you shed some light on this? 

Richard in Valentine Nebraska

Dear Richard,
 You’re not alone, even I drive a car that has a now unusable OnStar system. I was frustrated to find out that I couldn't use the system in the car when I decided to have it activated. I love the idea of the safety that it can provide. The older model vehicles had an OnStar unit that was an analog based communication system, remember when cell phones went digital? Eventually all of the analog towers disappeared and the old phones wouldn't work. This is the same for the older OnStar units. Once the analog tower went away they became obsolete. For OnStar to work you need the newer system. If your car doesn't have it there is an option of the new stand alone OnStar system available at many electronic retailers. Check online for more info.

Take care, the Motor Medics

©Nordstrom's® Automotive Inc. 2012 No content of this site may be reproduced without our written permission. You may link back to this site.

Get Your Car Question On Our Talk Show
Get Your Car Question On Our Talk Show

Do you have a car question to talk about?
Give the Under The Hood Show a call at


We have fun while we give great free automotive repair advice over the air weekly.

Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.

Tune-In and Tune-Up®
Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube