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OnStar vehicle diagnostics

by Jessica Howell

Car maintenance just got easier thanks to OnStar's newest feature, Vehicle Diagnostics, now standard on all existing OnStar packages. Offered as a free optional service, Vehicle Diagnostics provides GM customers with a personalized monthly report via e-mail that outlines the current condition of several of their vehicle's key operating systems, suggesting attention or action if needed.


The monthly update will notify owners of the diagnostic status of their vehicle's engine and transmission system, air bags, antilock braking system and personal OnStar account. It will also monitor when the vehicle is due for an oil change, current mileage and the status of the OnStar subscription itself.

"Vehicle Diagnostics makes the customer's life easier," says Chet Huber, President of OnStar. "It has been very important and highly valued by our customers, but until now hasn't been offered in such a convenient form."

OnStar, which is standard on some 2004 and all 2005 GM vehicles, has previously had the capability to perform remote diagnostic check-ups only when requested by a customer. The service proved useful, averaging about 28,000 requests per month.

Says Huber, "The technology is there and the OnStar brand is strong enough to handle the extension of this service. We've been working internally to help us see issues we might not otherwise see and this is the final result."

In addition to aiding in warranty costs, the system offers added value to the vehicle, simplifies setting up service appointments and has the ability to gauge tire pressure, an important factor in fuel economy. Another benefit to the service is the ability to remind customers of a recall that hasn't been taken care of.

Although the remote check-up, which is run through OnStar's cellular based system, cannot predict or diagnose nut and bolt mechanical issues, it provides an increased sense of safety and can save time and money in the long run.

"This is just one more vehicle differentiating tactic," says Huber of the GM service.

Adds Mark LaNeve, GMNA Vice President of Vehicle Sales, Service and Marketing, "OnStar is not a program, it's a philosophy. We work to increase every second, every minute and every chance of survival."

OnStar is still a relatively new addition to the automotive market-place. Having doubled its priority in the market's eye since last year, OnStar is working to provide the most benefits possible to its subscribers. The next step in Vehicle Diagnostics is to someday be able to reprogram issues in a car wirelessly. But for the time being, OnStar is working with dealerships to create a more convenient way for GM customers to take the best possible care of their car.

Marketing for the new Vehicle Diagnostic system will be included in OnStar and GM vehicle advertisements and complement the GM Total Value Promise.

To subscribe to OnStar or add Vehicle Diagnostics to your current OnStar plan at no additional charge, you may visit or simply press your vehicle's blue OnStar button. To be eligible, your vehicle must have a GM Oil Life System, OnStar Generation 5 or 6 technology and diagnostic capability. Expect your first report quickly after enrollment and then every 30 days.

OnStar packages start at $16.99/mo or $199/yr. Subscription for the first year is included with the purchase of a new GM vehicle.

OnStar Press Release: OnStar Subscribers Quick to Sign-up for Exclusive Vehicle Diagnostic Service

About OnStar
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the nation's leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services using wireless technology and the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite network. OnStar is available on more than 50 GM models for 2005. By the end of 2007, OnStar will be a standard feature for GM's retail customers in the United States and Canada, covering all segments and prices except for some commercial vehicles. OnStar safety and security services include automatic notification of air bag deployment, stolen vehicle location assistance, emergency services, roadside assistance, remote door unlock, and GM Goodwrench remote vehicle diagnostics. OnStar Personal Calling allows drivers to make and receive hands-free, voice-activated calls from their vehicle. More information about OnStar can be found at