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Can Onstar Track My Car If Not Activated? [ Answered ]

Can Onstar Track My Car If Not Activated? [ Answered ]

As an automobile owner, you might have a common question that often sparks in the mind of the average car user. This is regarding the functional specifications of OnStar, the GPS tracking system that you can use to find your car’s location.

OnStar is a powerful system, capable of tracking a driver’s location and even finding a stolen car. The system comprises a small tracking device that you need to install in your vehicle. It interacts with a satellite communication system, and the device can transmit the location of the car to remote computers.

However, the GPS tracking services would be available only when you pay the subscription. Given that this service comes in exchange for a paid subscription, you might be wondering whether OnStar can track your car in case you haven’t activated it, or even canceled the subscription. In this article, we have explained whether or not the GPS can track your car in such situations.

Can OnStar track my car if not activated?

Yes, OnStar would be able to track your car as long as the antennae and modules remain integrated into your vehicle. You can activate the system remotely, even if the driver or the owner doesn’t have any knowledge regarding this.

Even if you don’t pay the subscription for the GPS any longer, OnStar would be able to track your car. However, you can prevent the system from tracking your vehicle by sending an active request to remove the car from their network.

OnStar keeps the cars on their network even after some owners cancel their subscription, so that they would find it easier to track the car in case someone wants the services again.

So, you might face privacy issues if you don’t remove the car completely from their network. However, you also have advantages when the GPS keeps a track of the vehicle.

In case of car theft or missing people, you can switch back to the paid subscription. The law enforcement department would also find it easier to track the car. In the case of a car theft, the police might request the GPS service provider to find the vehicle.

OnStar also offers a crucial feature that enables one to block ignition. Once you turn the car off using this feature, no one can turn it on again.

Besides, OnStar has another useful feature, using which you can remotely slow the vehicle down. This makes it easy for law enforcement officials to catch up with it. So, even when you have unsubscribed from OnStar services, you would be happy with these provisions.

Does OnStar always track your location?

Although OnStar has the capacity to keep a track of your location, you need to initiate a service request to get specific tracking services. However, if you are an active subscriber, OnStar would obviously track your location.

In case you are no longer a subscriber but need to track a stolen car, the law enforcement department needs to request OnStar to track the location of your vehicle. Unless you particularly request OnStar to remove the car from their tracking network, it would be under their scanner all the time.

Does OnStar have to be activated?

Yes, you need to activate OnStar in your vehicle. You will find the OnStar button, blue in color inside the car. You can use this button to activate OnStar.

Most modern cars come integrated with the OnStar GPS tracking system. With this feature, drivers can get several benefits like remote unlocking, emergency assistance, and help to find stolen vehicles.

Well, you might not be sure whether or not this GPS tracking system is active in your vehicle. So, you need to inspect a few things to know this.

On the windshield of the car, check out the OnStar logo. Besides, you can call the customer service desk of OnStar directly and request them to update you on checking the account status.

You can clearly tell whether OnStar is active in your car by looking at the windshield. If it is lit up there, you should be knowing that it’s activated. Also, you can inspect the instrumental panel for further verification.

How do I disable OnStar tracking in my car?

Disabling OnStar in your car is easy. You simply need to dial their customer care and place your request for disabling the tracking.

Alternatively, you can disable OnStar tracking in the following ways.

  • Open your car’s trunk after you turn it off. Lift the liner of the trunk and set it aside. This would uncover the spare tire.
  • Now put aside this spare tire, carefully working on the wingnut holding that holds it in place. you need to turn this in the anticlockwise direction so that the tire becomes loose and comes out.
  • Do away with your cargo net and unscrew it.
  • Now put aside the sill plate of the trunk. You will find this at the bottom where the tire had been sitting for so long. In each corner, you will find four screws in the trunk that hold this plate in the respective place. to remove the plate, you would have to unscrew them.
  • In order to see the OnStar device, you need to pull the trunk shell in the backward direction. Hold the right side from the top and remove it. You will find the OnStar logo on a metal box.
  • Now, you will come across three wires connected to the GPS tracking device. You need to unplug this device, so that it no longer has any connection with the satellite or power sources.
  • Place the trunk back to position and insert the screws into the plate. Replace every component as it was like before.

How Does it OnStar Work?

With OnStar, drivers and car owners can enjoy in-vehicle tracking services. This system has three prime components. These include the back-end server, the cellular modem, and the GPS receiver. The satellite signals reach the GPS receiver to find the location of your car. The cellular modem interacts with the back-end server of OnStar and transmits accurate data on the location of the vehicle.

Besides, customers can get roadside assistance from a navigation and telecommunications company. Other services that OnStar subscribers can avail include vehicle diagnostics, emergency response, and tracking services for stolen cars.

In the past, the term Stolen Vehicle Slowdown indicated the tracking services of OnStar for stolen vehicles. As soon as a subscriber reports the loss of a vehicle to OnStar, the operators would activate this tracking service.

Once they determine the car’s location, they can shut it down. The law enforcement team can use the tracking services to recover the stolen car. The owner can also disable the car in case of a theft.

What can happen when you cancel OnStar?

In case you cancel OnStar and inform the service providers to remove your vehicle from their tracking system permanently, you would lose all the benefits of tracking. This implies that your car would no longer be under the surveillance of the GPS. Some owners take this path when they are concerned about their privacy.

Canceling your OnStar subscription and removing your car from the network would make your car insecure. In case of vehicle theft, you won’t be able to track your car.

However, you might prioritize your privacy and decide to isolate your vehicle from the satellite tracking mechanism. Remember, it would be challenging to track your vehicle following a possible theft, in case there’s no GPS to track it.


OnStar has proven to be a powerful mechanism that enables car owners to track their cars remotely. So, with this tracking system in place, you can rest assured that even if someone steals your car, you would be able to find it. Prioritizing this peace of mind, most people subscribe to OnStar and refrain from canceling the services.

Although the lack of privacy is a matter of concern, you cannot possibly undermine the perks of having this tracker for your car. In case of a theft, you won’t be repenting your past decision.