Yes, OnStar can track and help recover stolen vehicles equipped with OnStar hardware through features like GPS location tracking, Remote Ignition Block, and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. However, an active OnStar subscription is required at the time of theft for location and recovery assistance.
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How OnStar Helps Recover Stolen Vehicles
OnStar uses advanced GPS and cellular technology to locate stolen vehicles. Once a theft report is filed with police and OnStar is contacted, advisors activate tracking features to pinpoint the vehicle’s location in real-time and facilitate recovery by law enforcement.
- OnStar relies on GPS and cell towers to continuously monitor a stolen vehicle’s location
- This location data is shared with police to coordinate recovery
- Special features also allow OnStar to slow down or disable stolen cars to aid apprehension
An active OnStar subscription is mandatory for these capabilities when a vehicle is stolen. Inactive OnStar systems cannot be remotely tracked or assisted.
Reporting Vehicle Theft to OnStar and Police
To activate OnStar’s Stolen Vehicle Assistance, you must first inform the police and attain an official report number. This police report is then provided to OnStar when contacting them via phone at 1-888-466-7827.
OnStar’s advisors require the police report to begin tracking attempts and location monitoring. No actions will be taken to recover an OnStar-equipped vehicle without direct owner permission and a filed police report.
OnStar Tracking and Recovery Features
GPS Monitoring: Once theft is reported, OnStar continually tracks the stolen vehicle’s GPS location and can view real-time location updates showing speed, direction etc. This data is regularly shared with law enforcement assisting in recovery.
Stolen Vehicle Slowdown: If police confirm it is safe to do so, OnStar can remotely decelerate a stolen vehicle down to idle speed to help safely bring it to stop during pursuit. This feature has been used successfully for over a decade to aid police.
Remote Ignition Block: OnStar advisors can send a remote signal to block the vehicle’s engine from restarting after being turned off. This helps secure the vehicle once located by authorities by stranding it in place.
Studies show over 90% of stolen vehicles equipped with OnStar are successfully returned to owners through location tracking and recovery features. However, an owner allowing an OnStar subscription to lapse removes access to these aftermarket theft assistance services.
Getting OnStar After Theft of an Inactive Vehicle
If OnStar hardware is installed but was inactive when your vehicle got stolen, getting an active plan can potentially allow location and recovery by OnStar. However, reactivation isn’t always possible on some older OnStar hardware after being inactive a while.
The least expensive way to access Stolen Vehicle Assistance is adding the OnStar Safety & Security plan for around $20-$25 monthly. OnStar also offers smartphone app subscriptions that allow self-locating abilities.
My Closing Thoughts
In summary, maintaining an active OnStar subscription provides the assurance that all location tracking and recovery features will be available if ever needed to help retrieve a stolen vehicle.
Certain self-recovery options are also available through app subscriptions. Letting OnStar lapse saves money short term but removes reliable theft protection services.