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Do I Need OnStar to Use Navigation? – (No)

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle or are considering upgrading your current ride, you may be wondering whether you need OnStar to use navigation.

The short answer is no, you don’t.

While OnStar offers a premium navigation service with a range of features, there are free alternatives available that offer similar functionality and accuracy.

In this article we’ll discuss why you don’t need OnStar for navigation, particularly in GM and Chevy vehicles.

Understanding OnStar and Navigation

What is OnStar?

OnStar is a subscription-based service offered by General Motors (GM) that provides a range of features to GM vehicle owners. It was first introduced in 1996 and has since become a popular feature in many GM vehicles. OnStar offers a range of services, including emergency services, remote vehicle access, and vehicle diagnostics.

OnStar is also known for its navigation services. The OnStar navigation system is a GPS-based system that provides turn-by-turn directions to drivers. The system uses real-time traffic information to help drivers avoid traffic congestion and find the fastest route to their destination.

What is Navigation?

While OnStar offers navigation services, it is not the only option available to drivers. There are many other navigation systems available, including free alternatives such as Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze.

These alternatives are often cheaper and more easily accessible than OnStar, making them a popular choice for many drivers.

Do I Need Onstar to Use Navigation?

If you own a GM vehicle and you’re wondering whether you need Onstar to use navigation, the short answer is no. You can use navigation on your GM vehicle without Onstar, but you will lose turn-by-turn navigation. However, you can still connect to Google and Apple CarPlay for navigation purposes.

Onstar is an optional service provided by GM that offers a range of safety and security features, including turn-by-turn navigation. If you choose to subscribe to Onstar, you will have access to these premium features. However, if you don’t want to pay for Onstar, you can still use other navigation alternatives.

How To Disable OnStar In Your Chevy or GM Vehicle

A video demonstrating how to disable onstar for GM owners

1. Unplug the antenna

Unplug the OnStar antenna and replace it with a 50 ohm resistor. This method is recommended for older vehicles that do not have an infotainment system. The OnStar antenna is usually located on the roof of the vehicle and can be accessed by removing the interior headliner.

2. Turn off Onstar Connected Services

Access the infotainment system’s settings menu and turn off the OnStar or Connected Services feature. This method is recommended for newer vehicles that have an infotainment system. To access the settings menu, go to the home screen and look for the “Settings” icon. From there, navigate to the “Vehicle” or “Connections” menu and turn off the OnStar or Connected Services feature.

Alternatives to OnStar

If you’re looking for alternatives to OnStar for navigation, there are a few options available to you. Here are two of the most popular alternatives:

Smartphone Navigation Apps

One of the easiest and most convenient alternatives to OnStar is to use a navigation app on your smartphone. There are many free and paid navigation apps available for both iOS and Android devices, including Google Maps, Apple Maps, Waze, and MapQuest.

These apps use GPS technology to provide turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic updates, making them a great option for getting around town or on longer road trips.

Using a navigation app on your smartphone can be especially useful if you’re traveling to a new city or unfamiliar area. You can easily search for points of interest, find the best route to your destination, and get real-time traffic updates to avoid congestion or accidents.

In-Car GPS Systems

Another alternative to OnStar is to use an in-car GPS system. Many newer vehicles come equipped with built-in GPS navigation systems that provide turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic updates. These systems can be controlled through the car’s touchscreen display or with voice commands, making them easy to use while you’re driving.

In-car GPS systems can be a bit more expensive than smartphone navigation apps, but they offer some advantages. For example, they don’t rely on your phone’s battery or data connection, and they can be more accurate in areas with poor cell phone coverage.

Overall, there are many alternatives to OnStar for navigation, including smartphone navigation apps and in-car GPS systems. Consider your needs and budget when choosing the best option for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does OnStar navigation require a subscription?

Yes, OnStar navigation requires a subscription. You can choose from different plans that offer different features and benefits. The Basic Plan includes access to the RemoteLink mobile app and limited safety features, while the Guidance Plan includes Turn-by-Turn Navigation and other features such as Automatic Crash Response.

What are the benefits of OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation?

OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation provides voice-guided directions to your destination, which can be very helpful when driving in unfamiliar areas. It also includes real-time traffic updates, so you can avoid congestion and save time. Furthermore, it offers the convenience of being able to search for destinations and send directions to your vehicle from your smartphone or computer.

Is OnStar navigation better than Google Maps?

OnStar navigation and Google Maps both have their advantages and disadvantages. OnStar navigation is more accurate and reliable, but it requires a subscription. Google Maps, on the other hand, is free and has a larger user base, which means that it can provide more up-to-date information on traffic and road conditions. Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on your personal preferences and needs.

Can I use Chevy navigation without OnStar?

Yes, you can use Chevy navigation without OnStar. However, you will not have access to the premium services offered by OnStar, such as Turn-by-Turn Navigation and Automatic Crash Response.

What features do I lose if I cancel OnStar?

If you cancel OnStar, you will lose access to all of its premium services, including Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Automatic Crash Response, and Stolen Vehicle Assistance. You will still be able to use the basic services, such as RemoteLink mobile app and limited safety features.


  • Randy Worner

    My name is Randy Worner and I am the founder of I have been working on cars and trucks for almost 45 years. For the last 36 years I have taught Automotive / Diesel Technology classes for UTI, Snap On Tools, Chrysler, Pepboys, Lone Star College, NAPA and TBC Corporation. I also own a technical writing company known as Supreme Technical Services. It is ASE Gold Seal certified and Blue Seal Certified Author of auto/truck repair information.

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