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Old 02-17-2013, 09:05 AM   #1
john parker
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Default OnStar? Alternatives?

Will soon be at the end of the trial period for OnStar. Wife likes the idea of automated emergency calls in case of an accident, I think the idea of getting the car opened remotely if we lock the keys inside a nice idea, but the rest of the features seem like expensive options we would not use. And it is a "want one, buy all" option. It does have the voice direction system, but am not thrilled with not having a map (like Garmin). Curious what others think of OnStar and if there are any alternatives to emergency calls/remote unlocking.

Thanks, John
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Old 02-17-2013, 09:16 AM   #2
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

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Originally Posted by john parker View Post
Will soon be at the end of the trial period for OnStar. Wife likes the idea of automated emergency calls in case of an accident, I think the idea of getting the car opened remotely if we lock the keys inside a nice idea, but the rest of the features seem like expensive options we would not use. And it is a "want one, buy all" option. It does have the voice direction system, but am not thrilled with not having a map (like Garmin). Curious what others think of OnStar and if there are any alternatives to emergency calls/remote unlocking.

Thanks, John
I'm not renewing my initial subscription to Onstar because I think it is over priced. I would think about it if the service was no more than $8/mo.

My alternatives are to put a spare key in a magnet holder and attach under the car for lock outs.

I would use my cell phone in an emergency. Also it would be a good idea to keep an emergency roadside kit in your car like the following:

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Old 02-17-2013, 09:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

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...My alternatives are to put a spare key in a magnet holder and attach under the car for lock outs.
Was thinking about a spare key, but what came with the car were the two laser-cut keys with the electronic control. Probably very expensive with the control; don't know if the key can be cut seperately.

A related question, does the "1-800" number GM phone service have an unlock service?
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

I think the Onstar is a bit pricey but I love it. I use the Onstar app everyday to start my car in my apartments parking garage where my fob would never reach. I also use the directions feature often, it doesn't show a map but it is extremely accurate and does show the street name and direction of the turn on the radio screen while speaking it. Plus I do think having the extras of getting the car opened, finding the vehicle if stolen and they can also shut it down as well ass immediate assistance in an accident all make it worth having even if it is a bit pricey. They do offer two options tho I know the plan without directions is cheaper but has everything else.
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Old 02-17-2013, 10:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

You have free roadside assistance for 5years/100,000 miles so just use your cell phone in a roadside emergency.

Onstar is nice but definately too pricey to me.

The navigation while it seems to be accurate is not good enough to me. I like seeing the map and anything less is just like my wife reading a map and telling me to turn right or left. I need the map in front of me.

A good alternative is to go buy a nice Garmin gps with lifetime maps and even traffic (should be cheaper than 1 year of Onstar). Call the roadside assistance number at 1-800-243-8872 and ask them if unlocking doors is part of the roadside assistance plan and if so you are good for 5years or 100,000 miles (you will just have to wait longer for someone to unlock the car than you would calling Onstar).
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

On my '09 I had On* for a year. Let it expire when I figured out I could buy a Garmin for less than 1 year of On*, and like stated above, I have a moving map even if I'm not going somewhere, which is the only time you get directions from On*. Plus if you get off the route On* takes a long time to re-download a new path. Garmin is much faster and automatic.

I had On* for 6 months in my '11. Used it 1 or 2 times. Still prefer my Garmin.

The On* remote start app works for the 2013 models but the Gen7 (which is what this thread is addressing) never got it working. They said they were gonna but never could, yet the freakin' little bitty bug of a car had it and so did the Cobalt. The Gen7 Malibu was pretty much an orphan child and was the whole time it was in production. Now that they've moved on to a new generation it is only supported by warranty service but no model changes/improvements.

And the Garmin can be removed from the car and walked around with. Or you can just use your Smart Phone or iPhone (or now Windows phone) and use Google maps or MapQuest, etc. Why pay so much so often for so little?

Lock out service and emergency crash notification are nice features but not worth the money they want to charge. They're just not thinking in terms of real-world solutions.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

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The On* remote start app works for the 2013 models but the Gen7 (which is what this thread is addressing) never got it working.
Huh? This is the gen 8 section and the OP has a gen 8 Malibu. Not sure where gen 7 fits in.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

I've had XM or Sirius radio in my vehicles for the past 10 years and have never once paid full price. I've always called them up and asked for discounts and they've always given me one. Wonder if OnStar would do the same? I like OnStar, but agree that it's a overpriced for what it is. Considering that all the other car companies are coming out with their own versions, GM might want to apply some pressure to get them to keep the costs down.
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Old 02-17-2013, 12:40 PM   #9
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Default Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

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I've had XM or Sirius radio in my vehicles for the past 10 years and have never once paid full price. I've always called them up and asked for discounts and they've always given me one. Wonder if OnStar would do the same? I like OnStar, but agree that it's a overpriced for what it is. Considering that all the other car companies are coming out with their own versions, GM might want to apply some pressure to get them to keep the costs down.
In a previous vehicle I was able to get a discount and 3 months of extra time. Contact them and tell them your hardship situation and they should give you a discount.
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Old 02-17-2013, 01:29 PM   #10
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Cool Re: OnStar? Alternatives?

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Originally Posted by nutcrunch View Post
Huh? This is the gen 8 section and the OP has a gen 8 Malibu. Not sure where gen 7 fits in.
DOH! I honestly thought I was in a Gen7 section! Thanks for catching that!
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