My Onstar Remote Start Is Not Working – Why? What To Do?

Onstar Remote is a feature available for modern GM vehicles. You can control the car and view vital vehicle information when you connect to the app. However, there can be problems when using the application after some time.

Read this post to know why your Onstar Remote will not work and what the solutions are.

Reasons that your Onstar Remote doesn't work could be:

  • Improper Set Up
  • "Check Engine Light" is on
  • Deactivated plan
  • Engine coolant temperature too high
  • Hazard lights are on
  • Key is inside the car
  • Oil pressure too low
  • Vehicle not in "park."
  • Too many failed attempts

Other than the reasons mentioned, there can be vehicle features that prevent the operation of the remote. The available solutions are easy to follow.

If these solutions do not work, you can consult the manual for the procedure or call the hotline if you are an Onstar member. Read further to learn more about Onstar Remote.

What Is Onstar Remote, And What Causes It Not To Work?

Onstar Remote is a safety and security feature available for GM cars, namely Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac. Furthermore, the feature is only available for automatic transmission models.

OnStar RemoteLink app in play store

You can download the Onstar Remotelink app or the corresponding mobile application for your vehicle.

Moreover, the application is available for select smartphone devices. The features and functions will also vary by vehicle, device, or subscription plan. Controlling the vehicle is easy because you have an alternative to a physical key.

The feature benefits car owners because it helps with safety and security. With the remote, you can control the functions, such as starting and shutting down the vehicle, locking and unlocking doors, and controlling the temperature.

Other services are:


  • Check fuel level
  • Crisis assistance
  • Emergency services
  • Turn-by-turn navigation
  • Remote access
  • Road assistance
  • Track vehicle information 

If you need an adviser during an emergency, just press the blue button. There is so much that you can do with the Onstar Remote. You get safety and security for you and your vehicle.

Issues Encountered With Onstar Remote

However, the advanced feature can also have issues. Below are reasons why the remote does not work when using it:

  • Improper Start-Up – You must press the unlock button once and hold the remote start button for two seconds. Wait until the signal lights flash. 
  • The "Check Engine" or "MIL" light is on - The light illuminates if you have a loose gas cap. 
  • Deactivated monthly plan - Once you cancel or have unpaid billings, your Onstar account will deactivate. 
  • Engine coolant temperature too high – Let the car cool down for around 5-10 minutes. Recheck the temperature levels and retry starting.
  • Hazard lights are on - If the lights are on, it entirely disables the system. 
  • Key is inside the car - When you use the mobile application, you cannot use the remote. You must get the car key out first.  
  • Oil pressure too low – You need to top up the vehicle with oil before starting it.
  • Open hood - You cannot start the car with an unlatched hood.  
  • Vehicle not in "park" – The remote start system will only activate if you set the car in "PARK." You must disengage and re-engage the letter P before starting the vehicle.
  • Too many failed attempts – You only have at most two instances to use the remote start. You cannot start the ignition if you quickly and successively use the remote.

If you encounter issues with the Onstar service, you can call 1.888.4ONSTAR [1.888.466.7827]. Another way is to press the blue Onstar button to talk to an Adviser.

Also, you can refer to the manual for the Remote Start procedure to help you troubleshoot it yourself. 

You can learn more from this related post: Onstar Button Not Working – What To Do?

How To Make The Onstar Remote Work?

There is a process you must follow before you can use the Onstar Remote. Read more below.

Initial Setup 

You have two options of free applications to use. The first method is to open the Remote/Key Fob on the Onstar Remotelink app.

Another way is thru the Key Fob section of the vehicle myBrand apps (e.g., myChevrolet, myCadillac, myGMC, or myBuick apps). Download the app to your smartphone from the phone's app store.

myChevrolet app in play store

Once you have the necessary application, follow the process below:

  1. First, you set up and activate an Onstar subscription. Press the blue button you will find in your rearview mirror. You will be talking to an Onstar representative to facilitate the activation. Write down the account number created.
  2. On the Onstar website, create your online profile. Click MY ACCOUNT, then SIGN UP. Enter the required information.
  3. Sign in to the Onstar Remotelink app with the username and password created from step 2.

After setting up, you are ready to explore the Onstar sections and get familiar with the app. You can access the functions on the app's main page.

Succeeding Usage

After some time, you might encounter some problems while using the app. Before using the remote, you should resolve the issues preventing the operation. The following are some solutions:

  • Closing the hood
  • Adding oil and lowering the coolant temperature
  • Removing the physical key from inside the car
  • Replace the battery of the key fob
  • Stay inside the vehicle
  • Subscribe to the monthly plan

Continue reading why you need to subscribe to a plan before you can use Onstar Remote.

Do I Need To Pay Before Using An Onstar Remote?

Yes, you need to subscribe to a monthly plan to continue using the Onstar Remote. You cannot use the connected services without a plan. Onstar will not be able to detect your location, and you cannot avail of the advisor services.

When you buy a new GM vehicle with the year models 2015 and higher, you are eligible for a 3-month trial. You get an initial 1-month coverage and an additional two months when selecting a plan within 30 days from activation.

After the trial period, Onstart automatically enrolls you in a monthly service plan. The service you can enjoy varies depending on your location and conditions. 

Check Onstar's plans and pricing for options that will match your needs.

If you cancel your plan, you will not benefit from Onstar services. Your account becomes deactivated, and you cannot use the services.

Is A Key Needed Even If You Have An Onstar Remote? 

Car shape keyring and remote control key in vehicle interior

No, you do not need a key if you have the Onstar Remote, but that does not mean you should leave your key at home. The Onstar Remote is only a backup if you don't have a key with you. It is better to have both in case of emergencies. 

Can You Activate Onstar Without Being In The Car?

You can only activate the Onstar if you are inside the vehicle. You can still use the application if you are not inside the car. Remember that you must subscribe to a plan before using the feature.

If you don't have an existing subscription, any of your family members who added your vehicle's account can remotely open the car for you.

The Onstar Guardian app allows you to add up to 7 family members in a group. Your family can avail of the safety and security services of Onstar, such as the following:

  • Cellphone battery status
  • Real-time location updates
  • Share locations
  • View members on a live map

Another way is to call the Onstar advisor to help unlock your car. Borrow a cell phone to contact the advisor and inform your credentials. Also, it is possible to speak to an advisor if you press the red Onstar emergency button. 

In Summary

The Onstar Remote is a smart feature of select GM vehicles. Before using the feature, you should download the Onstar Remotelink or any GM myBrand app.

myGMC app in play store

Activate and set up your account and connect it to your smartphone. You can remotely control your car with the application without a physical key. 

You and your family can benefit from Onstar's connected safety and security services. Controlling your car will be hassle-free, and you will also get help during emergencies.

However, you can only fully take advantage of the feature if you subscribe to a monthly plan and keep your account active.

Read other related posts that you might like:

Do You Need Onstar To Use Remote Start? [Here's What You Need To Know!]

How To Remote Start A Cadillac Escalade?

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