CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

How does OnStar stop a stolen vehicle?

Does it limit fuel flow to 2 mph so one can get off a railroad crossing or to the side of an Interstate?
Does it warn that the vehicle will stop in 30 seconds or something?
Thank you.

I believe “On Star” can put the car in “limp” mode. That will allow the car to move but not even close to go full speed. I am not sure of the protocol OnStar needs to take any action. Likely they have to hear from some official police agency before they do anything.

They usually do this at the order of the police, then it just stops the vehicle. The police are responsible to insure this is done when it is safe to do so, like at a red light or stop sign.

OnStar can slow the car and then stop it when the police coordinate it. They can also prevent it from restarting (2009 and newer) so that the thief can stop on his own and never start again. GPS is used to locate the car so they can even tell if it is moving. We have 4 GM cars for 4 ladies and all of them have active OnStar.

I’ve got Onstar too. I don’t know how they stop it but assume they can take over the engine computer and command it any way they want. They know my tire pressures, when I changed oil, any engine codes, and so on so they are reading the computer. A couple times when I had to call them, you can sit there while they run diagnostics and give you the codes and the likely problems. Truly amazing but a little scary if they are listening in and tracking me everywhere.

Onstar is a cell-phone that allows a third party to monitor and if deemed necessary, to control your car…