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Explained: How to Use Bluetooth Without Onstar

Explained: How to Use Bluetooth Without Onstar

OnStar is the most unique car management system that General Motors uses. In fact, the subscription-based system is excellent for managing incoming calls. However, a common question that comes up from people using the cars is would you need to get a subscription to use the Bluetooth system?

The fact of the matter is that OnStar does not disrupt Bluetooth functioning. You don’t need a subscription with the service to connect and use your phone’s Bluetooth system, especially not to play music, for example. As long as your phone has Bluetooth available, it can easily connect to the car without any need to subscribe to OnStar. 

So if you are interested in learning a lot more about connecting your Bluetooth or what OnStar is, keep reading this article! We’ll even show you how to connect your Bluetooth using OnStar, so continue browsing through this article to understand the subject better!

How To Connect Bluetooth Without OnStar

A lot of the vehicles from General Motors come with an onboard system known as OnStar. This system lets your Bluetooth-enabled phones connect to it and manage calls completely hand-free. This eliminates the risk of receiving calls while driving and helps you stick to traffic laws when you are on the road. 

You can actually connect to the OnStar system if you want to make calls, but it is not necessary. In fact, if your phone has a Bluetooth connection available, you can use it with the car for just about anything! This includes playing music and listening to calls. 

However, if you don’t use the OnStar system, you may have to avoid making calls when driving, as it is not a hand-free system. But at the end of the day, as long as you connect your phone, there is no obligation to subscribe to the service if you don’t need the features. 

How To Pair Bluetooth To Onstar

We have talked at length about the scenario where you want to connect to Bluetooth without OnStar. The question now is, what do you do when you do want to use the service? Well, first and foremost, you should have a subscription to OnStar. We’ll discuss the details of the subscription plan below. 

However, aside from that, you also need to understand the purpose of this service. OnStar can be extremely helpful, particularly in emergency situations. Because it is completely hand-free, you can activate a call even when you can’t reach your phone. You can also use this service when you are out and about on the road and can’t look away. So, how do you connect to the OnStar subscription? Follow these steps:

  1. On your steering wheel, press down the Talk button for at least two seconds.
  2. Say the word ‘Bluetooth’ out loud so the system can detect your voice.
  3. In response, you will hear the sound ‘Bluetooth Ready,’ and there will be a tone to let you know that is the case.
  4. Next, say the word ‘Pair’ to the system.
  5. The system will respond with ‘Please Start A Search On Your Phone.’
  6. You should also note down the PIN that the system says out loud.
  7. Switch on Bluetooth on your phone.
  8. Add the car Bluetooth system to your phone. 
  9. Pair the devices using the PIN code from before.
  10. Name the device on your car, and add it to the OnStar system.

Your phone will now pair with the system, and you can use it for a number of things, such as the media playback and call management. 

What Is OnStar?

Photo: GM

OnStar is a telematics system created by General Motors. Since the company owns this system, it is built into most of the cars by this brand. You may be familiar with the service if you have one of these cars, as you might see their logo and branding when you use your car. The system has a focus on communication and is a pioneer in the field. In fact, it is one of the earliest systems to incorporate multiple facets of necessities when driving. 

This can include navigation, hands-free management, integrated apps, and even emergency systems. However, there is still a focus with this service to remain in connection to the needs of the modern driver. It is fascinating to consider that OnStar became a part of General Motors systems many decades ago. 

In fact, one of the earliest uses of this system was that of emergency management. However, this was primarily because, at the time, the availability of phone emergency services was not as widespread as it is today. Therefore, OnStar is a system that came into being with a focus on safety rather than as an entertainment system as most other car systems are created. 

However, as time has gone by, there are more and more features that have become part of the system. This includes the ability to connect devices and even to maintain your car. All of this being said, unfortunately, there is a plan to end the hands-free service from General Motors. That means that past 2022, you will not be able to use this particular feature in the car. 

Related: Does Nintendo Switch Have Bluetooth?

Cost Of OnStar Subscription

When you get a new General Motors vehicle, you are bound to be able to use the OnStar system. This happens through a trial subscription model, and costs can depend on a number of factors. The reason behind a difference in pricing is because there are different levels of service. The more services you opt for, the more expensive the cost of this system. However, there is a basic plan available that many cars from General Motors get as a bonus when you get a new vehicle. 

There are three basic subscription plans, and their costs are lesser when you opt for a yearly plan:

  1. Protection plans start at $19.99 a month.
  2. Security plans start at $24.99 a month. 
  3. Guidance plans start at $34.99 a month. 

When you use OnStar, you can even get data plans to use with your plan calling services. 


Using OnStar can be great if you are likely to get calls on the road. However, you don’t need a subscription to the service to be able to pass away your driving time while listening to some Bluetooth-connected music.