If you are buying a used car but wish you had some of the technology available today's cars, you can now get automatic crash response services, navigation and more for most of the cars on the road today through a new service from OnStar.
The General Motors subsidiary now offers its safety and navigation services for most cars via a replacement rearview mirror, called OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle). Launched in 1995 on GM autos, OnStar made a name for itself with its ability to send emergency responders to drivers after collisions, even if they themselves couldn't call for help.
OnStar FMV subscribers can get this emergency service, which OnStar calls Automatic Crash Response, as well as roadside and stolen vehicle assistance, hands-free calling with Bluetooth, turn-by-turn navigation and navigation with Google Maps and MapQuest destinations. Costs vary depending on the services the driver purchases and if monthly or annual payments are selected. The most expensive plan is $28.90 per month. Additionally, the OnStar FMV mirror, which is sold at electronics retailers, including Best Buy, costs $299.
More than 40 GM models come equipped with OnStar and the service is free on those cars for the first six months. After that, drivers must subscribe to one of the same plans that are offered to OnStar FMV customers.
OnStar reports there are currently 6 million OnStar subscribers who own GM autos, with that number expected to grow substantially now that the new OnStar FMV service is available for an estimated 90 million cars currently on the road.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Twitter @SheDrives.