Traverse Forum banner

1 - 20 of 40 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello all -

I'm a newbie who's seriously considering getting a Traverse within the next 3-4 weeks, which would be my first GM vehicle ever (and I'm over 50 years old). Anyway, I'm going to have mucho questions for this great collective wisdom that I've been reading here for a few days, but I'll start with a couple ridiculously easy ones first that show my ignorance (and I hope this is the right section to post this):

1. I know XM radio is standard. But does that mean that once I take delivery that I have to pay the monthly subscription fee, as I obviously would if I purchased XM on my own? Or does GM have some arrangement, like the rental car companies, where it's "free" (i.e. built into their cost of doing business) for me?

2. I also know you can use On Star somehow with your own cell phone. Also On Star can call for help, etc. Question: Say I forget my cellphone at home. Can I still use OnStar for personal calls, just like a regular cellphone? (I imagine I'd have to sign up somehow to register my own phone number and it'd use my minutes, or something like that.)


OK, now that you've almost stopped laughing at me, I'll be happy for any straight answers I can get.

Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Yes, you will have to pay for XM, once your free trial runs out. My free trial was 3 months. After that, you deal with XM directly.

[EDIT: OnStar uses Verizon Wireless, not satellite, for communications.]

As I understand it, OnStar and your cell phone are totally separate [unless you have Verizon for your cell phone and opt to link the accounts together]. You can use OnStar to make satellite phone calls, as long as you prebuy minutes from OnStar [though you can apparently opt to share your Verizon cell minutes with OnStar]. I think mine came with 30 OnStar phone minutes that expired in 2 or 3 months, but we never used them. The rest of OnStar (directions, etc.) was paid for 1 year for us with the car purchase. After that, you deal with OnStar to pay for the features you would like to continue, if any.

We just use our cell phones and handsfree bluetooth in the car. Just pair the cellphone and the car one time, and then from that point when you bring the phone into the car, they automatically make the connection. IIRC, the car can deal with 5 different cell phones this way. Then when the phone gets a call, the car quiets down (mutes the radio, turns down the heater blower) and announces the call, and then you can answer or ignore the call via the buttons on the steering wheel. You hear the call over the car's speakers, and can speak normally to talk. When the call is done, the radio and blower come back on.

OnStar phone is probably a good option if you travel where cell service isn't available. I could also see it being a good option for people that work out of their cars, assuming calls won't drop out as much as cell calls do (which I'm not sure about, since we haven't tried it). That depends on the service price too of course.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
OnStar uses the Verizon Wireless network. It does not use satellite communications. OnStar will only work when you have phone coverage from Verizon Wireless. If you are already a Verizon Wireless customer, you can add your car's phone number to your Verizon Wireless account for only $10 per month.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
You know what frustrates me?

I have 1 car that has Sirius and I pay 12.95 a month for that car and it includes Howard Stern. If I add a second Sirius radio to my plan its 6.99.

When I called XM they told me that they are "still operating as two separate companies" and if I want the XM with Howard Stern in the Traverse I have to pay a second 12.95 + 4 dollars for the best of Sirius.

WTF?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
tim said:
OnStar uses the Verizon Wireless network. It does not use satellite communications. OnStar will only work when you have phone coverage from Verizon Wireless. If you are already a Verizon Wireless customer, you can add your car's phone number to your Verizon Wireless account for only $10 per month.
Good to know. Now I'm trying to remember if it was explained to me that way (satellite), or if I just assumed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
intotheoh said:
You know what frustrates me?

I have 1 car that has Sirius and I pay 12.95 a month for that car and it includes Howard Stern. If I add a second Sirius radio to my plan its 6.99.

When I called XM they told me that they are "still operating as two separate companies" and if I want the XM with Howard Stern in the Traverse I have to pay a second 12.95 + 4 dollars for the best of Sirius.

WTF?

I'm in the same boat, with Sirius in my other car and wanting to keep XM in this one after the trial ends. I emailed Sirius about a week ago to ask about pricing XM as a second account, but still haven't heard anything. I doubt I'd pay full price for both...would have to choose which one to keep.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
One consolation was that when I called Sirius they offered me a free radio for the Traverse, but why would I want a wonky 3rd party unit?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Re: XM radio and On Star questions

Ok, this is from experience.
First XM/Sirius radio renewal. You can get it for $77 a year. Just call XM about the time your three months trial is ready to expire at 1-877-228-9058 or 1-877-228-9058 and tell them you want the $77 one year special. If they say they cant do that just tell them you are going to let it expire. You will get the special rate. ( I have just renewed mine at that rate for the second year.) Be persistent, you might have to talk to two or three people. (in India I think)

OnStar and the hands free phone are totally separate; you do not use phone Min's when you call OnStar and making a call on the hands free phone does not connect you with OnStar. You cannot make a personal call on OnStar. If you purchase the Verizon plan in connection with On Star your calls go thru the Verizon towers. If you are in an area where you cannot connect with a Verizon tower your call goes thru OnStar which is satellite linked and you will be charged a roaming charge plus .69 per min. on your Verizon bill.

Hands free calling Min's are very expensive and are only good for one year (so they say). When we purchased our 08 Enclave you could purchase 100 hands free phone Min's at a special rate; ( I think $14.99) that is no longer available to my knowledge but like XM you can wheel and deal with OnStar. Just remember they know once they loose you as a customer odds are your not coming back; they want your business. I just renewed my OnStar for $148 a year and they roll over the unused hands free Min's remaining; no problem in fact they even added some.

Just remember be persistent; times are tough and they know it; OnStar and XM are not what you might call necessities.

Good luck to you Traverse owners it's a nice looking vehicle; looks just about like the Enclave from the side and much better in general than the Acadia or Outlook IMHO.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
The 14.99 "re-up" for onstar minutes still exist. When I called to activate they offered it to me. I said no, so they offered it to me for 10.99
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks to all who chimed in, especially clbhk and 43sbest. I'm sure I could have found that info on my own with some digging, but you all showed me what I like best about these boards -- the REAL WORLD experience about pricing and usage.

Thanks again, amigos!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,235 Posts
Depending on what you do and who will drive the vehicle- Onstars Directions and connections plan is great.
If you or your spouse dont like the new GPS units that you have to fiddle with to get directions--- or you dont want to learn a new gadget... then Onstars Turn by Turn is for you.

for example. Our 07 Impala. My gf uses the car. Her job also has her driving to multiple clients throughout Los Angeles. She used to carry internet printed directions or got directions from her clients- these arent always the best. She also had a Thomas Guide.
She now has several ways to get directions....
1. she can get in car and call ONSTAR and talk to a live person who will find the directions and upload them to her car- takes about 2 minutes....
2. she can now go online- to mapquest- and find the location- she then sends the directions to her car. when she gets in- she presses the PHONE button and says VIRTUAL ADVISER... then a voice comes on and tells her she has a new destination. (Can store up to 5).

Many times she gets calls to go a new client.... if shes in the middle of something and needs to get there quick... she does one of 2 things...
she will email me the directions or she will text me the directions. (im always behind a computer at my job)... so I simply go to mapquest, find the directions and upload them to her car.... takes me minutes...
By the time she gets into her car--- the directions are waiting.

so this is ideal for her. she drives and does not want to stop to look at a screen and punch in destinations etc. she can talk to someone- or have the directions preloaded from the night before or I can do it on the fly.....

If you like pictures and like gadgets-- than maybe a portable GPS is for you and not Onstar.
There is a yearly fee for the turn by turn-- I think its about $300 a year for onstar WITH turn by turn....
But it also has a few other features.. like remote unlocking of your car... (BEEN THERE DONE THAT).

We use At&T for our cell phone... but we do buy minutes on the Car phone. (our 07 does not have Bluetooth)... they do come in handy when the regular phone cant get a signal. The cars transmitter is more powerful than handhelds so is able to work in places reg cell phones do not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I just want to clarify. You don't need to be a Verizon customer to use OnStar. However, if you are a customer then, yes you can use On-Star like another line on your account. The car will already be assigned it's own phone number and you will pay Verizon $10 per month and share minutes via the Family Share Plan.

You can stay just with On-Star and you can make personnel calls as long as you have minutes to use. In fact, some GM rental cars with On-Star have minutes left on them. FYI.

CP
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Hey, thanks CP and Rbarrios,

I do already have a Verizon family plan, in fact, so sounds like a great fit.

I also have a really good Garmin GPS -- have never been a fan of built-in nav units, so will not pay extra to get one in the Traverse, but I (and my wife) would surely use some of the OnStar directional-help options you mentioned!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
duayned said:
Hey, thanks CP and Rbarrios,

I do already have a Verizon family plan, in fact, so sounds like a great fit.

I also have a really good Garmin GPS -- have never been a fan of built-in nav units, so will not pay extra to get one in the Traverse, but I (and my wife) would surely use some of the OnStar directional-help options you mentioned!
Before adding your Traverse to your family plan, think about how much you will use it. $10 x 12 months is $120. In the two years I have had my Outlook I have purchased 200 minutes and still have about 75 left over - cost $80.00. Plus your Traverse should have Bluetooth thus eliminating the need to link to your plan. Just some thoughts. Condsider how much you are actually going to use it. However, if you plan to use the virtual advisor feature, you have to have minutes on your Traverse. Your Traverse will come with it's own phone number and if you do the family plan you will get a second number - basically giving your Traverse two phones built into one. The virtual advisor will not use the Verizon minutes, it will use the Traverses minutes. As far as low signal areas changing to satellite coverage, unless the technology has been upgraded in the last 2 years, I don't think that is correct. Contacting Onstar is over a cellular connection that does not use any minutes. If you are in a remote area, you may not have connection to them (know this from experience). The only satellite on the vehicle is the reception of XM. I learned most all of this from talking to Onstar and Verizon before I decided to stick with ATT.

If I am not mistaken, and I could be, your Traverse does not have the big nav screen. What you get with the Turn by Turn is a voice guided system that tells you when to turn and how far you have to go. The basic radio screen will tell you also how far you have to go. Nice feature, no maps to look at, paper or digital.

Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
khansen30 said:
Before adding your Traverse to your family plan, think about how much you will use it. $10 x 12 months is $120. In the two years I have had my Outlook I have purchased 200 minutes and still have about 75 left over - cost $80.00. Plus your Traverse should have Bluetooth thus eliminating the need to link to your plan. Just some thoughts.
If I am not mistaken, and I could be, your Traverse does not have the big nav screen. What you get with the Turn by Turn is a voice guided system that tells you when to turn and how far you have to go. The basic radio screen will tell you also how far you have to go. Nice feature, no maps to look at, paper or digital.

Good luck.
KHansen - Good points. I have 3 kids on my Family Plan now, so I'm not real eager to add yet another money-grubber. It's just good to know I have that option if need be.
Also, I don't need Virtual Advisor for traffic, weather, etc. here in NY.
I didn't know OnStar directions used any screen at all, not even the radio face, but that's cool.
I figured it pretty much as you describe it -- like having a speaking nav unit, but audio-only with an automated voice giving turn directions as you approach key points.
Thanks for adding those details!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
duayned said:
KHansen - Good points. I have 3 kids on my Family Plan now, so I'm not real eager to add yet another money-grubber. It's just good to know I have that option if need be.
Also, I don't need Virtual Advisor for traffic, weather, etc. here in NY.
I didn't know OnStar directions used any screen at all, not even the radio face, but that's cool.
I figured it pretty much as you describe it -- like having a speaking nav unit, but audio-only with an automated voice giving turn directions as you approach key points.
Thanks for adding those details!
What you get with the little screen are arrows point the way to turn, countdown from miles to yards to feet before a turn, street names, the basics, plus you can preview where they are taking you by pushing the corisponding button under the word on the radio. I really like it. The virtual advisor is neat. Before we go on a trip, I sit down and load from mapquest 4 or 5 places I don't know how to get to. By accessing the VI and giving a name tag for the location, it loads the TxT automatically without having to tell the onstar operator, saves from having to read an address while you are driving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Wait -- now I'm getting confused (wouldn't be the first time :confused:).

What you just described sounds like the optional full-blown Nav system interfacing with OnStar. I know that many carmakers now combine Nav with the radio and to use the same screen.

I thought you had meant that OnStar somehow interfaces with the plain old basic radio in some limited way.
You're not saying you get all that you just mentioned with the plain base radio and OnStar TxT directions, are you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
duayned said:
Hello all -

I'm a newbie who's seriously considering getting a Traverse within the next 3-4 weeks, which would be my first GM vehicle ever (and I'm over 50 years old). Anyway, I'm going to have mucho questions for this great collective wisdom that I've been reading here for a few days, but I'll start with a couple ridiculously easy ones first that show my ignorance (and I hope this is the right section to post this):

1. I know XM radio is standard. But does that mean that once I take delivery that I have to pay the monthly subscription fee, as I obviously would if I purchased XM on my own? Or does GM have some arrangement, like the rental car companies, where it's "free" (i.e. built into their cost of doing business) for me?

2. I also know you can use On Star somehow with your own cell phone. Also On Star can call for help, etc. Question: Say I forget my cellphone at home. Can I still use OnStar for personal calls, just like a regular cellphone? (I imagine I'd have to sign up somehow to register my own phone number and it'd use my minutes, or something like that.)


OK, now that you've almost stopped laughing at me, I'll be happy for any straight answers I can get.

Thanks!
duayned, are you going to order your Traverse or just and see what is in the current inventory?

dearsmiths
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
201 Posts
OnStar sends directions to your vehicle and displays them on the radio w/nav you get the map displayed and have the option of saving it, the regular radio displays what the voice prompts say. Hope that clears it up a little.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,235 Posts
on our 07 Impala- it will show small arrows and mileage info on the radio display.
for example--- if you have a turn up ahead--- it displays the info of the distance left till the turn..it begins to countdown the distance... from miles to yards and I think feet...
so you know youre getting close--- it also tells you via the voice....
What I find very interesting--- is how accurate it is when indicating that something is supposed to take place..
for example the turn.. lets say a rt turn--- as you get to the street corner--- just about the time that youre supposed to start making your rt turn--- you get this double beep........
Im always amazed at how accurate this is...
I find this useful...
So yeah.. not pics of maps etc for you to look at.. but will show distance to and little arrows... you can also hit the preview button and it will preview the route step by step
 
1 - 20 of 40 Posts
Top