Where is the OnStar Fuse Located At and How to Remove It?

Where is the OnStar Fuse Located At and How to Remove It?

OnStar is a well-known provider of in-vehicle security, emergency, and connectivity services installed as standard or optional equipment in many General Motors vehicles. But what do you do if your OnStar system stops working or you want to temporarily disable certain features? More often than not, the culprit is a blown OnStar fuse. In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about locating and dealing with the OnStar fuse in your GM vehicle.

What is OnStar? Brief history and features

OnStar began in 1996 as the first in-vehicle security, communications, and diagnostics system available in production vehicles. It launched initially in certain Cadillac models and has since expanded broadly across the GM brand portfolio.

Some key OnStar features include hands-free calling via the built-in microphone and speakers, in-vehicle emergency response capabilities with roadside assistance, stolen vehicle slowdown or disablement, remote door unlock, in-vehicle diagnostics, and maintenance alerts sent directly to your smartphone.

OnStar also integrates with your smartphone via the OnStar mobile app, allowing remote start, location tracking, remote locking/unlocking of doors, and more from anywhere. Vehicles equipped with navigation offer turn-by-turn routing assistance from Advisors.

Additional capabilities have been added over the years such as an in-car WiFi hotspot, integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, additional smartphone integrations, and subscription-based advanced connectivity packages.

What is an OnStar fuse? Purpose and function

Where is the OnStar Fuse Located At and How to Remove It?

An OnStar fuse is a protective safety device located in the vehicle’s fuse box that supplies power to the vehicle’s OnStar module and components. Like any other fuse, it exists to prevent electrical overload or short circuits that could potentially cause damage, injury, or fire.

The OnStar fuse, usually rated at 10 amps or 15 amps, allows electricity from the vehicle’s battery to flow through the fuse box and to the OnStar control module located either in the headliner near the rearview mirror or integrated into the overhead console depending on the vehicle model and year.

Without power from the OnStar fuse, the OnStar system will not function at all as the control module itself receives no electricity. Things like emergency response capabilities, hands-free calling, navigation, remote services, and smartphone app connectivity all require an intact OnStar fuse to work properly.

Locating the OnStar fuse

While the specific fuse locations vary slightly per GM model, there are some general areas to check first when trying to find the OnStar fuse:

  • Under-hood fuse box – Check along the driver-side inner fender by the battery usually or under the hood-mounted fuse box.
  • Under-dash fuse box – Lift the driver-side panel at the footwell and check the rows of fuses behind it, usually towards the rear.
  • Glove compartment fuse box (select models) – Look inside the glove box at the fuse panel once opened.
  • Rear cargo/trunk fuse box – In certain trucks and SUVs the fuse box is located in the rear cargo area behind an access panel.

We’ll cover model-specific locations later. But in general, start by checking these common under-hood and under-dash areas shown in the owner’s manual diagrams or fuse box charts. The fuse itself will be clearly labeled for OnStar/Telematics/OCS.

 

Locating 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Limited for Sale near Orland Park, ILthe OnStar fuse in specific vehicles

Now let’s look at locating the OnStar fuse location in some of the most popular GM vehicles:

Chevy Impala (2006-2016)

On most Impalas from this generation, the OnStar fuse is fuse #22 rated at 10 amps located in the under-hood fuse box on the driver-side inner fender.

Chevy Silverado

For Silverado trucks, check the under-hood fuse box on the driver-side inner fender. Fuse #48 there supplies power to OnStar.

GMC Sierra

Same process as the Silverado – under the hood on the driver-side inner fender housing, fuse #48 is the OnStar fuse.

Cadillac

On Cadillac vehicles, inspect the fuse box access on the driver-side kick panel right below the steering wheel – fuse #29 there is usually the OnStar fuse.

Buick

Most Buick models have the OnStar fuse, usually rated at 15 amps, located in the under-dash fuse box behind the kick panel on the driver’s side. It may be labeled ‘TEL’ or ‘OCS’.

GMC Yukon

For the Yukon, search the rear cargo area fuse box access behind the left side trim panel. Fuse #28 is typically the OnStar fuse.

Chevrolet Suburban

Suburban owners, check the rear cargo area fuse access panel behind the left side trim for fuse #28 to find the OnStar fuse.

We’ve covered some of the most common models here. Your owner’s manual will have an exact diagram showing the OnStar fuse location specifically for your year and model.

Online video tutorial

For a visual tutorial, check out this quick YouTube video showing how to locate and remove the OnStar fuse from a 6th-generation Chevrolet Impala:

The presenter points out fuse #22 in the under-hood fuse box – a perfect example of where to start looking in most GM vehicles from this era. Seeing it done makes the process much easier to understand versus just reading instructions.

When would you need to remove the OnStar fuse?

There are a few common reasons someone may need or want to remove the OnStar fuse from their vehicle:

  • Troubleshooting electrical issues – If your OnStar system stops working unexpectedly, removing the fuse can help isolate if it’s a simple blown fuse or a component-level problem.
  • Temporarily disable OnStar features – Some want to disable emergency services or remote access for privacy when loaning their vehicle. Removing the fuse does this.
  • Permanently disable capabilities – Owners concerned about GPS tracking may remove the fuse to fully disable module communications and location services.
  • Avoid subscription charges – Vehicles left dormant for years with expired plans may still attempt to charge if the fuse is left in place.

So in summary – troubleshooting, privacy/security concerns, abandoning a vehicle long term. Just make sure to properly handle any contractual obligations first.

Proper way to remove OnStar fuse

To safely remove the OnStar fuse, follow these steps:

  1. Park and turn OFF the vehicle. This prevents electrical surges.
  2. Locate the fuse box based on your specific vehicle/model year as referenced earlier.
  3. Open the cover by lifting the tab, usually found at the end by a notch or two.
  4. Refer to the fuse diagram inside the box or in your owner’s manual to identify which fuse supplies power to OnStar.
  5. Gently pull the fuse straight out of its slot using the fuse puller tool usually provided in the box.
  6. Place the removed fuse in a safe location like your glove compartment for future replacement if needed.
  7. Close and secure the fuse box cover when finished.

Proper removal helps prevent potential damage and safety issues from accidental electrical shorts. Never remove fuses with the vehicle powered on.

Potential issues if OnStar fuse is removed

While removing the OnStar fuse disables the system, owners should be aware that certain functionality and capabilities will be impacted:

  • Loss of emergency services – Removing the fuse severs the connection to live OnStar Advisors who can dispatch emergency responders to your location.
  • Disablement of navigation and remote access – Without the fuse, you lose hands-free calling and the ability for the OnStar app or Alexa/Google to remote start, unlock doors, or find your vehicle’s location.
  • Potential subscription charges – As mentioned, OnStar may still attempt to charge the account holder a monthly fee even with the fuse removed since location data can’t confirm the vehicle is inoperable.

So full awareness of contractual obligations and understanding how removal affects emergency/safety features is important before taking this step. Always consider contacting OnStar support first.

Contacting OnStar customer support

Rather than immediately removing the fuse, the preferable first step is usually to contact OnStar directly via phone or chat to troubleshoot issues and see if a reset/reprogramming may resolve connectivity problems.

Explain your concern clearly and representatives can potentially:

  • Diagnose the issue remotely using telematics data
  • Perform an OnStar module reset or delete stored location data
  • Temporarily pause location services for privacy
  • Clear up billing questions for dormant vehicles
  • Guide you through safe fuse replacement if truly needed

OnStar wants happy customers and may be able to solve issues through software means before any hardware manipulation is required. Always leverage their support resources initially.

Locating spare fuses

How-To: Disable OnStar | Chevrolet Cruze Forums

With the fuse removed, it’s a good idea to properly store the spare in case future replacement becomes necessary. Most vehicles carry spare fuses either in the fuse box itself next to empty slots or in the owner’s manual packet.

Common best practice locations include:

  • Owner’s manual storage pocket or glove compartment
  • Fuse puller tool storage tab in the fuse box
  • Plastic fuse case underneath driver’s seat
  • Spare fuse slots in fuse box cover
  • Extra fuses taped to the underside of the hood

Having the correct rated spare fuse readily accessible makes future troubleshooting or warranty work much simpler down the road.

OnStar fuse specifications

While fuse ratings vary per vehicle, here are some common specs to be aware of:

  • Size: Mini blade or ATO style
  • Rating: Usually 10A or 15A
  • Color: May be yellow, blue, tan, or unlabeled
  • Continuous duty: Handles system’s nominal load
  • Fast-acting: Blows quickly if overloaded

Fuses protect sensitive electronic modules from power surges. Never replace with a higher-rated fuse which could compromise safety circuits designed to trip at the rated threshold. Stick to the factory-specified amperage.

Signs the fuse may need replacing

A blown fuse will prevent your OnStar system from powering on. Here are some tell-tale signs it may need replacement:

  • The OnStar module won’t communicate or the startup sequence fails
  • Known blown component (e.g. mic, screen) when fuse last worked
  • Fuse element discolored, melted, or damaged looking
  • The system was working but mysteriously died overnight
  • The fuse previously blew under the same conditions

Always diagnose the root cause first before blindly swapping fuses. But these are good indicators a new fuse may resolve your OnStar issues.

Process for testing a fuse

The fastest way to confirm if a fuse is indeed blown is with a multimeter. Set it to continuity test or ohms and follow these steps:

  1. Remove the fuse from its socket
  2. Connect the two probe ends to each end of the fuse
  3. A good fuse will show 0 ohms of resistance
  4. A blown fuse will register as an open circuit

Most fuse pulls straight out – don’t rock or force it. This quick voltage check saves a trip to the parts store if the fuse tests good but the issue remains. Always have a known good fuse to compare readings.

When to contact a mechanic

While fuse replacement is generally quite simple, there are times when bringing your vehicle to a professional is advisable:

  • The fuse repeatedly blows shortly after installing a new one
  • Unable to accurately diagnose the root cause yourself
  • OnStar issue persists after fuse change
  • More extensive electrical diagnosis is needed
  • Wish to have a technician validate all systems are safe
  • Module/hardware repairs may be required

A mechanic can utilize specialized scan tools, perform load tests, and pinpoint defects more thoroughly. Don’t take unnecessary risks with high-voltage circuitry. If multiple fuses blow, it’s best to have a pro identify any underlying short circuits.

Special considerations for newer vehicles

In late-model GM vehicles equipped with 4G LTE wireless modems, the process involves a few additional steps:

  • Disconnecting the OnStar/telematics module completely may be required in addition to fuse removal
  • Modules are physically integrated deeper into the dash/roof headliner and in some cases wiring separation is challenging
  • Permanently disabling location tracking and services grows increasingly difficult as core functions move to the cloud
  • Law enforcement agencies have backdoors into new integrated safety/communications systems

While fuse removal still severs power, be aware advanced electronics make tampering with GM telematic systems more complex in newer models. Research specific year compatibility carefully.

GPS tracking overview

OnStar utilizes vehicle GPS location data for several purposes including:

  • Providing turn-by-turn navigation when subscribed to guidance plans
  • Locating your vehicle on the app if stolen or in an emergency
  • Optimizing service response times by Advisors knowing the vehicle location
  • Tracking vehicle health/diagnostic trouble codes remotely
  • Potentially collecting anonymous driving/route data for traffic/mapping use

So while GPS functionality enables useful features, it also grants OnStar awareness of your vehicle’s whereabouts at all times it is powered on.

Permanently disabling GPS tracking

If looking to fully disable the collection or transmission of vehicle location data, the steps required grow more involved:

  • Fuse removal alone may no longer fully stop tracking capabilities depending on wireless integration
  • Physically disconnecting or removing the telematics control module is increasingly necessary on newer systems
  • Requesting deletion of stored location/vehicle records held by OnStar can provide additional privacy assurances

However, doing so may violate any active services contract and disable safety/security features. Consult your owner’s manual and OnStar to understand technical and legal implications specific to your year/model.

Module disconnection tutorial

Here is a summary of how to potentially disconnect the OnStar module on a late-model vehicle as a more thorough alternative to just fuse removal:

  1. Gain access to the telematics control module, usually hidden above the rearview mirror or interior roof liner
  2. Disconnect the negative battery terminal temporarily for your safety
  3. Not all wire harnesses and connectors leading to the module
  4. Carefully undo each connector from the module one by one
  5. If possible, cut any permanent power/ground leads to fully isolate
  6. Seal module access area when finished for water/debris protection
  7. Consider fuse removal also if the main power wire isn’t cut

Again, this process is complex, and further disabling tracking relies on OnStar compliance. Consult the dealer first due to potential drivability/safety impacts.

Legal and contractual obligations

Those who choose to tamper with or disable OnStar systems should be aware of certain legal and contractual responsibilities:

  • Active services contracts may prohibit unauthorized access/tampering of OnStar modules
  • Disconnecting safety/emergency capabilities like automatic crash response could raise liability issues
  • OnStar maintains rights to tracking data per terms of use even after system disablement
  • Law enforcement could potentially still access location history records through official means
  • Tampering can void portions of new vehicle warranties according to GM

So while owners have a right to privacy, be very careful not to violate any agreements in place and understand all legal obligations before proceeding with module manipulation.

Why some want to disable tracking

While OnStar tracking provides useful benefits to many, others seek to disable capabilities due to privacy/security concerns such as:

  • Avoiding constant location/travel monitoring and data collection practices
  • Stopping potential selling/sharing of personal driving/route habits to third parties
  • Preventing law enforcement/government tracking without proper authorization
  • Isolating vehicles from remote access by threats like carjacking through stolen credentials
  • Not wanting location tracked if the vehicle is stored for long periods dormant

For these individuals, fully removing GPS tracking abilities takes priority over safety/remote features. Of course, all customers should feel secure and in control of their personal information.

Common questions

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What does the OnStar fuse do? The OnStar fuse provides power to the telematics control module from the vehicle battery, enabling all connectivity and tracking functions.

How do I know if my OnStar fuse is blown? Signs include the system not powering on, known faulty components, discolored/melted fuse appearance, or repeated fusing issues after replacement. A multimeter can also directly test continuity.

Where is the fuse on my specific vehicle? Owner’s manual diagrams or our guide can locate it – usually under the hood, under the dash, or rear cargo fuse boxes depending on make/model.

How do I reset my OnStar module? Contact OnStar support for safe reset procedures like performing a module reset remotely to clear temporary issues.

Additional troubleshooting tips? Check for firmware updates, clear Bluetooth pairings, reset infotainment units and take to the dealer for deeper diagnostics involving proprietary scan tools if issues persist.

What are my options to disable vehicle tracking in newer models? Due to advanced integration, disabling GPS tracking grows complex and may require physically disconnecting the telematics control module in addition to removing fuses and toggles. Research specifics for your exact year/make/model. Consult the dealer or OnStar for guidance.

Does removing the fuse fully disable OnStar? It severs power but depending on the wireless integration level, tracking can still potentially function until the telematics module itself is removed/disabled on some late models.

I hope these insights help you better understand your OnStar options and how to troubleshoot issues involving its fuse! Let me know if any other questions come up.

Additional troubleshooting for OnStar problems

A few other common OnStar glitches and their potential fixes:

  • Touchscreen not responding – Check for firmware updates, reset touch calibration, ensure good fuse/connections
  • Apps not loading – Clear Bluetooth pairings, reset infotainment, update OnStar app, check for compatibility issues
  • Hands-free calling issues – Check microphone connections, toggle Bluetooth pairing, disable other Bluetooth devices, reset module
  • Voice commands not working – Calibrate voice recognition, ensure good mic, process reset through OnStar support
  • WiFi not working – Ensure hotspot subscription is active, try refreshing hotspot, check fuse/connections
  • Navigation errors – Check for map updates, reset guidance unit, confirm good GPS antenna connection

If issues persist, the onboard diagnostics of a dealership service department can better utilize proprietary diagnostic tools most consumers lack access to. A trained technician may spot module failures identifiable only via telematics data scans.

OnStar warranty and purchase options

Be aware of these OnStar coverage details that impact troubleshooting:

  • Most factory-installed systems include free emergency services for the life of the vehicle
  • Connected services/guidance plans are subscription-based, cancellable monthly
  • OnStar hardware is usually warrantied for the same duration as basic vehicle coverage
  • Extended OnStar hardware warranties can sometimes be purchased separately
  • Aftermarket installations generally support mechanics/parts separately
  • OnStar-certified pre-owned programs transfer remaining factory warranty coverage
  • Leased vehicles revert standard OnStar to lessor/GM at lease end

So understand what’s covered by vehicle warranty versus monthly services for repair and replacement scenarios down the road as systems age.

Taking your vehicle to the dealership

While some basic troubleshooting can be done at home, the dealership service department offers these additional perks:

  • Access to genuine GM replacement parts if needed
  • Proprietary diagnostic software for module-level testing
  • Direct liaison with OnStar for complex resets/reprogramming
  • Verification of all upgrades/repair work by trained technicians
  • Potential to leverage vehicle powertrain warranty coverage
  • Loaner vehicles are offered during lengthy repair turnarounds
  • Repairs performed to factory specifications by certified shops

So for issues beyond simple fuse replacement, don’t hesitate to use your dealership’s expertise. Have them validate all systems are functioning safely after any DIY repairs.

Conclusion

With so many vehicles relying on OnStar’s in-car connectivity, safety, and security features, the powering fuse may inevitably blow from time to time requiring replacement. While removing it offers easy ways to troubleshoot or disable functions temporarily, using OnStar support resources first is usually preferable to resolving problems remotely before hardware manipulation. And for complex modern systems, dealer diagnostics provide important validation that all repairs were done correctly. With proper troubleshooting steps and an understanding of capabilities, owners can keep their OnStar experience running smoothly for many years to come.