Man Turns Chevy Trailblazer Into Giant Cellphone

Wayne shares a cool Chevy/On-Star/Verizon billing hack that reduces his monthly bills:

I just bought a new Chevy Trailblazer which came equipped with On-Star and hands-free phone service. The hands-free service was provided through a pre-paid plan with Verizon Wireless. I called Verizon and they actually put my Chevy onto my already existing Family Plan for $9.99 a month. Now, my car is a giant cell phone with all the same calling features of a regular phone ( Verizon to Verizon for free, free evenings and weekends, etc… ).

Sweet deal, no doubt it would work for any other car prequipped with On-Star. Anyone else hack their car’s hands-free service in a similar way?


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  1. youbastid says:

    It’s a cool idea, but why pay an extra $10 a month to use your car as a cellphone when you can use your cellphone in your car for not an extra $10 a month?

    If it’s just for the hands free, there are a number of ways to do that without paying $10 a month.

  2. 3drage says:

    And because of this article, they will now exclude autos in their terms of service.

  3. tomdtom says:

    This isn’t a hack or remotely special. It’s a service between GM and Verizon that has been available for at least a year.

    Beware though, Verizon only offers this service on current plans. Meaning that if you have a two year old plan that is no longer being sold to new customers, then you must upgrade to a new plan to add the line.

  4. Does that mean you get a new one every two years?

  5. RottNDude says:

    It’s a Chevy, you have no choice but to get a new one every two years…

  6. satoru says:

    Why not just buy a bluetooth headset for $60 instead? Not to mention what happens to your cell phone bill when your car gets stolen. It’s interesting but wholly unpractical and unnecessary IMHO.

  7. remusrm says:

    verizon… what if i want to go to Europe? no fair…

  8. qwickone says:

    I don’t understand – it has hands free, but not bluetooth? Why wouldnt you just connect your existing phone through bluetooth?

  9. MDSasquatch says:

    Who wants an electronic contraption stuck to their ear?

  10. cosby says:

    I would think for most people a hands free kit would be better but this is still a nice option to have. Would be good if a car is sharred between a few family members.

  11. winstonthorne says:

    @remusrm: I wouldn’t worry about going to Europe; there’s a puddle between us and them that even a Trailblazer cannot master… :-P

  12. RenardRouge says:

    With this, whoever is driving the car can be reached. Plus if your battery is dead on your cell phone this will work instead.

  13. jollymonjeff says:

    This is not a hack or new twist…It has been offered for quite a while as an option to using OnStar’s calling plan.

    Onstar and Saab left me to twist in the wind with my 03 Saab 9-3. They knew at the time I bought my car, that the system in my car would not function just 4 years from when I purchased it. They had an obligation to mention that little fact, as the OnStar system was a prime factor in buying the car. The took an active role in fraud, but not telling me that a major componant of my car would cease to function.

    I was an active and paid subscriber from day one.

    There is no upgrade kit available for the analog OnStar and I recieved NO offers from GM or OnStar, just warning notices that it would stop working and those I got this summer.

    I would NEVER buy another OnStar equipped vehicle because I could not trust the company.

  14. Tank says:

    @jollymonjeff: I think you are confusing a representative at a dealership (a privately owned company with an agreement to sell new Saab vehicles) with Saab and OnStar. I’m sure neither corporation were consulted when you made your purchase, just a salesman who wouldn’t know what service would or wouldn’t be available in 4 years.

    Sorry you had a bad experience, but I don’t think fraud is the right word.

  15. xerotope says:

    This does seem silly. Usually the “hands-free” in a car functions like a giant bluetooth headset.

    When you get in your car, it syncs with your existing cell-phone over bluetooth, and calls are automatically placed/received through the car’s hands free system.

    No pre-paid or family plan required. Of course, this is far more common in European car companies, as bluetooth penetration there is much higher than here in the states.

  16. KingPsyz says:

    Well I know Toyota offers Bluetooth pairing in many of it’s vehicles. But I have had several customers who were trading in OnStar equipped vehicles and they used them as their on the road cell phone.

    I always wondered how much hassle they had to go through to turn off that line without an ETF or someone running up the bill on them.

  17. copterchris says:

    Yes, hardly a hack – it a well-advertised feature of OnStar and Verizon :


  18. tmed says:

    It’s pain to carry the thing on a belt clip

  19. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Onstar sucks. I really can’t trust a service that has the ability lock/unlock your doors remotely, locate/track your vehicle, and eavesdrop on your conversations.

  20. scoosdad says:

    @MDSasquatch: Bluetooth hands-free in a car could also mean a small speakerphone device clipped to the visor, such as the Motorola unit I own and move between two vehicles. Simple, was cheap to buy, and it works well.

  21. midwestkel says:

    It is kind of a hack because if you use the service through OnStar that sell you blocks of 100 minutes at some outrageous price more than $10. So that fact that he is sharing his minutes is saving him money!

  22. Mr. Gunn says:

    midwestkel: Yeah, but they know they can get away with it because the kind of person that’s OK with a call center monitoring and having control over his car probably thinks it’s a good deal.

    Just don’t say anything bad about Indians, they’ll remotely cut power to your engine.

  23. racermd says:

    As others have noted, this isn’t new nor really a hack (in the traditional sense). OnStar and Verizon have been offering this for a while. All you need to do is have your OnStar account tied to your Verizon account.

    What’s *really* fun is actually hacking into the OnStar module to tap its GPS signal for a homebrew GPS navigation solution without paying for the $1k+ OEM nav head-unit. Or maybe injecting the signal from your iPods line-out into the OEM XM feed complete with control signals.

    Those that don’t trust OnStar to track you can even disable or even remove the control unit entirely.

    *THOSE* are hacks. The Verizon thing is actually a feature.

  24. Blondimom says:

    pretty cool idea. I do see the guys point of why when you can take your phone in your car, but for 10 bucks i think it is worth it just for novilty sake