Greg Heist and his family — wife Jill and sons Ethan, 5, and Jack, 3 — were on their way to Traverse City, Mich., for a long-awaited camping trip. Their 2011 GMC Acadia was loaded to the gills, as was their roof-mounted storage box.
About an hour and a half into their drive, they stopped for lunch. The trouble started when they got back on the road.
“As soon we got on the ramp to northbound I-75, I started getting messages on the instrument display saying ‘All Wheel Drive system malfunction,’ ‘Traction Control System malfunction’ and ‘StabiliTrak system malfunction,’” Greg says. “The vehicle also was not accelerating properly, so I knew we had an issue on our hands.”
At first he thought it might be a computer malfunction, so Greg pulled over, switched off the ignition and restarted it. But the warnings continued, so he contacted OnStar.
“When the OnStar Advisor came on, I told her what was happening and she immediately ran a remote vehicle diagnostic report, which confirmed the problem,” he says. “I asked her to send the vehicle directions to the nearest GMC dealer, who happened to be about 10 miles away, and for the phone number of the service department.”
Greg contacted the dealership and talked to one of the service advisors to let him know what was going on and what time he’d arrive at the dealership. “The service advisor was very friendly and let us know they’d be ready to help us as soon as we got there,” Greg says. “And the wait in the customer lounge was really pleasant — it was quiet and stocked with toys for the kids, which thankfully kept them occupied.”
The problem was resolved in about 90 minutes and the Heist family was back on the road. “We made it to the campground that night, got set up and were able to enjoy our vacation,” he says. “And as an added bonus, the weather was perfect.”
Greg says OnStar turned a potentially stressful situation into a very smooth, stress-free one. “Having someone on the other end of the OnStar button paving the way for us to get the help we needed was invaluable,” he says. “And the dealership provided fantastic service and worked hard to get us back on the road as soon as possible.”
His GMC Acadia is the first vehicle he’s ever had with OnStar, and until now, Greg says he’s used it mostly for directions. “We just moved to a new town and I rely on OnStar to help me find the best route to get where we’re going,” he says. “I’m also a huge fan of the OnStar RemoteLink(1) app and use it to lock or unlock the vehicle, start it remotely(2) or send driving directions to the vehicle. And after this experience, it’s likely the next vehicle we buy will be OnStar-equipped as well.”
If you have a concern while you’re driving and want OnStar to run a diagnostics check, just push the blue OnStar button. An Advisor can run an On-Demand Diagnostics(3) check while you’re driving, 24/7. This is in addition to your monthly OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics report that is emailed to you with the results of hundreds of checks of your engine, transmission, antilock brakes and more.
1 Services vary by phone, vehicle and conditions.
2 If factory-equipped.
3 Capabilities vary by model. Visit onstar.com for details and system limitations.
Have a vacation horror story? Or one that started off bad but turned out OK? Tell us about it in the comments below.