Why is My OnStar Light Red? (Answered)

One of the most visible signs of a failing OnStar system is a red TTY interface module indicator light. But there’s more to this than meets the eye. I’m sure an OnStar advisor will tell you exactly what’s wrong and guide you on what you should do. But suffice it to say that a red signal is a warning that something is not right with the OnStar system.

Let’s dive in.

What is OnStar TTY System and How does it Work?

The OnStar system in your car is integrated to provide a number of emergency and non-emergency services. The interface helps to communicate and streamline voice commands when you need assistance.

Not all cars have OnStar but its location on vehicles that feature the system depends on the model of the automobile.  Typically, you can locate it on the dashboard in vehicles that feature the system. You can also find OnStar in the rearview mirror or in an overhead console of your vehicle.

OnStar is a small panel. The OnStar system features several buttons and lights, including status lights. We have the Red, Off, Green, Blinking Green, White, and Blue buttons. You can press any button, depending on the kind of assistance you need. If you’re caught in an emergency situation, you should press the red Emergency button.

The blue OnStar button comes to mind when you’re in a non-emergency situation. You should press the blue button to call a roadside mechanic in case you have a flat or punctured tire. It also comes to mind when finding a route away from severe driving conditions. The press button can help you check the condition of your vehicle. If you push the button, you can communicate in real-time with a real-life or virtual advisor.

The white On Star button is the voice mode which allows you to make and receive calls. The Voice Command typically shows an icon which indicates someone is speaking. The button helps you contact the OnStar Center for a virtual advisor.  You can also access a previously stored route using the white button.  This button was previously known as Hands-Freed Calling Button.

However, there are other three status lights alongside red. They are green, blinking green, and off. I’ll explain the red and blinking green light later. When it’s green, the indication is that the OnStar teletypewriter (TTY) system is in good condition. The system is on and ready to communicate. You can call out or receive calls without any issues.

On the other hand, an ‘Off’ OnStar status light means that the system is operating at the standard voice mode. To switch from the standard Voice mode, connect the TTY device securely in place. Once you secure this connection, the OnStar status light should turn to green. If the light stays ‘Off’, the system is faulty and may need to be diagnosed.   

OnStar Button Turns Red: Why and What to Do?

The first thing to know is that it’s out of place for your OnStar button to turn red. But when it does, there’s a likely problem with the entire OnStar system. The red status light is an indication that there is a problem with the OnStar teletypewriter interface module.

But there are benefits to having the red light on. If you witness a crash or you’re involved in it, the red button comes in handy. If you need the cop to rescue you from a dangerous situation, the red button also helps. Thirdly, the red emergency OnStar button is helpful if you need a medical service or someone else needs it.

Cloudy weather is one of the major reasons your OnStar button will stay red. The light may stay until the next morning as long as it’s cloudy. In fact, you may experience the red indication even throughout the time you drive to work. However, the red OnStar button may return to green once the weather clears up. In the midst of this shenanigan, the OnStar system may not stop working.  

Another thing you need to know is the mechanism of the OnStar system when working. If you check your owner manual, you’ll realize that the OnStar button light can occasionally turn red when the system is scanning or running diagnostics.

What to Do if OnStar Light Stays Red

Once you notice that the OnStar TTY interface isn’t connecting securely in place, try to press the OnStar button to reach out to the OnStar Center for an Advisor. If you’re able to establish a connection with the Advisor, he can guide you on what to do to restore the faulty OnStar system. If the Advisor is out of reach, you should drive your vehicle to the nearest dealer for a prompt fix.

Read also: Where is the OnStar Fuse Located At?


What does OnStar Blinking Green Status Light Mean?

The OnStar status light can be red, blinking green, green, or off. A blinking green OnStar status light means that there’s an incoming call. It could also mean that a call is in progress. Once you notice the blinking green light, simply press the dial pad on the phone button, type on the TTY communication device, and speak to the receiver. Use the same procedure to hang a call.

What Do I Do If OnStar Button fails to Work?

In case the OnStar buttons stop working, what happens? There are three things you can do.  

Fix damaged Antenna

You should tighten a loose connection of the OnStar antennas with the receiver. The antenna works for GPS and cellular communication. Once the antenna is out of position, the OnStar system won’t work. You’ll need to fix the corroded, damaged, loose antenna. The antenna cord may not be secure in place with the head unit.

Reset OnStar TTY Interface

A few simple reset clicks will help you restore a failing OnStar system. Although resetting will take you through a fresh start, it’s worth the time.

Call OnStar Advisor

Put a call to the OnStar Center to speak to a digital or real-life Advisor. They can  guide you or inform you on what to do.   

Will OnStar Button Be Active without Subscription?

Yes, even when the OnStar system hasn’t been activated, it can still track a vehicle’s location. It relies on the GPS device to achieve this. But you’ll need to contact the OnStar Customer Center Advisor to assist on how to make the system function properly.

Final Thoughts

The next time your OnStar turns and stays red, you know what the reasons are and what to do. It’s not time to panic. A little patience for the weather to clear up may save you stress and worry. The red status light is essentially intended for emergencies. Ensure the OnStar system is always active and in good condition.