Frequently Asked Questions: Safety

  • Q: What is OnStar®?
  • A: OnStar® is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and connectivity services, and is now offered on nearly every GM vehicle sold in the U.S., Canada and China. OnStar®'s innovative three-button system offers:
    ·      24-hour access to expertly trained, caring Advisors
    ·      A connection to emergency assistance
    ·      Access to OnStar® Hands-Free Calling in covered areas (prepaid calling charges apply).

    Call 1.888.4.ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827) or visit for system limitations and details.

    Learn more about the OnStar® service modules with an interactive demonstration at the OnStar®website.
  • Q: What is OnStar® Vehicle Diagnostics?
  • A: OnStar® Vehicle Diagnostics is an exclusive service that runs diagnostic checks on a vehicle's key operating systems and sends the customer monthly reports by e-mail. It's available only from OnStar® and GM - just one more way OnStar® helps give you peace of mind on the road. Visit for more information. To view an interactive demonstration of the OnStar® Vehicle Diagnostic system, visit the OnStar® website.
  • Q: What makes an air bag inflate?
  • A: In a frontal or near-frontal impact of sufficient severity, the air bag sensing system detects that the vehicle is suddenly stopping as a result of a crash. The sensing system triggers a release of inflation gas. This gas inflates the air bag. The inflator, air bag, and related hardware are all part of the air bag module packed inside the steering wheel for the driver air bag and in the instrument panel for the right front passenger air bag.
  • Q: When should an air bag inflate?
  • A: The air bag is designed to inflate in moderate to severe frontal or near-frontal crashes. The air bag will inflate only if the impact speed is above the system's designed "threshold level." If your vehicle goes straight into a wall that doesn't move or deform, the threshold level is about 14 to 18 mph (23 to 29 km/h). The threshold level can vary, however, with specific vehicle design, so that it can be somewhat above or below this range. If your vehicle strikes something that will move or deform, such as a parked car, the threshold level will be higher. Inflation is determined by the angle of the impact and the vehicle's deceleration.
  • Q: Will a side or rear impact or rollover cause the air bag to deploy?
  • A: If the vehicle is equipped with seat mounted side impact or roof rail mounted head curtain air bags, those will deploy in a side impact. If the vehicle is equipped with rollover capable head curtain air bags, a rollover sensor will deploy the head curtain air bags in a rollover incident. The frontal air bags will not deploy in a side impact or rollover, unless there is also a front or front-corner impact of sufficient severity to trigger the frontal airbags. The airbags will not deploy in a rear impact.
  • Q: Is it still necessary to wear a safety belt with the Supplemental Inflatable Restraint system?
  • A: Yes! The air bag supplements the protection provided by the shoulder belts. Remember, the air bag is designed to inflate in moderate-to-severe frontal and near-frontal crashes. Safety belts can provide protection in impacts other than frontal and near-frontal collisions.
  • Q: Where can I find information about air bags/supplemental inflatable restraints on GM vehicles?
  • A: To learn about the specific items on your vehicle, please refer to your vehicle Owner's Manual, "Seats and Restraint Systems." Visit the GM Owner Center to download a complimentary electronic copy (for most vehicles from 1995 to present).
  • Q: What kind of child-safety seats should I use in my GM vehicle?
  • A: There are no specific child restraints that GM recommends or endorses, but we do have some information that might be helpful to you.

    GM's seats and safety belt systems are designed to accommodate child restraints. However, we cannot be certain that all child restraints will be compatible with GM vehicles. Our cars conform to SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) J1819 standard, which is a recommended guideline for automotive safety belt and child restraint compatibility. Therefore, child restraints that conform to this standard will be more compatible with the seats and safety belt systems used in GM vehicles. Also, your GM dealer can install a tether anchor kit (at no charge to you) that will anchor front-facing child seats.

    We recommend you work with a child-safety seat manufacturer, or a local retail outlet that sells child restraint seats, for possible suggestions on what type of seat would be most appropriate for your needs. You could also take your child restraint to a checkup event or contact a local CPS technician for additional assistance. There are a couple of websites that have some good information on this topic.

    Try these safety resources:
    ·      NHTSA at
    ·      National Safe Kids at
    ·      Safety Beltsafe USA at
    ·      American Academy of Pediatrics at

    In addition, you might want to try checking with your local hospital, police department and fire department for any information they might have.
  • Q: How do you turn off the daytime running lights while parked?
  • A: Simply depress the parking brake.