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OnStar vs. LoJack

OnStar vs. LoJack

At a Glance

LoJack is the most trusted auto theft recovery system in the world, giving you a 90 percent chance of getting your car back after theft. OnStar has a lower up-front cost but incurs monthly fees. OnStar also includes other features such as navigation and accident assistance.

The OnStar vs. LoJack question is an interesting one. While they both have similar core functions, the way they operate and their features are really quite different. OnStar for example was traditionally a product only found in General Motors vehicles (although there is now an aftermarket version). It was first made available in late 1996 on the new model Cadillac DeVille, Seville and Eldorado. LoJack by contrast has always been an after market solution. Introduced over 25 years ago, LoJack has become so well-known that some use the term generically to describe any car security system.


GPS-assisted recovery is the most prominent feature when comparing these two products. LoJack’s main selling point is its excellent track record. The standard LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System has boasted a 90 percent success rate for theft recovery since its introduction. The system works directly with the police and in fact is the theft deterrent system of choice for many police vehicles. By contrast the OnStar system operates via one of the many OnStar help centers who then contact the police. One difference is, the OnStar system can also lock the ignition of the car once it has been turned off. Perhaps even more helpful, the system can actually slow down a stolen vehicle remotely by altering the computer controlling the engine. This can only be done in conjunction with the police during a high speed pursuit.

Early Warning System

LoJack has an add-on system for its standard package that allows theft of a vehicle to be detected immediately. The owner is given a special key fob and if the car is started without the key fob present the owner is immediately contacted. A theft can then be dealt with quickly by contacting the police as soon as possible. A similar feature exists in the OnStar system, but it can give even more information on the car and its whereabouts. Family Link allows the owner to set up alerts that specify the location of the vehicle at a requested time. If the vehicle isn’t in the expected location at the designated time, a warning message is sent to an email address or mobile phone.


At this point it is relevant to talk about price as the two products begin to diverge on features from here on. Both products have different pricing structures. The easiest to understand is the LoJack price. For the standard product — the LoJack Stolen Vehicle Recovery System — the cost is $695 and with the Early Warning System it is $995. There are no recurring monthly fees and installation is included. For OnStar the equipment either comes pre-installed in a variety of General Motors vehicles or you can purchase the aftermarket version for $99.99. It is worth noting that OnStar charges a monthly subscription fee. For the default service you will pay up to $18.95 per month and the full package with navigation assistance is $28.90 per month.

Other Features

OnStar has many other features worth exploring including navigation, crash assistance and roadside assistance. If you are looking for a more complete solution you may find more bang for your buck here. This makes it quite a different piece of equipment to the single function LoJack.