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My Car Came With A Stupid Cell Phone App (And I Actually Use It)

Illustration for article titled My Car Came With A Stupid Cell Phone App (And I Actually Use It)

I’m at war with my apartment door lock. Sometimes the skirmishes are no longer than a few seconds, other times the battles can last minutes.


It goes something like this: I place the key in the cylinder, and nothing – the key won’t turn. I jiggle the key. Still nothing. I take the key out and proceed to curse loudly, much to the chagrin of my neighbors. This goes on until – finally – the lock turns…the wrong way.

It’s a constant struggle, and I try my hardest to avoid dueling with the lock; however, sometimes the fights are inescapable. Like when I walk down to the car and realize I’ve left my car key on the kitchen counter.


Don’t ask me how this happens; it just does. And if I have plans to drive somewhere, then I’m forced to turn around and duke it out with my old foe in order to retrieve my car key.

Illustration for article titled My Car Came With A Stupid Cell Phone App (And I Actually Use It)

Many times though, I don’t need to drive anywhere. In fact, I’m usually making a pit stop at the car to grab my headphones from the passenger seat so I can listen to music as I meander to the gym or coffee shop by foot. In such an instance, I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place: turn around and face my mortal enemy, or go to the gym or coffee shop without any access to my “gym” or “coffee shop” Spotify playlists. To quote almost every white girl in America, “The struggle is real.”

But yesterday the struggle came to an end, because General Motors sent me an email reminder to “download the free OnStar RemoteLink mobile app” for my 2015 Chevrolet Camaro. And I promptly did so.


Now I’m not a religious man, but I’m tempted to thank god for this app, if only for the fact that it allows me to lock and unlock my car remotely from my phone. The app does other things too, but like Morty Seinfeld and his Wizard tip calculator, I’m pretty hung up on this one function. No longer will I need to sacrifice my patience or enjoyment by fiddling with my apartment lock or forgoing headphones at the gym or coffee shop.

As far as user experience goes, RemoteLink is very straightforward – even my grandmother could figure out how to use it (if she were with us today). The app-based keyless entry system is still no keypad keyless entry system, à la Ford, but then again keypad keyless entry systems don’t offer RemoteLink’s additional functionality. Of course, there is the whole issue of RemoteLink’s hackability, but that’s a problem for future me to confront.


Here’s a quick rundown of what else RemoteLink can do:

  • Diagnostic status, which includes information like remaining fuel and individual tire pressure.
  • Hands-free calling via your vehicle’s OnStar system.
  • Special offers from companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and Best Buy.
  • Easy access to your “preferred” Chevrolet dealership’s information.
  • A maps function, which can pinpoint the exact location of your car.

The latter feature is likely the only tool besides the keyless entry function that I expect to actually use within the app. I can be a bit of a space cadet at times, and having the ability to pinpoint exactly where my car is on a map in relation to my location is bound to save me time and hassle in the future.


Although the war with my apartment door lock is far from over, I predict that the power vested in me by OnStar RemoteLink will result in my battles being fewer and farther between. That alone makes the app a worthwhile download.

Image credit: GM and the author

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