Auto Tech

Chevrolet will let parents creep on their teens for free

It's only free for three months, but it's pretty cheap thereafter.

Chevrolet

Are you a frugal helicopter parent who absolutely must keep track of your freshly licensed teen? If you've got a Chevrolet equipped with OnStar, you can be all Big Brother without spending any cash.

Chevrolet will offer owners three months of OnStar Family Link for free. All that's required is a 2012-or-newer Chevrolet with an active OnStar subscription. The Family Link system is free for three months, but after that, it's just $3.99 per month plus tax.

"I'm OK with unfettered surveillance if it means getting out of the house for a few hours."

Chevrolet

OnStar Family Link gives you a variety of location functions, letting you keep an eye on teens who might be a flight risk. Parents can monitor a vehicle's location, or set up email and text alerts if the vehicle leaves a defined area. It can also notify parents when a teen has reached or left a destination.

This is a bit less capable than Chevrolet's pride-and-joy child monitoring tech, Teen Driver. Teen Driver lets parents set radio volume limits, speed warnings and even limit the overall top speed. It can mute the radio if the kids aren't buckled, and it won't let teens turn off systems such as stability control. It also provides parents with reports that cover distance driven, maximum speed and, if available, safety system engagements.

There's also a system called OnStar Smart Driver, which ranks a teen against other local drivers in terms of driving behaviors. Score high enough, and your little one might be eligible for some insurance discounts, depending on the carrier.

I suppose OnStar Family Link would also work for people who believe their better half is cheating, but I imagine Chevrolet wouldn't ever market it for such things. It would make for an interesting commercial, though.