Most people look at their car as a function of modern living. We need a car to run errands; go to the doctor, go to work, go to school or whatever. When we aren’t using it, it just sits in the driveway gathering dust and losing value.
This is fine for the wealthiest Americans who really don’t care how many cars they have or what they are worth, but for some of us, having a way for our car to actually earn its way would be a blessing.
For owners of GM cars with the OnStar system, there is now a way to make money from your car when you aren’t using it. OnStar is now partnering with RelayRides, a company which specializes in renting users cars to other certified members of their system. That means if you are not using your car, you can rent it out.
This is a great idea for anyone who has a second vehicle which is only used for emergencies, or when the primary vehicle is unavailable. Instead of parking that car in the driveway and letting it gather dust you can make it available on the RelayRides network. If a certified user comes along looking for a rental car, and your is a good match (size, availability and location) then the company helps put the two of you together.
Here’s how it works: an owner of an OnStar equipped vehicle logs on to his OnStar account and makes the car available for rental via RelayRides. Once a picture is uploaded, the car can be rented right away by anyone with a RelayRides account.
When the car is rented, the prospective driver need not meet the owner to exchange keys; instead, the renter contacts OnStar via smartphone to unlock the doors of the vehicle. The owner, presumably, must leave a spare key hidden in the car, much to the delight of car thieves everywhere.
Renters get the added peace of mind that OnStar gives, meaning that directions or emergency assistance is just the press of a button away. Owners also benefit from knowing that if their car is stolen, it can be tracked and even disabled by the OnStar service.