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Is your car losing safety features with the 5G switchover?

Here’s the list of cars impacted by 3G shutting down and what you need to do to fix the problem.
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:36 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Chances are you haven’t thought much about older 3G cellular networks because all the talk today is about 5G, the super-fast new network for smartphones and other wireless devices. But, as wireless carriers begin shutting down those old 3G networks, millions of connected cars may lose important safety features.

Almost every car these days has an internet connection built in. And that can be used for safety features, like being able to automatically call for help in a crash, or for convenience, like being able to start the car remotely or check to see if the doors are locked or unlocked.

But for millions of cars on the road today, that technology relies on an aging 3G wireless network. And by the end of this year, all of the major cellular carriers will shut down their 3G networks. Some vehicles just need a software or hardware upgrade, but others—including vehicles from Chrysler, Dodge, Hyundai, Jeep, Lexus, Nissan, Ram, and Toyota—are losing their connections permanently.

Automakers have known this for years, but as recently as 2019 they were putting 3G technology into new vehicles, knowing that customers would be left in the lurch without access to some of these services.

Consumer Reports went to owner’s manuals and look at engineering documents to find out what features were impacted. See the list below. The best advice is to ask your dealer if and when the connected services on your car are set to expire.

• Owners of vehicles from Nissan, Infiniti, Toyota, and Lexus are out of luck so far. There are no announced plans for a connectivity upgrade, even though some of the cars that will permanently lose services are as new as the 2019 model year.

Honda owners may be too late. Owners of some Hondas who didn’t download new software before Feb. 22, 2022 may have to pay upward of $900 for a hardware upgrade or lose certain features. The automaker sent out update reminders to owners of affected vehicles—both via mail and directly to the vehicles’ infotainment screens—before the cutoff date.

Hardware and software upgrades are available for some vehicles. But exactly what owners get depends on the manufacturer. OnStar users retain crash notification after a software update, and both Audi and VW are giving some owners access to a third-party service that offers SOS and crash notification, for example.

• Some cars will keep convenience features but lose crash notifications. A spokesperson for Stellantis—which owns Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, and Ram—told CR that the automaker will allow owners of certain vehicles affected by the shutdown to upgrade to 4G to keep some remote services for a monthly fee of $10 for 2 gigabytes of data or $30 for unlimited data, but their vehicles will no longer have automatic crash notification or SOS.

• Not all automakers are affected. Ford and Mazda, for instance, connect to a driver’s cell phone for crash notification. And Mitsubishi has never used 3G, says Jeremy Barnes, spokesperson for the automaker. “We foresaw this time coming and designed around it,” he told CR.

Below is a list of vehicles with automatic crash notification and E911 services that operate on a 3G network. We’ve also included whether they can be updated and, if so, how to do that.

Acura

Vehicles affected: 2014 to 2017 MDX (Tech Package and above); 2015 to 2017 TLX (Tech and Advanced packages); 2016 and 2017 ILX (Tech Plus Package); 2014 to 2016 RLX (models with navigation); 2016 and 2017 RDX (Tech and Advanced packages); and 2017 NSX.

The fix: According to Acura’s website, certain vehicles lose automatic crash notification and other features, but drivers can continue to access AcuraLink services “if the hardware in your vehicle is updated with a new device.” Acura recommends contacting a dealership for more information.

Audi

Vehicles affected: Audi vehicles that connect to a 3G network lost connectivity in February 2022. These include the 2016 to 2018 A3 E-Tron; 2013 to 2018 A4, A5, and Q5; 2014 to 2018 Allroad; 2012 to 2015 A6 and A7; 2012 to 2018 A8; 2015 to 2018 Q3; 2012 to 2018 Q7; and 2019 RS5, according to Audi’s website.

The fix: Audi is partnering with a company called Mojio to provide owners with a device that plugs into their car and allows them to keep automatic crash notification and SOS. It’s called Motion for Audi Connect, and owners can get more information from the automaker. An Audi spokesperson, Jacob Brown, says that it requires professional installation and that the company is contacting customers who are eligible.

BMW

Vehicles affected: All BMW vehicles that connect to a 3G network lost connectivity as of February 2022. The automaker hasn’t published a list of affected vehicles but says it has contacted owners directly.

The fix: BMW said in a statement that not all vehicles would be eligible for a free technology upgrade. “Customers will be notified via email or First-Class Mail about whether their vehicles are eligible for an upgrade or not,” the statement said.

GM*

Vehicles affected: General Motors–brand vehicles using OnStar on a 3G network required a software update by February 2022. Owners can find out whether their vehicle was affected on this website.

The fix: According to OnStar, owners with an “active, connected vehicle” received an over-the-air software update. These updates began in October 2021, and owners might have had to accept a prompt on the vehicle’s screen to install the new software. “Once the over-the-air software update is completed, OnStar voice services will continue to work after the 3G sunset and members will be able to connect with OnStar advisers as expected,” an OnStar spokesperson, Stephanie Obendorfer, told CR.

(*includes Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC With OnStar)

Honda

Vehicles affected: Accord (Touring trim, 2018 to 2020); Odyssey (Touring and Elite trims, 2018 to 2020), Insight (Touring trim, 2019 and 2020); Passport (Touring and Elite trims, 2019 to 2021); and Pilot (Touring, Slite, and Black Edition trims, 2019 to 2022).

The fix: Owners who didn’t complete a software update by Feb. 22, 2022, may need to get an updated telematics control unit (TCU), which could cost as much as $900. “The only way to update firmware on the TCU is through an OTA [over-the-air] update via AT&T’s mobile network,” says Chris Naughton, a spokesperson for Honda and Acura. “Since the TCUs in question are currently communicating via 3G, once that network stops operating, there is no further opportunity to communicate with the TCUs to perform the update.”

Hyundai and Genesis

Vehicles affected: 2016 to 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT; 2017 and 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport; 2015 to 2017 Hyundai Azera; 2017 Hyundai Elantra; 2017 Hyundai Ioniq Electric; 2018 Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid; 2017 and 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe; 2015, 2016, and 2018 Hyundai Sonata; 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid; 2016 and 2017 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid; 2016 Hyundai Tucson; 2016 and 2017 Hyundai Veloster; 2014 to 2016 Hyundai Genesis; 2017 to 2019 Genesis G80; and 2017 Genesis G90.

The fix: Some newer Hyundai and Genesis vehicles will receive a free software update. But about 22,000 others—including those listed above—will not, and their Bluelink services will end Dec. 31, 2022, says Michael Stewart, a Hyundai spokesperson.

In addition, some 2012 to 2016 Hyundai vehicles equipped with Bluelink use an even older 2G network. These vehicles will permanently lose their Bluelink features Jan. 1, 2023, according to Hyundai’s website. The fine print on Genesis’ Connected Services page says any Genesis vehicle with 2G or 3G “will be unable to connect to Connected Services, and your vehicle may not be updated to support other wireless technologies.”

Jaguar and Land Rover

Jaguar and Land Rover didn’t respond to CR’s questions, and the automaker’s website doesn’t have any information on the shutdown. CR research shows that the 2017 Jaguar F-Pace and XE; the 2016 and 2017 Jaguar XF and XJ; the 2015 to 2017 Land Rover Discovery Sport; the 2017 Land Rover Discovery; and the 2016 and 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Sport, and Range Rover may be affected by the shutdown. We will update this article if we learn more.

Kia

Kia didn’t respond to CR’s questions, and the automaker’s website doesn’t have any information on the shutdown. We will update this article if we learn more.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes didn’t respond to CR’s questions, and the automaker’s website doesn’t have any information on the shutdown. According to Lanctot, Mercedes may be preparing an aftermarket solution similar to what Audi is doing. We will update this article if we learn more.

Nissan and Infiniti

Vehicles affected: 2016 and 2017 Nissan Altima; 2017 and 2018 Nissan GT-R; some 2011 to 2015 Nissan Leafs; 2016 and 2017 Nissan Maxima; 2017 Nissan Murano; 2017 Nissan Pathfinder; 2016 and 2017 Nissan Rogue; 2017 and 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport; 2016 to 2018 Nissan Sentra; 2016 and 2017 Nissan Titan; 2017 Nissan Titan XD; 2014 to 2018 Infiniti Q50; 2017 and 2018 Infiniti Q60; 2013 to 2018 Infiniti Q70; 2017 and 2019 Infiniti QX30; 2013 to 2017 Infiniti JX/QX60; and 2013 to 2017 Infiniti QX56/QX80, according to Nissan’s and Infiniti’s websites.

The fix: Nissan Connect and Infiniti InTouch stopped working on these vehicles Feb. 22, 2022, and they have permanently lost automatic crash notification and other features.

Porsche

Vehicles affected: 2017 to 2019 911; 2014 918 Spyder; 2017 to 2021 718; 2015 to 2019 Cayenne; 2015 to 2018 Macan; and 2014 to 2018 Panamera, according to Porsche’s website.

The fix: Some of these vehicles were eligible for what Porsche calls a “technology upgrade.” Owners of those vehicles were notified by email and had to schedule an appointment with an authorized Porsche dealer to get the upgrade before Feb. 22, 2022, according to the automaker.

Stellantis

Includes Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, and Ram.Some vehicles with Uconnect Access have already lost their 3G connections. Representatives from Stellantis told CR that the automaker will convert certain 3G vehicles to accept 4G as long as they subscribe to data packages. These allow for 2 gigabytes of data for a $10 monthly fee or unlimited data for $30 per month. These options will include all necessary hardware and 4G WiFi, but they will not include automatic crash notification. Some vehicles will be eligible for a plug-in 4G adapter from T-Mobile.

Subaru

Vehicles affected: 2016-2018 Forester (2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, 2.5i Touring, and 2.0XT Touring); 2016-2018 Legacy and Outback (2.5i Premium, 2.5i Limited, and 3.6R Limited); 2017-2018 Legacy and Outback (2.5i Sport); 2016-2018 Impreza (2.0i Limited); 2016 Impreza (2.0i Sport Premium with Eyesight and 2.0i Sport Limited); 2017-2018 Impreza (2.0i Premium and 2.0i Sport); 2016-2017 Crosstrek (2.0i Premium with Eyesight and 2.0i Limited); 2018 Crosstrek (2.0i Premium); 2017 WRX (2.0T Premium with Harman Kardon); and 2017-2018 WRX (2.0T Limited and 2.5T STI), according to Subaru’s website.

The fix: Only Subaru drivers with an active Starlink Safety and Security subscription were eligible for a free hardware upgrade, which an authorized Subaru dealer must have performed by February 2022.

Toyota and Lexus

Vehicles affected: 2011 to 2017 Toyota Sienna; 2012 to 2016 Toyota Prius V; 2013 to 2018 Toyota Avalon and Avalon Hybrid; 2012 to 2014 Toyota RAV4 EV; 2012 to 2015 Toyota Prius Plug-in; 2013 to 2017 Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid; 2016 and 2017 Toyota Mirai; 2010 to 2016 Toyota Prius; 2014 to 2018 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid; 2011 to 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser; and 2010 to 2019 Toyota 4Runner, plus all 2010 to 2017 Lexus models except certain 2016 and 2017 CT200h hybrids, and the 2018 Lexus GX, according to the Toyota and Lexus websites.

The fix: Toyota Safety Connect and Lexus Enform Safety Connect will stop working on these vehicles Nov. 1, 2022, and they will permanently lose automatic crash notification and other features. “Although these circumstances were created by factors beyond our control, we sincerely regret any inconvenience this may cause,” Toyota says in a statement on its website.

Volvo

Vehicles affected: 2015.5 to 2018 S60, V60, and V60 Cross Country; 2015.5 to 2017 XC60; 2015.5 and 2016 XC70; and 2016 XC90, according to Volvo’s website.

The fix: Vehicles with Volvo On Call telematics service that relied on AT&T’s network lost their connections when that network went dark Feb. 22, 2022. But a Volvo spokesperson, Russ Datz, says the automaker will soon be offering some owners a hardware upgrade to retain full On Call operation. It may be delayed due to parts shortages, but owners can sign up here, on the Volvo On Call website.

Volkswagen

Vehicles affected: 2018 and 2019 Atlas and Arteon; 2014 to 2019 Beetle, Jetta, Golf, Golf Sportwagen, Golf R, eGolf, GTI, Passat, and Tiguan; 2014 to 2018 CC; and 2014 to 2017 Eos.

The fix: The Car-Net service in these vehicles stopped working when AT&T’s network went dark in February 2022. But VW now says that it has some solutions. Owners of 2014-2016 vehicles can pay $295 for an aftermarket system very similar to what Audi is offering. Owners of 2017-2019 vehicles may be eligible for a hardware upgrade, but Volkswagen says that it may be delayed due to parts shortages. Drivers should go to the VW Car-Net web page to learn more and see if their vehicle is eligible for an upgrade.

Other Brands

Ford and Mazda use a driver’s cell phone to call emergency services in the event of a crash, so their vehicles aren’t affected by the 3G shutdown unless drivers are using an older 3G cell phone. All Mitsubishi vehicles with crash notification and SOS use 4G networks and aren’t affected by the shutdown. Tesla vehicles don’t have automatic crash notification, but owners of older Teslas with 3G-based telecommunications modules who want to keep their vehicles connected must pay $200 for a hardware update.

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