Car trouble? There’s an app for that!
You don’t have to be a mechanic to get a big lift from technology that makes it easier for you to communicate with your car.
“If you can sense what’s going wrong with the vehicle before it breaks, saves the consumer a lot of money,” said Michael Morrison with Cottman Transmission.
He says while nothing beats the high-tech tools that mechanics have, there are a growing number of diagnostic apps that are becoming more polished.
The latest one, called AudioHound, by OtoSense, is still in the prototype stage. Soon, it will diagnose issues just by sound.
Ron Nestor, a car lover, says the concept reminds him of road trips with the wife.
“What is that sound? What sound? How long has it been making that sound, well I don’t know how long it’s been making that sound.”
The technology takes that a step further.
“Computers with modern microphones can actually sense a problem is going on well before a human ear can hear it,” Michael Morrison says.
You can already open up market-tested apps designed to read information from your car’s own board diagnostic port. OBD Fusion, for instance, can decipher codes when your check engine light turns on. Those kinds of diagnostic apps–and there are a lot of them–don’t work on their own. You have to get a wireless data transmitter that plugs into your car. It will set you back about 30 bucks. Certain model cars also have built-in apps like On-Star.
“I get an email once a month, pretty much giving me a rundown of the diagnostics on my truck,” Rene Granados says.
Finally, apps like Openbay and RepairPal give you cost estimates and even bid out work.
Knowing the scope of the problem and the price can rack up savings while your wheels remain safe.