There are virtually hundreds of automobile-related smartphone apps, quite a few of which are very useful. If you didn’t know that, find comfort in the fact that not many people do.
We asked the folks at Patrick of Schaumburg, a local Hyundai dealer in Schumburg, IL, for some help in filtering out the best — here are 8 mobile apps that will help make your car-owning experience a lot better.
Like cheap gas? Who doesn’t? GasBuddy is a free app that uses GPS to help you find the closest gas stations in your vacinity and their gas prices, allowing you to quickly find the cheapest, most convenient ones. GasBuddy monitors some 110,000 stations at the present time — you’d be surprised at how different gas prices can sometimes be.
The prices are actually not determined by an automated system. Rather, the app relies on a special group of members to enter the gas prices they see at random stations, rewarding them with points for doing so.
The folks at GasBuddy say they will be adding prices for other gas station services such as carwashes and air pumps to their listings soon.
OpenBay is an app that allows you to get repair quotes from local garages, allowing you to compare prices between them. It’s free, and there is a good chance you will find a big difference between the quotes generated.
With over 50 million users, Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, one that keeps you updated on current road conditions with available voice-assisted navigation and road hazard announcements. Like GasBuddy, special members update the road conditions 24/7.
Would you like your car to read your incoming text messages and speak them out loud to you so that you’re not fiddling with your phone while driving? If so, look no further than DriveSafe.ly. It can read anything from Twitter updates to Facebook messages, email and text messages.
The advantage is obvious — it leaves your hands and eyes completely free for driving, greatly reducing the risk of accidents.
TripAlyzer is not free (it costs $5.99), but it’s an effective app designed to analyze your driving efficiency by displaying the speed, direction and distance, and, of course, fuel consumption of your car. It can also vocally announce various pertinent stats as you drive, such as your current fuel efficiency so that you can make any adjustments deemed necessary.
This free app is basically a database on your car, helping you keep track of the repairs made to it. It stores information regarding your car’s repair history, creates estimates for repair expenses, and gives suggestions on local repair shops. RepairPal even recommends places to shop for vehicle parts.
FindMyCar does exactly as its name suggests — using GPS, it’s a simple app that can help you locate your vehicle in large parking lots. For many drivers, the utility of FindMyCar cannot be overstated.
The ‘MyMaxSpeed’ app is for parents or guardians who would like to keep closer tabs on their teenage drivers, arguably the most dangerous age group on the road. You might have to be sneaky to be effective with this one, however. MyMaxSpeed has to be installed on a phone that will be in the car (generally your child’s); using the phone’s internal accelerometer and GPS, it logs the speed and location of the car every five minutes.
You can program it to send you updates via a text message if the phone travels outside a pre-defined perimeter or speed.