Using Your Smartphone to Manage Car Diagnostics


No matter how carefully you plan, automobiles tend to cost more than you anticipate. According to reports generated by the AAA motor club, it costs an average of $9,122 per year for you to own and operate a car.

This hefty annual expense includes the cost of insurance payments, gasoline, maintenance, and tire replacements. Your car can quickly become a source of negative cash flow, especially if you don’t pay attention to maintenance basics, such as tire rotation, tune-ups, and wiper replacement.

Luckily, there are several free and inexpensive apps that can help you manage your car’s longevity right from your smartphone.

Vehicle performance

There are several apps that allow you to track your car’s acceleration, horsepower, miles per hour, and lateral G-force. iPhone users can purchase Dynolicious Classic, which uses the built-in accelerometer in your device to measure these car metrics.

Your car’s performance score is stored on your hard drive, so you can examine trends and identify possible issues. The app developers, BunsenTech, have coded international measurement support into this app, so users can read performance metrics in with U.S. or international-based measurements.

If you own an Android, you can purchase aDyno from Google Play. This app allows you to see graphic visualizations of your car’s torque, speed, laps, best speeds, and G-force. Historical data can be exported to Excel spreadsheets for further analysis.

Engine diagnostics

Some car owners will purchase pricy OBD II code scanners. These devices can be attached to your car’s on-board computer system, which will help you discover upcoming mechanical issues. Mobile versions, such as GoPoint technology’s GL1 cable, let you connect an iOS device to your on-board dash system.

This app will help you pinpoint the reason behind a mysterious “Check Engine” light; it scans your system for possible clues in the error codes. The engine checks will examine metrics such as engine load values, short-term fuel trim, and engine coolant temperature.

These data points can help you identify an engine issue early. Take action by visiting your mechanic before the issue becomes worse.

CO2 emissions

Automobile buyers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious. More and more, they search for vehicles that reduce carbon emissions. Now you can monitor the effects of your commute right from your smartphone.

The CO2 Emissions Calculator for Android determines your current carbon dioxide emissions, and will even tell you how many trees need to be planted to counteract the negative effects. The app records the make and model of your car, your travel times, electricity usage, and distance traveled, to calculate emissions metrics.

Gas expenditures

The free Gas Cubby app doesn’t just record your gas fills and mileage, it also prompts you with oil change and maintenance reminders. The expense charts for service and gas can help you understand where your money’s going.

You can also monitor historical gas prices, so you can budget for upcoming tank fill-ups. The gas stats log is exceedingly detailed: it catalogues information such as minimum miles-per-gallon, total fill-ups, gallons, days between refills, and gallons per fill-up.

Gasoline tends to be the most dependable cause of negative cash flow, when it comes to owning an automobile. Before you jump into your car, consider whether you actually need to drive to a particular location.

If it’s only a few blocks away, consider biking or walking instead. These habits can dramatically cut down on your gasoline expenses.

Owning a car can sometimes feel like an endless chain of repair and maintenance investments. But you can help your mechanic by using mobile devices to track your car’s diagnostics. Engine data points and performance trends can help you pinpoint and repair issues before they become more costly.


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