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J&B Auto Tool News

Here Are the Best Auto Maintenance Apps

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Have a car and a mobile device? Excellent! You have everything you need to be your own, homegrown car expert. Since there are pretty much apps for everything these days, it should come as no surprise that every app store around, from Google to iOS, is filled with auto maintenance apps.

Ok, so maybe an app on your phone won’t turn you into an ASE certified mechanic. But in today’s time, saving every penny you can is just part and parcel to making it through life. If you can save a few bucks by increasing your understanding of your car and its needs, consider it well worth the effort it takes to tap “Install”.

What is an Auto Maintenance App?

A car or auto maintenance app is one that helps you better manage and understand your car's unique maintenance needs. That's possibly an over-simplistic definition, but it somewhat needs to be that simple. Auto maintenance apps can do a lot of things. The Car Care app from Mobiscreen, for example, primarily focuses on providing tips to get better gas mileage and includes some helpful tips for keeping your car in generally good condition to help keep the resale value as high as possible. Meanwhile, the Openbay app is singularly designed to help you find the best quotes on different repairs. Other auto maintenance apps may fall more under the "how to avoid police speed traps" category than anything else -- but hey, keeping your car from getting impounded can easily fall under "car care" right?

Makes Sense...But Why Do I Need One?

No one actually needs an app. You could even survive (with much effort, mind you) without a mobile phone if you wanted to. But the truth is, apps are designed around convenience. An auto maintenance app can make the car care process far more easy to handle, and in the long run save you a good amount of money by helping you get better quotes, understand your maintenance schedule, give you tips on gas mileage, or provide you with regular updates on your car’s value based on certain criteria, and more. Unfortunately, no one app is going to do all of that for you so you’ll also need to install multiple apps in order to fully maximize the benefit.

How Much Do Auto Maintenance Apps Cost?

Most auto maintenance apps are free or offer a free "lite" versions, and the vast majority of these apps take up very little space on your phone or tablet's limited storage space. You'll find a number of apps that do charge a little bit of money. These are primarily iOS-exclusive apps. Most Android apps will be free, but are either ad-supported or come designed to support in-app purchases. What apps that do charge don't typically run more than $4, although you may run into the occasional app that charges more than that.

Using an auto maintenance app is certainly not a life-or-death situation, but when it’s free and could save you some money in the long run, what’s not to love?

1. AUTOsist

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 5 stars; Android: 4.1 stars

Price: Free

Developer: AUTOsist, a developer focusing on automotive applications

Customers Say: “Great application! I use this to track everything on my car.” — Joe Hillman

Good For (Pros): Excellent app for managing and logging all aspects of car maintenance information. The app allows users to track fuel consumption and general maintenance, as well as provide notifications for regular maintenance, store important documents such as insurance and registration information, take and store screenshots for maintenance history, and transfer this information directly to a new owner upon sale. Uniquely, the app has a search function that allows you to search your own documents for specifics.

Drawbacks (Cons): Many users report that the MPG tracking is inaccurate.


2. CarPros OBD Car Management

Operating System(s): Android

Rating: 4.5 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Car Craze, a small developer with only a few Android apps available.

Customers Say: “Awesome app! This is a great app and it's FREE! It reads a lot faster than most of odb2 apps I've used.” — C Tang

Good For (Pros): This app is a high-powered tool for car maintenance. Customers gain access to a wealth of data logging options and can even utilize an OBD reader connected to their phone to get access to more detailed issues related to their car's issues, such as coolant temperature, ignition timing, and RPM speed.

Drawbacks (Cons): The app will not work in landscape mode for some devices, making it difficult to view charts and graphs.


3. aCar

Operating System(s): Android

Rating: 4.5 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Fuelly, LLC, a website designed to help customers track fuel consumption and costs.

Customers Say: “What can I say - been using this app for 6 years now and it is superb.” — A Google User

Good For (Pros): Good for tracking all types of car maintenance information. Allows users to log information, track maintenance schedules and includes notifications for regular maintenance scheduling. Also features trip recording for gas mileage tracking and provides detailed charts and graphs on maintenance data.

Drawbacks (Cons): Only allows you to track one vehicle. Similar applications allow for multi-vehicle tracking.


4. Road Trip

Operating System(s): iOS

Rating: 5 stars

Price: $6.99 (free LITE version available)

Developer: Darren Stone, an app developer based in California who has worked on several apps.

Customers Say: "The part we like the most is the cool graph that shows fuel costs and average mpg over time. And it lets you look at the cost per day to keep those wheels turning."

Car and Driver Magazine

Good For (Pros): This app does just about everything you can think of, outside of actually fixing your car for you. This app allows you to log all kinds of data related to your car’s maintenance, including gas mileage, tire change logs, trip data and more. It also keeps you updated on scheduled maintenance needs for your car and provide information related to travel distance for your specific type of tires.

Drawbacks (Cons): The paid version is on the pricey side. The free version lacks some of the more useful data-gathering features that make it more useful and more fun to use.


5. myCARFAX Car Maintenance App

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 5 stars; Android: 4.5 stars

Price: Free

Developer: CARFAX, a well-known website for car maintenance logging and recall information.

Customers Say: “As a car enthusiast who loves his Tacoma, this app lets me ensure that I never miss a maintenance and/or inspection.” — Kenny KL

Good For (Pros): This app is great for staying updated on your vehicle’s service requirements, recall notices, your own service history, and for finding the best shops to make repairs and service your vehicle. The app also includes a feature to compare average prices for different service and repairs to help you better negotiate lower costs.

Drawbacks (Cons): All reminders need to be entered manually. There is no automated updating based on vehicle type.


6. Torque Pro

Operation System(s): Android

Rating: 4.5 stars

Price: $4.95

Developer: Ian Hawkins, a solo app developer who also develops an MMORPG Android game.

Customers Say: “Great app, the ability to view GPS tracks with second-by-second engine data is remarkable!” — A Google User

Good For (Pros): A high-quality app that connects to an OBD reader to display a wealth of information about your car. Provides Check Fault Codes, clear check engine lights, and uploads all of your data to a web server. You can also choose which kind of data to display, with access to dozens of different data points and graphical data. Allows for customizable dashboards.

Drawbacks (Cons): Only displays speed in kph, not mph. No option to switch. May cause battery drains as it requires Bluetooth connection, and may not work with older cars.


7. Vehicle Logbook

Operating System(s): iOS

Rating: 4 stars

Price: $2.99

Developer: Tinkerbuilt, a small app company from developer Jamie Halmick, based in St. Louis, Missouri.

Customers Say: “This app helps me to keep track of all aspects of owning and servicing vehicles. From insurance to inspections and regular services. This app rocks.” — Starlight Navigator

Good For (Pros): This app excels at not just recording data related to your car, such as fuel mileage, service history, and spending, it also includes updates and notifications for when you should be getting service. The app even includes a badge system to reward you for properly servicing your vehicle, and allows you to load your data into Dropbox. The app supports up to 15 vehicles.

Drawbacks (Cons): Although good for single-car individuals, this app is better suited for those who have multiple cars. Older versions of the app were known to crash and result in data loss.

*Note: there is an Android app by the same name. It is not the same app, nor is it designed by the same developer. It also contains far fewer options, specializing only in logging miles driven for tax write-off purposes.


8. BitKar

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 4.5 stars; Android: 3.8 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Bitkar, Inc., a website for finding and buying auto parts.

Customers Say: “A must-have for car owners. Just love it.” — Abhishek Bhadange

Good For (Pros): This app is excellent for finding car parts, tracking your maintenance history, finding, estimating car repair costs and finding certified mechanics in your area.

Drawbacks (Cons): The app is known to crash, and many customers have given it poor ratings due to various issues, such as not having certain makes and models in its database.


9. Auto Care - Car Maintenance Service and Gas Log

Operating System(s): iOS

Rating: 3.9 stars

Price: $4.99

Developer: Xper2 Solutions, a small app developer with one app (Auto Care) on iTunes.

Customers Say: “An excellent app that combines tracking of maintenance, tracking of gas mileage, reminders for future maintenance, and overall cost of ownership.” — ghathm

Good For (Pros): Good app for simple maintenance and gas mileage logging. Provides reminders (user-created) for maintenance schedules, stats for fuel economy, gas mileage, distance cost and service costs, and allows for uploading to Dropbox and printing through AirPrint. Also allows data to be saved as a PDF.

Drawbacks (Cons): App does not allow for multiple entries for each service visit (e.g., tire rotation and oil change in the same visit). This makes the data entry process slow.

1. Waze App

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 4.7 stars; Android: 4.6 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Waze, a developer focusing primarily their popular app.

Customers Say: “Highly recommend. Hard to live without this.” — Bill Korbe

Good For (Pros): Very popular for reporting and finding alternative routes before and after getting stuck in traffic. The app provides updated routes through its combined GPS and user-reported traffic notifications. Also operates as a regular GPS service, including turn-by-turn navigation. Includes cheap gas notifications and a tracking service that helps track friends’ movements, as long as they also have the app.

Drawbacks (Cons): The app can lead drivers down roads that are not safe or not appropriate for traffic. This has caused some problems between the app’s makers and neighborhood residents.


2. iOnRoad

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 2 stars; Android: 3.5 stars

Price: $.99 iOS; $1.00 Android; free “Lite” version available

Developer: iOnRoad, a startup developer who won an award for their app at CES 2012.

Customers Say: “Has potential, but so much wrong.” — Wade Spring

Good For (Pros): Can be used as a GPS. Utilizes phone camera in order to measure the distance between you and other cars, as well as your position on the road. Provides off-road and proximity warnings.

Drawbacks (Cons): Technology is known to be faulty. Many customers explain that the app does not work effectively. Known issues exist with off-road tracking, while the application drains battery quickly. Significant phone model limitations.


3. iWrecked

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: N/A

Price: N/A

Developer: Vurgood Applications, a small developer based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas.

Customers Say: N/A

Good For (Pros): Designed to help record information immediately after an accident. Allows users to send information directly to their insurance company that provides exact details about the accident. Includes photo capture, assists with calling emergency service, as well as locating and calling a taxi.

Drawbacks (Cons): The app developer’s website says the app is currently available. However, the application is not actually available on either the Apple App Store or Google’s Play Store.

1. Openbay

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 5 stars; Android: 4.3 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Openbay, a website designed to make booking shop repairs easier.

Customers Say: “Perfect!!! Incredibly simple way to find shops, book service and pay for repairs. Game changer!” — Kevin Osborne

Good For (Pros): Good app for finding repair shops and mobile repair services. Allows customers to browse through different shops for the best price and to book an appointment with available shops. Saves time when shopping through multiple shop websites, and comes with certain service guarantees as all shops listed on Openbay are ASE certified, charge fair prices, and have good customer service reports.

Drawbacks (Cons): As shops must meet certain criteria in order to be listed on the app, some legitimate shops may not make the cut for various reasons.


2. Carr Matey

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 4.7 stars; Android: 4.4 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Lionebra Studio, a small developer with several, unrelated apps available.

Customers Say: “Better than a bottle of rum.” - A Google User

Good For (Pros): A simple mapping app that saves your car location and helps you navigate your way back to your car. The application includes a pirate theme, including a compass. Also, features an alarm for tracking paid meter times.

Drawbacks (Cons): Known issues related to signal strength. Does not work well when GPS signal cannot be found or is too weak.


3. Car Locator

Operating System(s): Android

Rating: 4.5 stars

Price: $3.99

Developer: Edward Kim, a solo app developer who has found great success with his Car Locator app.

Customers Say: “Simple and easy. It just works, and it works well.” — Eric Rode

Good For (Pros): Excellent app for finding your parked car. This app is loaded with functions, including the ability to beam your car’s location to a friend, manually save your car’s coordinates, a “radar” sound to help you locate your car, a timer for how long you’ve been away from your car, a photo storing feature to take pictures of the physical location, and more.

Drawbacks (Cons): A key feature that allows the app to save locations immediately after Bluetooth disconnects from a connected car may be faulty.

4. Car Minder

Operating System(s): iOS

Rating: 4 stars

Price: $2.99

Developer: Josh Monroe, a solo app developer with 2 vehicle-related apps.

Customers Say: “It's a pretty solid app. Doesn't crash or lose information.” — Tapfishexpert

Good For (Pros): This app is designed to help you track all aspects of your vehicle's maintenance and service. It also includes a gas mileage tracker, provides notifications when service is overdue and supports multiple vehicles. The interface is easy-to-use and friendly.

Drawbacks (Cons): The gas mileage tracker requires manual input. Users have noted that iPhone upgrades can result in data loss.


5. RepairPal

Operating System(s): iOS

Rating: 3 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Repairpal, a website designed to help customers save money on repairs.

Customers Say: “Be in the know on your next trip to the mechanic." — Newsweek

Good For (Pros): Finding and comparing prices for different kinds of repairs. Repairpal also syncs your account with your MyCar account. Repairpal runs its own roadside assistance service, which you can access from the site.

Drawbacks (Cons): Repairpal claims to be an app. However, it has no downloadable app from iTunes. Instead, the site directs users to connect to their main website from their iPhone web browser.


6. Fuel Monitor

Operating System(s): iOS

Rating: 3.5 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Adir Genish, an app developer who has developed several apps that utilize GPS and geo-tagging for different purposes.

Customers Say: “First up, Fuel Monitor has been really well put together, it’s beautifully designed and everything works at the first time of asking. Importantly, it’s very user-friendly" — The Next Web

Good For (Pros): This app is excellent for those who are looking to save money on gas. This app allows you to track your miles through GPS and tells you exactly how much you’re spending on gas. It breaks this down by using your exact make and model as well as the current gas price. The app also includes a feature that allows you to report information directly to your insurance company in case of an accident.

Drawbacks (Cons): This app has low customer ratings, in stark contrast to being very well received by tech and app review websites. Beyond just using GPS, it’s a known battery hog, and it will drain your battery rather significantly.


7. GasBuddy Organization

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 3 stars; Android: 4.6 stars

Price: Free

Developer: GasBuddy, a website designed to help users find the lowest gas price by zip code or city.

Customers Say: “Why doesn't EVERYONE HAVE THIS APP?” — Glenda Randall

Good For (Pros): Excellent app for finding cheap gas prices. The app works as intended and has been heavily downloaded and highly rated.

Drawbacks (Cons): There are significant complaints with the app’s recently updated version. Many users complain that the update, which changed the user interface, now makes the app much more difficult to use.


8. Cars.com

Operating System(s): iOS, Android

Rating: iOS: 4 stars; Android: 4.3 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Cars.com, the popular website for those seeking to buy and sell cars.

Customers Say: “Couldn't imagine using any other car app” — A Google User

Good For (Pros): An excellent database of new and used cars, searchable by zip code and city. The app provides all of the benefits of the website, and also allows users to receive push notifications for price drops on favorite cars.

Drawbacks (Cons): There are few benefits to taking up space on your phone with the app, beyond the push notifications. Most benefits can be gained by simply accessing the mobile site from your phone’s web browser.


9. Gas Tracker

Operating System(s): iOS

Rating: 2.5 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Fuelly, LLC, a website designed to help customers track fuel consumption and costs.

Customers Say: “Awesome app. Really easy way to find actual real world fuel consumption” — DoctorT138

Good For (Pros): This app integrates with Fuelly.com to help users gain a better understanding of their gas consumption and overall gas mileage for multiple vehicles. Allows customers to compare fuel efficiency for different fuel grades as well.

Drawbacks (Cons): This app was recently purchased and revamped by Fuelly. Reviews are still mixed. Overall, the app does far less than similar apps.


10. Car Care

Operating System(s): Android

Rating: 4.8 stars

Price: Free

Developer: Mobiscreen, a small Indian app developer with a large number of niche Android apps.

Customers Say: “Good app. Try it.” — Wasim Khan

Good For (Pros): The app features general cost saving tips, focusing on gas mileage and cleaning. The app is free, so you won’t have to worry about making a costly investment for an application that doesn’t deliver.

Drawbacks (Cons): The app doesn’t do much beyond give advice that you can just look up yourself online. Although the app is rated well, it has very few downloads, while all comments/reviews are from the same person on different dates, making the app’s rating, and overall usefulness, a bit suspect. 

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