Staff Picks: The Best Mobile Apps for Your Car
“I have no idea what I’m supposed to do with my life.”
“There’s an app for that.”
“Well there is. Look.” (shows array of SnapChat filters)
There are so many apps out there that promise to make your life easier or better in some way (while most just make you frustrated because you used up your phone memory to download them). Even with all the tech that comes standard in our cars these days, there are still apps that can improve your driving experience in one way or another. Whether it’s showing you relevant destinations nearby or giving information about your car’s current status, the following apps are my picks for best mobile apps for your car.
Gas Buddy (Free)
The idea is simple. It helps you find gas stations near you with the cheapest prices. What’s neat is that the data is totally fueled by the users of the app. Users can update the prices at stations to gain entries into a contest for a $100 gas gift card. When someone goes to a station, they can specify whether or not the price is accurate.
If you do find yourself messing with your phone while driving, maybe you need an interface that allows you to do it without looking. Drivemode attempts to do this with finger swipe gestures and voice commands. It interfaces with the most popular types of apps that you’d use while driving: music, texting, navigation, and voice search to keep you more focused on the road than what’s happening in phone-land.
This app allows your phone to become a dash cam recorder, which will come in handy if you ever get into an accident or see some crazy stuff happening in the car ahead of you. It can save the video to internal memory and/or upload to a server for viewing later. It also has a GPS overlay (in beta) on top of the video feed to show you when your turns are coming up.
Torque (Free/$4.95 + OBD2 Connector)
To use Torque, you first need to connect your phone to your car’s OBD2 port with a Bluetooth connector which can be purchased for under $10. Once connected, Torque has full access to your car’s brain. Here are just a few of the things that it can do:
- Read fault codes: When you get a check engine light, instead of heading to the dealer for a costly diagnosis, you can read the error code(s) yourself! This might give you an idea of what is wrong and whether or not you will be able to fix the issue yourself.
- Realtime Information: You can use this information to keep an eye on different crucial readings including air/fuel ratio, oil pressure, oil temperature, and boost pressure.
- Data Logging: Export any data from the app to review later.
Please note that tinkering with your phone while driving is very unsafe and possibly illegal (depending on which state you live in), so configure your apps while you are parked to avoid causing an accident or getting a ticket.
Staff Picks: About the Author
Darrek spends his days working as a software developer creating amazing things for Carsforsale.com (and occasionally writing blogs). The rest of the time he’s a husband, father, board game designer/enthusiast, and a Miata fanboy.