QOTD: Is There an App for That?
At the risk of sounding like any number of insufferable site fully staffed with dough heads who spend way too much time extolling the virtues of kale (is kale still a thing?), our question today is about driving and car-related apps.
While backing up his phone this weekend (I can’t bear to lose those all important notes about used cars that have been long sold, don’tcha know), your author was struck by the amount of space on his phone being consumed by items relating to cars.
In one folder resided several apps directly related to travel, including gear like Waze and GasBuddy. Other apps in that same folder ran the gamut from Uber to a Reebee app in which I had set up alerts to notify me when those Motomaster loading ramps I had my eye on at Canadian Tire went on sale. This is not to mention the native Maps tool and playlists full of driving tunes.
Even the scattered game on this device are car-focused, fer chrissakes. Hill Dash, Diesel Drag Racing Pro, CSR Racing — nearly all the leisure items had something to do with vehicles. Except for the Cribbage card game, of course, downloaded because I am actually 94 years old. And it goes without saying none of us should use handheld devices while driving … right?
Is it just me? Is it a gearhead thing? Does the software on your device skew towards stuff with wheels and an engine? Let us know below — and loop us in to any good apps you enjoy. Just don’t mention the kale.
[Image: General Motors]
I got Waze, Gas Buddy, iExit, Harry's Lap Timer (for track days) and Dash Command as an OBD-II display and code reading tool. iExit may not be well known but its brilliant. It shows what services (gas, hotels, restaurants, etc) are available at upcoming exits as you drive along. Pretty much every other mapping service tells you what is around in ALL directions so it might recommend something you already passed (so frustrating). However iExit tells you what is AHEAD - which makes more sense when you are traveling on a given route.
Let's see??? Waze - like everybody else in VA to chicken to fly around with a radar detector I use this instead. Bluetooth GPS - this is sorta related since I picked up Harry's Lap Timer and a high resolution GPS unit. It allows me to use the mock setting on the phone and more accurate GPS positioning Harry's Lap Timer for all my Walter Mitty needs. Dash Command - Can't remember why I got this app?? Might have just been to check it out? Maybe it had a HUD function??? Ford+Alexa - I messed with it for a bit and now its just an artifact on my phone. OBDLink - That is the app that goes with the wireless OBDII adapter. Another companion for Harry's Lap Timer but its diagnostic function is pretty handy. Samsung Gear 360 - Pretty handy little Camera or was but its long since dead. Dual GPS Sky Pro - App for the hi-res GPS unit and needed for firmware updates. Torque - Another OBDII adapter app and I think another with HUD capability Tremec App - handy app from Tremec of course that includes driveline angle finder, speed calculator ( gearing, final drive and tire diameter) plus tire size calculator when I'm too lazy to use the regular calculator. I'm sure I have a few more in the app store library including a Michelin app IIRC. I also used to have the Ford Performance app which was exclusive to the GT and was supposed to be expanded to other Ford Performance vehicles but I think Ford let it wither on the vine which is too bad since it was similar to GM's performance recorder sans onboard cameras and IIRC it worked through Sync.
I have Waze, Apple Maps, and Google Maps, BMW Connected (can find, unlock car, can send destinations to native navi), Carly for BMW (coding app), and several parking apps (for paying for, reserving, or finding parking). All useful and appreciated. I’m a big fan of CarPlay too.
I've used Torque Pro ($4.99) for about a decade now. Coupled with a cheap ELM-327, it's about all I need to stay on top of my car, or help friends diagnose problems on their cars (many, many over the years). I started checking my parents' cars for trouble codes as a teenager around 1985, and worked a few years (90-92, 02-05) in retail auto parts. I used to carry around a fairly expensive code reader, but having it all on an app with so many more features, and the ability to instantly use the web for research, is far better. I loaned the old scan tool to a friend, and when he traded his truck, just let that old reader go with the trade. And ^Raph, it does have the custom gauge ability, which can be mirror-reversed to use as an HUD.