What is OBD? Most people probably haven’t heard of it despite having driven a car for years. OBD stands for On-board diagnostics and the port comes standard in all vehicles in the US since 1996. Think of it as the USB port on your laptop. OBD give vehicle owner and repair technician access to the status of the vehicle sybsystems. If you take your car to the garage for a maintenance check, your mechanic will plug into the OBD port to quickly identify any problems with your car. You don’t have to be a mechanic to take advantage of OBD on your car. Generic bluetooth OBD dongles are widely sold for as little as $10 and are compatible with Android and iOS devices. AutoInsight leverage OBD to help users inspect used cars. Here are 3 other OBD apps that you might not know about and may find them useful.
Dash is an app to make driving smarter and it works with any generic bluetooth OBD dongle. It scores you on how well and efficient you drive so you can easily compare the score with your friends to see who is the better driver. You can also decode engine light and get cost estimate on your repair. Dash has expanded beyond consumers with Dash XL and Dash IQ, designed for enterprise customers.
Vinli combines 4G, wifi, GPS, and accelerometer in the bluetooth OBD dongle. The whole shebang. They also open up their platform so third party developers can develop apps for it and distribute it through their own app store. 4G data plans are pay as you go, no contracts and no monthly fees. Vinli also provide roadside assistance and notification to your loved ones when you’re involved in an accident.
Mojio like Vinli also make their own OBD dongle combining 3G, GPS, and accelerometer. The difference is this is not a bluetooth dongle like most OBD dongles in the market. Instead it uses the 3G connection for communication. This helps with the battery on your phone because you don’t need to turn on bluetooth but it also means you’ll need to pay $4.99/month for network access. 3G connection does make for some interesting applications since the driver does not have to be physically present in the car to receive data from the dongle.
I suspect most people just use their car for what it’s intended to do, getting from point A to point B but a car is much more than that these days. It’s literally a computer with wheels! OBD has the potential to make driving more fun, more efficient, and more safe! If you haven’t tried out any OBD apps you might not be maximizing the potential of your car.