18 apps that make driving easier

2016-04-24 10:16 - Duncan Alfreds, Fin24
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Car. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

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Cape Town - If you’re drive a car, mobile applications can make your life easier, but only top-end luxury cars come with native applications and tablets.

While Uber helps people with transportation, driving for many remains a dangerous chore where a moment’s loss of concentration can lead to injury and death.

Mobile apps can reduce your driving stress and help you save cash, and moreover, a cheap tablet or smartphone costs less than R1 000 and can be loaded with applications to make driving easier.

Here are 18 top car apps to get you safely (and smartly) from A to B:

Navigation

While Google Maps is the most popular navigation application, Here Maps offers the ability to download maps to your device so you don’t have to use data to navigate. TomTom also offers a navigation application limited to 80km per month in the trial version.

It works just like a personal navigation device with turn by turn instructions. It can also locate nearby landmarks, petrol stations and traffic congestion, though those only work when it’s online.

Pig Spotter II and TomTom Traffic allow you to access speed cameras spotted by other drivers. Pig Spotter also specifically records traffic collisions and road blocks.

Saving petrol

Fuel isn’t going to be cheap again for a long time and managing your consumption can go a long way to managing your budget.

aCar is a clever app that allows you to add cars, servicing and fuel stops. All you have to do is input what you pay for petrol at the garage and the application will calculate range, consumption and average cost per day to help to save.

The application can also be used to enter maintenance schedules and you can label your trips and business or personal.

It, as well as other apps like Fuel Buddy can also predict your next fill-up, but leans toward the conservative side.

SA Fuel is a locally developed app that will keep you informed of the latest petrol price for both coastal and inland areas. You can set it to alert you to increases to better plan your budget.

Wheels

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Changing your tyres or wheels can be daunting, especially when faced with new sizes that may have an impact on your speedometer.

With Tire Expert you can input your current wheel and tyre size and the app can show how a different mag and tyre combination will affect your car.

If you’re not sure, it can also suggest replacements so you don’t have to succumb to pressure from tire salesmen chasing commissions.

Speed

If you suspect that speedo is faulty or you like more information than simply speed, apps like DigiHUD show speed, elevation and location on your phone.

Of course, you shouldn’t be checking your phone while you’re driving, so the app comes with a HUD (Head-up Display) function that reflects off your windscreen.

If you have a cradle for your phone, you don’t need to use the HUD function.

Maintenance

Inevitably, all cars need to make a trip to the mechanic’s workshop where they tell you what the service codes mean and take out their bigger calculator.

OBD2 is an application that analyses several engine codes so you don’t get cheated by unscrupulous players. Once you enter the code the app returns the result. If it can’t find and answer, it offers to search the web.

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If you have busted a fuse and are not sure what to replace it with, Car Fuse Finder matches your car with specific fuses and users are able to expand the database.

My car maintenance is able to help you keep track of your vehicle’s maintenance, especially if it’s more prone to spend days in workshops. The app can be set to remind you about specific items to check at time intervals.

You can also use Regularly to schedule car maintenance tasks like checking tires, oil, and coolant on a regular basis.

Dashboard

Many modern smartphones have a “car dashboard” option where the device automatically switches to basic functions with big buttons when placed in a car dock.

Car Dashboard is a free application that does a similar job and you can set to local units and you can set buttons on the app with your own shortcuts.

Saying goodbye

And finally, when you want to sell your car, apps like Gumtree, OLX and Junkmail prove useful to get it listed for buyers in your area. These classified apps allow you to upload images and specify area and price.

On Gumtree you can also check what the average selling price is for your car’s year, make and model.

What do you use your favourite car application for? Let us know

WATCH this online video how a car is driven remotely via a smartphone application:

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