Smartphone apps are taking over everything we do, so why wouldn’t we use them to make travel easier? We found eight of the best smartphone apps for cars, some helpful for navigating and others help you find a deal on gas.
When using these car smartphone apps, please be sure to keep your eyes on the road.
1. Android Auto
There’s no question about the popularity of Android Auto. It’s one of the best apps on the market, with quick access to navigation through Google Maps. Plus, you gain all the connectivity you want with the messaging apps while enjoying your favorite content through music or audiobooks.
You can mount your phone on the dashboard and use the app that way or utilize built-in connectivity with some compatible vehicles. With these cars, Android Auto is located right on the touchscreen of your car.
Whatever way you choose to use this smartphone application, it’s completely free.
Download Android Auto from Google Play.
If you spend a lot of time driving, you can reduce headaches with Waze. While the integrated navigation aspect is similar to Google Maps, the alerts seem to work better. You get notifications about traffic, road hazards and speed traps.
As you travel, you might also choose to mark these hazards for other drivers.
The biggest perk of using Waze is the complete integration of everything you need in one place. You can play Spotify from the app, see your speed and find fuel stations all from one screen. There’s no reason to fumble with your phone to accomplish multiple tasks.
Everyone wants to save money on fuel. The money saved is far better spent on the latest modifications and upgrades for your car, and GasBuddy makes it easier to find the cheapest fueling station.
Through crowdsourcing, the app compiles all of the gas prices in your region. While it’s a great app for commuting, it’s even more valuable when you are on a road trip.
Additionally, you can contribute to the app by sending in the gas prices you see. GasBuddy offers prizes to some contributors.
However, some people aren’t fond of the app activating user location data. If that disturbs you, there are plenty of other ways to find cheap gas, or you could set the permissions to only activate location tracking while using the app.
If you don’t want the hassle or expense of a radar detector, consider downloading Radarbot instead. This legal alert system keeps you informed about potential speed cameras up ahead.
Radarbot uses live alerts and camera detection with the help of GPS. When it finds fixed speed cameras, traffic light cameras, mobile cameras and tunnel cameras, it sends an alert through vibration and sounds.
The app will also notify you of dangerous traffic zones, thanks to the help of more than two million drivers. While the app is free, the ability to save you from a costly speeding ticket is priceless.
5. Car Maintenance by myCARFAX
It’s not difficult to take control of your car management, especially with this app from CARFAX. As a trusted leader in the industry, it only makes sense to put this management in CARFAX’s hands.
Not only will the Car Maintenance app help you track the repairs and maintenance of your vehicle, but it also tells you when it’s time to renew your car registration. If you need help with repairs, use the handy mechanic search function to find a shop near you.
Additionally, the app lets you know of any service recalls and helps you value your vehicle when it’s time to sell.
Another fabulous car management tool is Drivvo. It allows you to track most anything you could imagine, including gas mileage, miles driven, expenses, maintenance and repairs.
If you spend a good portion of your day driving for work, this app is a must-have. Easily keep track of those expenses to make tax time easier. Plus, the handy maintenance records make taking care of your car a breeze.
While Drivvo is free, there are some features that require a paid-for subscription.
SpotAngels is a newer app, but it shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if you need help finding parking spots in major cities.
The main purpose of the app is to help you avoid costly parking tickets. With 20 supported cities in the database, you can keep track of parking in your urban environment.
Search out free parking, meters and garage deals. The community can also send in information and pictures to help others find safe parking spots.
We aren’t sure if SpotAngels will be around long-term, but it’s worthwhile to use for now.
8. Torque Pro
If you want to eliminate diagnostic bills from your local mechanic, Torque Pro can help. With the use of OBD2 Bluetooth adapters, Torque Pro communicates trouble codes from all of the major systems of your vehicle. You can use it to monitor sensors in the airbags, wheels, ABS, transmission and engine.
Torque Pro only runs with compatible Android and iOS devices, but it also provides valuable stats on your vehicle, such as a GPS speedometer, warnings and alarms.
While the free version, Torque Lite, might be fine for some users, the paid-for Torque Pro is much more comprehensive and updated more frequently.
Value of Manufacturer Smartphone Apps for Cars
While we’ve listed eight smartphone apps for cars that are universal, you shouldn’t overlook the apps that your brand offers. Many car manufacturers now provide a free app to their users, filled with valuable tools.
For example, the BMW ConnectedDrive app allows you to integrate your mobile devices and connect to your smart home tech while on the road. These tools are available with the purchase of your vehicle, so you might as well take advantage of them.
While you are taking advantage of your favorite smartphone apps for cars, make sure you tune into our podcast while on the road. We offer some great advice that will entertain, educate and inspire.