The List: Top Car Apps
The beautiful thing about the advancement of apps for smartphones is that as more users switch to the devices, the more effective and beneficial crowdsourced apps become. From posting the lowest prices at the gas pumps in your neighborhood to calling out the favored hiding spots of radar-gun-toting police officers, the power of the public’s knowledge is literally funneled directly into your hands – often for free. We’ve also got a couple of apps that aren’t crowd-based but are still pretty neat... #5 - Carticipate
This is a free rideshare application downloadable from iTunes for iPhone. It folds fellow commuters – looking to save cash on fuel and help save the environment by reducing the CO2 emissions - together into a large social network of folks. Users can enter their query for ride locales near their home city or they can use it for business travel. It also works in a multitude of languages, for international travelers.
#4 - Craftsman Garage Door
Gone are the days of wondering ‘Did the garage door really close?’ This nifty iPhone app will give you peace of mind anywhere you get service. It’ll not only display the current status of your garage door’s position with a quick glance, but can open or close it immediately; particularly handy if you’re trying to let a deliveryman drop something off. It’s got proprietary coding in the software that stops would-be burglars from cloning the frequency and opening it themselves. The catch is you have to have a Craftsman AssureLink Internet Connected DC Chain Drive Garage Door Opener (around $200 at Sears). But the app itself is completely free on iTunes.
#3 - Trapster
Think of Trapster as the new CB radio. It’s a free, crowdsourced application and website that alerts users to hazards of the road. While these warnings of potential peril could be anything from tire-demolishing potholes to construction crews, the coolest use of Trapster is when people upload police radar/laser speed traps. Forget flashing your high beams; just blow up the cop’s spot on Trapster. With just shy of 15 million users, and more than 5 million reported traps – adding about 3,000 new ones per day – Trapster stands ready to save you from everything from tire repair to a trip to court to fight that speeding ticket. The best part? It’s available for nearly every smartphone’s OS.
#2 - Dynolicious
This one’s just for the iPhone users because it uses Apple’s built-in three-axis accelerometers to turn your phone into a dynamometer, with a radar gun and timer on the side. For $12.99, you merely enter your vehicle’s information (including weight after factoring in for fuel and passengers) and then let the device run. At a simple touch of the controls, you can measure quarter-mile elapsed times, lateral g-forces, 0-60 mph, times and speeds, braking g-forces and even horsepower. All the data can be saved and exported for later use and it’s surprisingly accurate. Just don’t crash while looking at how many Gs you’re pulling during corners.
#1 - GasBuddy
This free app helps you find the cheapest gas prices in your area. Available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry (and at GasBuddy.com for everyone else) this nifty program relies on users to upload the latest pump prices and then publishes the results for all. Incentivizing users to post is a point system that awards prizes, but the real prize is finding extra cash in your wallet after you pull away from the station.