Car plug-in tells you what's wrong, where to get it fixed

Existing connected car dongles might tell you about your drive stats and provide feedback on making you a better motorist, but driving is a team effort. Your car has to perform, and when it starts to tell you it's not ready to go, frustration and a touch of panic set in. What does the "check engine" light mean? Why is it making that weird noise? Mechanic Advisor, a site with a network of automotive repair shops, will soon be jumping into the connected car game with their own plug-in dongle.

The Mechanic Advisor hardware will work just like the one you might have from Automatic, or one of the many that work with the app Dash. Using your car's OBD port, the plug-in talks to an accompanying app via Bluetooth, and gives you feedback on what it can read from there. Your mechanic does the same thing when you blindly bring it in for the "check engine" light scenario.

With Mechanic Advisor's dongle, you'll get info on what's wrong with your car, and even be directed to the right shop. If you can fix it yourself (like the gas cap is loose), the app will also tell you how that's done.

The app and dongle tandem will also give you info on when to change your oil, and give info on routine service. You'll also get some insight on when you should get your tires or brakes checked.

Other apps-and-dongles do similar things, with Dash giving you estimated repair costs for what ails your car. Automatic will also give insight on what feedback your car gives, but it's meant to be informative, nothing more. Both do enough, but Mechanic Advisor takes it a touch further.

The Mechanic Advisor dongle is currently up for pre-order, and will cost $44.95 — about half what competing dongles elsewhere can cost. It ships in the first quarter of 2015, with the app coming for both iOS and Android.

Source: Mechanic Advisor

Via: GigaOM