How your smartphone can help you care for your car


| ara@queenscourier.com |

If you can resist the temptation to reach for it while you’re behind the wheel, your smartphone can be a great asset as you care for your vehicle. A smartphone can give you instructions for maintenance procedures while you are under the hood, help you find a part that needs fixing and get you to a trusted mechanic quicker and easier than ever before.

Whether you’re a weekend mechanic or simply enjoy being able to keep a handy and accessible maintenance log, here are few ways your smartphone can help you take better care of your car:

* How-to videos. YouTube isn’t just a great place to check out the latest hilarious viral video, it’s a great resource for finding videos that can lead you through common car maintenance procedures.

* Parts catalogs. With a smartphone-ready parts catalog, you can not only see your options for replacement parts, but place your order on the spot while you continue to work.

* Maintenance diaries. If you’re like many conscientious car owners, you probably keep a log book in your glove box detailing everything from maintenance procedures to oil changes and even gas mileage from tank to tank. The good news is there are now a number of mobile device “apps” that can make this task even easier for you. A good car maintenance app will organize and present the notes you keep in a logical way, and even allow you to keep notes on multiple vehicles. Some even have the ability to send you reminders when you are due for an oil change or other routine maintenance procedures.

* Garage locaters. If you end up breaking down in unfamiliar territory, a smartphone can be of great assistance in finding a reputable shop. Your map app can help you locate the shops closest to you and then you can take to the web, visit a shop’s site and read reviews collected by mobile-friendly services to learn what other customers said about repairs they had done at the shop.

* Car buying info. Your smartphone can also help you if you’re in the market for a new car. If you’re on the showroom floor, you can use your phone to browse vehicle specifications and read reviews. Many car magazines now have mobile sites, making things that much easier, and you can even get a quick answer on what kind of fuel economy to expect at fueleconomy.gov/m.