An App for Every Car: Fun, Useful and Cool New Tools for Driving


Every day I’m more convinced that there might actually be an iPhone app for everything.

iPhones and other “smart phones” are quickly becoming items we’ll soon wonder how we ever lived without, like TVs, the Internet, and peppermint soy mochas.

Now smart devices might further deepen the bond between us humans and our automobiles. Browsing through an online app store reveals hundreds of auto-related apps that can enhance the enjoyment and practicality of our cars. Of course, there are the GPS turn-by-turn navigation apps that we’ve mentioned before. But there’s so much more.

For instance, I had no idea that the iPhone and iPod Touch have a built-in accelerometer, which makes app capabilities for cars even cooler.

For my gearhead friends, there’s an app called Dynolicious that uses the accelerometer to monitor and record 0-60 mph and quarter-mile acceleration times, horsepower, G-forces, and other performance numbers. Offroaders can download The Vehicle Clinometer, an app that measures and analyzes the risk of a rollover through onscreen meters that show a vehicle’s approach/departure and tilt angles, then sounds an alert if risk hits the danger zone.

AccuFuel Screen

AccuFuel Screen

If you’re like me, though, you’re more likely to be watching gas mileage lately than setting personal-best 0-60 times. I’m no hypermiler by any means, but knowing exactly how efficient my cars are is a necessity. Apps such as AccuFuel and Fuelly accurately track and graph mpg numbers over time. The Road Trip app even keeps track of your car’s maintenance schedule and keeps records while calculating gas mileage and fuel expenses.

Drivers of Toyota Camrys and Honda Odysseys should know about apps like iPark and Find My Car, which help lost car owners find their vehicles in vast parking lots full of other Camrys and Odysseys.

Finally, one of the most useful apps I’ve ever seen is Shazam. When there’s a song on the radio that I’ve heard before and really dig, but have no idea who sings it, Shazam is there to identify the song for me. It takes a short sample of the song, sends it to a database of 5 million other songs, and matches it to the sonic signature of the song in question. Brilliant, and another reason why a smart phone will always occupy a spot in my car, right along with my peppermint soy mocha.

Are you hooked on smart phone apps? If you know of some great automotive ones, let us hear about them!


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