2017 Best Connected Car Devices

New devices that capture your cars’ computer sensor data using its on-board diagnostic port (OBD II is available on cars built from 1996 on) and adds a layer of additional features on top…have proliferated over the past few years.  These OBD 2 adapters also offer tracking and monitoring of driving and car diagnostics remotely from your Android or iOS device…transforming this information into a resource that helps easily understand a check-engine light, potentially improve your insurance rate based on how/when you actually drive, and create added safety features through tracking and emergency response services.

The following list of Consumer OBD monitoring devices currently on the market will help you compare Wifi and Bluetooth driving assistance systems and:

  1. Get device and their app reviews. Determine if the adapter/dongle can work with your car model and your Android or iOS phone.
  2. Filter based on monthly pricing, or by feature (theft tracking, api access, insurance or parental monitoring, etc).

Automatic – “Your Smart Driving Assistant”

  • App Marketplace
  • OBD-II Port and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Collision Detection using built-in accelerometer

CarLock – “The baby monitor for your car.”

  • The CarLock Cloud will inform your emergency contacts via SMS if you had an accident. – Add backup SMS or call notifications (SIM card included)
  • Export your trips data to your computer with CSV or XLS export
  • CarLock actively monitors the health of your vehicle and alerts you in advance if your car battery is running dangerously low or is experiencing high battery drain.

Dash Car – “Smarter. Driving. Every Day.”

  • Integrates with IFTTT
  • Take pole position on the leaderboard, win rewards and share road trips
  • Dash works with preferred OBD devices, starting as low as $10. Provides automated VIN decoding, multi-car support and push alerts.

Mojio“Connect your car to apps on your phone”

  • 3G Connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
  • App Marketplace

Vinli “Your, Connected”

  • Turns your car into a rolling WiFi hotspot
  • 4G LTE, Wifi, and Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Standalone GPS and app store

 

See More Devices

 

Car Washes & Your Vehicle’s Paint

Is there a legit but secret method of washing your car that will not cause damage to its paintwork?

PopularMechanics says…at the veryleast… avoid the gas station quick car washes with the big brushes.   If you care at all about your vehicle’s exterior finish…they can do more harm than good.  But a gold old DIY car wash at home will achieve the best results.

Most people that a wash and wax is the best way to keep their car shiny and clean. Their heart is in the right place, but there is much more to washing a car than those two things.  Mike Pennington and Rick McDonough of Meguiars explain these steps as a proper way to wash your car and maintain a clean exterior.

  1. Evaluate the Condition of Your Vehicle
  2. Read the Label
  3. Washing Your Car
  4. Prepare the Surface
  5. Polishing for Extra Gloss
  6. Wax to Protect
  7. Maintain a Shine and Protection
  8. Wash the Windows
  9. Wash the Wheels

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Here’s another viewpoint from the car enthusiasts TV show, FifthGear:

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Long Lost ‘Bullitt’ Mustang Found in Mexicali Junkyard

Love those classic car chase scenes from the 70’s?  The French ConnectionGone in 60 Seconds…and yes, the legendary racing enthusiast…Steve McQueen in Bullitt…shot right here in San Francisco.  That 1968 Mustang GT that McQueen did most of the stunt driving in is about as iconic as they come. It was found just across the California border in a Mexicali, Mexico junkyard…and was confirmed authentic by the most respected Ford authenticator in the field.


Voted a top 10 most legendary cars in Hollywood history was actually one of two Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT’s used in the Bullitt movie: one kept clean and crisp for the chase scenes wall all know and love…and another that did most of the stunt dirty work in those infamous chase scenes. It was that stunt double that many thought so battered and bruised during the movie…that caused it to get scrapped for junk years ago.

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Audi’s New In-Dash Traffic Light Technology

Driver assist technology is taking a small but practical jump forward with Audi’s launch of a traffic information feature that  is now available in select 2017 Audi A4, Q7 and all road models.  Part of the Audi connect system…the new feature is designed to help traffic flow and integrates vehicles with surrounding traffic light infrastructure.

“The launch of this technology is another in a long list of firsts for Audi that have positioned us as the industry leader in connectivity solutions…” ~ Scott Keogh, President,  Audi of America.

This new Traffic Light Information feature is a “vehicle to infrastructure” (V2I) tool designed help drivers in a practical everyday driving way…while helping Audi to innovate the driver experience and move it toward an autonomous future.  In fact, Audi is developing more infrastructure connected capabilities by growing relationships with the Google Earth mapping system and local retailers.

What does Audi’s traffic light feature actually do for drivers?

  1. Time to Green – Drivers pulling up to stop lights will now know how long until the light turns green.
  2. Speed Recommendation – that drivers should maintain to hit the most number of green lights and reduce time on-the-road.

Aiming for beneficial pragmatism as opposed to possible feelings of intrusiveness…Audi hopes to avoid alarming their customers about the quantity of information that their vehicles collect about them…as well as offering better traffic solutions and reducing congestion.

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Johnny’s Custom Auto Body Celebrates Small Business Saturday 11/26/16

Small businesses create nearly seven out of every ten new private sector jobs and employ half the private sector work force. They represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses with employees and have created 63% of the net new jobs over the last 20 years. ~ Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) ~ Forbes

The Small Business Saturday Story

  • 2010 – Day One –  The first-ever Small Business Saturday took place on Nov 27.  It encouraged people across the country to support small, local businesses.
  • 2011 – The Day Became Official – The United States Senate unanimously passed a resolution of support for Small Business Saturday.
  • 2012 – EVERY STATE IN THE UNION – From Washington D.C., to Washington State, governors, mayors, and even President Obama championed Small Business Saturday.
  • 2013 – Neighborhoods Celebrated The Day – The day continued to grow, with more individuals and local organizations pledging to support the day as Neighborhood Champions.
  • 2014 – SMALL BUSINESSES OWNED THE DAY – American Express encouraged small business owners to take charge of the day, helping them promote their businesses with free personalized ads, which appeared millions of times across the web.
  • 2015 – ONE FOR THE BOOKS – Shoppers supported their neighborhood businesses like never before, continuing to embrace the day as a holiday shopping tradition.

 

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Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup – Review Mashup

The new Mercedes-Benz new pickup truck, built in conjunction with Nissan probably won’t go into production till last quarter of 2017…but the pre-release hype is already off the charts.  Here’s a “Reviews Mashup” from some of the biggest names in automotive industry expertise…on the Mercedes Benz X-Class” concept:

Road /Show (CNET)

Roadshow brings expert perspective to the entire industry. We’ll give you unbiased buying advice and reporting on everything that moves you today, plus insight into everything that will move you a decade from now. We’ll inform with the latest news on the industry and entertain with the most amazing automotive video on the web. To drive this, we’ve built an amazing team of veteran auto journalists, tech gurus and peerless video producers — people with the knowledge, the skill and the perspective to craft an incredible suite of fresh content every day.

AutoBlog

Mercdes-Benz unvelied the X-Class pickup concept. Mid-size diesel truck to be based on Nissan NP300 Navara.  Autoblog obsessively covers the auto industry. We are a trusted source of auto research, information, and automotive issues


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MotorTrend

“The pickup is the ideal vehicle for the international expansion of our product range with a newly developed model,” Mercedes-Benz Vans heads Volker Mornhinweg said in a statement. “We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car.”

concpet photo of white Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup
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Mercedes-Benz hops into beds with new X-Class pickup truck – MotorAuthority

by Jeff Glucker
Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup truck conceptMercedes-Benz has finally pulled the wraps off its mid-size pickup truck, the long-rumored and finally unveiled X-Class. The X-Class still is a concept at this point, but it’s a concept in that wink-wink nudge-nudge sort of fashion. The final version should arrive at an upcoming auto show before hitting showrooms late in 2017. Well, not U.S…


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The Mercedes-Benz X-Class Pickup Truck Is Here And It Looks Sleek – Jalopnik

by Andrew P Collins on Truck Yeah, shared by Raphael Orlove to Jalopnik

Last March Mercedes-Benz announced that they were going to mock up a mid-sized pickup truck with more payload capacity than any American-market equivalent. Now we know what they’ve been hyping: it’s a truck for Mercedes customers, not the other way around.

Read more…

 

Self-Driving Cars Rip Insurers a New One?

Like ’em or not…ready or not…want ’em or not…self driving vehicles are coming…and autonomous safety features for normal cars are already here.  But how will it affect your car insurance premium…and car insurance companies in general?  In theory, self driving technology should shift the risk of car accidents from the driver…to the vehicle itself.  Do the insurance companies already have it all figured out…or are they secretly crapping in their pants?

Front-end crash-warning systems and blind-spot detectors are examples of collision-avoidance features already manufactured and on the road.  Automatic emergency braking systems will be standard equipment for virtually all new vehicles in the next six years.

As it stands now,  driver error is responsible for over 90% of vehicle accidents.   So if the risk and responsibility for accidents shift away from people…the logical result would be lower insurance costs for consumers….and with premiums currently at roughly $200 billion a year…a huge segment of an industry once deemed “too big to fail” could finally experience major Karma.

But risk management isn’t as simple and linear as we might like it to be…and self driving cars with autonomous safety features raise many questions to be answered before it all shakes out.

For example, driverless vehicles might reduce accident risk…but they would still be sharing roads and highways with human drivers behind the wheel.  How would insurance for both types of vehicles be written, and what would it cost?

“We don’t want to see an environment created where you have vehicles that might not be nothing more than glorified golf carts autonomously operating among big-rig tractor trailers.” Jim Whittle – American Insurance Assn.

And as much as we’d like rate reductions…they would be completely opposite of current rising rate trends resulting from:

  1. A rise in the number of crashes… reflecting more miles being driven
  2. Higher car sales
  3. An increase in texting and other driver distractions

In California…annual spending for car insurance nationwide it rose to $782.63 from $756.16 in 2013 (most recent available data).  Nationally…it went up 7%…from $786.65 in 2009 to $841.23 in 2013.  And unfortunately, vehicle crashes rose 10% to 6.06 million in 2014 from 5.51 million in 2009…says the to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Insurance bills aren’t coming down yet, but “over time do we think that is going to happen? Yes,” says Joe Schneider of KPMG.  The number of accidents could plunge 80% from current levels over the next 25 years…another KPMG principal estimated.

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Faraday Future – The Tesla Killer?

Faraday Future officially revealed its futuristic conceptual electric-car last January (2016) at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show (CES).  Though it’s been several months now since the announcement…and likely,  a few years until production begins of anything more tailored for the consumer market…anticipation remains high.  Why?  They just got approval to start testing autonomous cars in California later this year.

 

What many people don’t know is that Faraday Future has already sniped away a nice chunk of industry talent from the tech and auto industry with former employers like SpaceX, Tesla, Ford, BMW and GM.  And…they’ve already made agreements with Nevada lawmakers to build a $1 billion factory there…touting that a first production car could be hitting the streets by 2020.

 

But tough challenges remain:

  1. Cheap Gas
  2. Cheap Credit
  3. Regulatory & Legislative environment still favoring gas-powered vehicles
  4. Scant demand overall in the electric-car market…as a result of #1, #2, and #3 above.

Prediction: the number of electric cars on the road in the US probably wouldn’t outnumber the gas-powered ones until at least 2034.

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Defective Tire Recall System – Blown Out?

Have you replaced your vehicles tires recently…and feel good about your family’s safety because the tires are “new”? The National Transportation Safety Board completed a year long investigation in October 2015 on the status quo of our national recall system for car tires. Bottom line:

“Based on the work we did, that system’s not working. It’s completely broken.” ~ Rob Molloy – NTSB

In fact…the current system has left millions of tires in use, on store shelves or simply unaccounted for.  The NTSB estimates that there are “400 to 500 deaths a year, at least, from crashes involving tire-initiated events,” …meaning, tires that could have been underinflated, punctured or suffered from other pre-existing problems.

What can you do to learn whether your tires have been Recalled?

  1. Consumer Awareness – is an effective first step. Did you know that you need to register your tires with the manufacturer in order to receive recall notices?
  2. Check the Age of Your Tires – Ford, GM and Chrysler all recommend that tires more than six years old be replaced, regardless of how much they have been used.  Watch this video:


What can the NTSB do better to make it easier for consumers to tell if they tires are under recall??

  1. Tire Identification Number (TIN) lookup system implemented by manufacturers on their websites. Each tire already has its own TIN imprinted on the side of the tire.
  2. Newer Technology – the tires themselves could in form of embedded chips or scan-able codes to help auto shops quickly identify tires, the NTSB said, and update customer contact forms to ensure consumers get recall notices when they go out.

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Henry Ford III Has a Need for Speed Too

If you are/were a Breaking Bad fan, maybe you caught this flick after the series ended a couple of years back.  Aaron Paul plays another speed freak – risk taker…but not the drug related kind this time.

Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey (Aaron Paul) gets out of prison determined to settle the score with the man responsible for his false conviction. ~ (Need For Speed Movie Trailer)

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As it turns out…Henry Ford III is a bit of a speed freak too. Maybe he secretly wanted the “Toby” role in the movie above…but instead, did this CNN-Money video, where he takes the interviewer for a drive in the new Ford Shelby GT350R.  As the head of marketing for the company’s performance division, Henry has the task of selling the fastest, most expensive Fords on the planet.


BTW, check out this ’68 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang we did last year…beauty!

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