Saturday 16 November 2013

4 Apps That save you money with your car

Drivers should swear off texting and thumb-twiddling games behind the wheel,  but the smart phone, when safely clipped to the dashboard and out of your hands, can be much more than a dangerous distraction in the car. Mobile apps can give drivers the tools they need to drive more safely and smartly, whether helping then maximise fuel mileage or locate a misplaced vehicle in a sprawling car park. We run down the best mobile apps on the market for the wired, wallet-conscious UK motorist.
My Cars (Android, free)
Feel like your driving costs are spiraling out of control, driven upwards by hefty fuel bills, steep insurance premiums, and endless repairs and maintenance costs? Track everything and learn how to boast efficiency and minimise outputs with this handy app. Can't remember when you last had your oil changed? My Cars knows. Always forget to have your car served after so many miles? My Cars can remind you. Regular servicing keeps your car humming, resolving minor issues before they require pricey repairs (or cause accidents) and maintaining the salability of the vehicle. My Cars also allows you to track fuel efficiency and determine the best--and worst--conditions for your petrol consumption. And unlike similar apps, My Cars allows users to log data from multiple cars at once, making it useful for multi-vehicle households.
Road Trip Lite (iPhone, free)
If you're not a obsessive number cruncher (or an Android user) but still want to maximise your cars performance and minimise costs with some simple math, look into Road Trip Lite. A quicker and more accessible app for logging mileage, fuel economy, and maintenance costs, Road Trip Lite produces streamlined graphs to help you understand how your car eats up petrol and how to improve your stats. The full version of Road Trip (£2.99) comes with a full caboodle of features, including trip expense and tyre installation logs and support for multiple vehicles, but laymen can probably save their pennies and cope well with the leaner version.
Intelligent Marmalade (iPhone and Android, free)
Young drivers face steep insurance costs but a telematics scheme can help them par down costs with safe driving. Intelligent Marmalade replicates the tracking of the insurer's 'black box,' monitoring all the variables (except speed) that the actual box does, and then delivering a score. It's specifically targeted at young drivers but others can benefit from finding out how safely they drive--and if a telematics box could whittle down their insurance costs. Great way to try out telematics even if you don't plan to insure with Marmalade.
AA Parking (iPhone and Android, £1.99)
Sick of creeping through a crowded city looking for a parking spot and finally being forced to shill out nearly a month's rent to shoehorn your car in between four others? This app, boasting data on all paid and free car parks in the UK and Ireland, can help you locate the nearest and cheapest parking spot for you vehicle. In some areas you can even tap into real-time data about parking space availability, with information about opening hours and up-to-date price listings.
Rebecca Jaten has been a freelance journalist for 12 years. With an extra appetite for app and technology related articles and how they can save you money.

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