AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
A free parking app is now available for the Apple iPhone to help users find where they parked their vehicle.
Good news Android users and Mazda owners – you can now download Mazda’s MyMazda app.
The MyMazda app had previously only been available for iPhone users, but now Android smartphone users can use this app to get real-time information about their vehicle. This free app updates you as to service offers personalized to your car, scheduled maintenance reminders, factory maintenance schedules and other information.
Using the MyMazda app, you’ll be able to scan vehicle identification numbers (VINs) when you want to add new vehicles to the application. You can also update your contact information and upload personal vehicle photos for each vehicle you register.
If you’ve forgotten where you’ve parked your car in a busy parking lot, use the vehicle locator feature – it uses GPS to find out when you left your vehicle. As well, the “MyMazda” app is linked with the “Mazda Assist” app, so you can get hooked up with immediate roadside assistance should you need it using only the app on your smartphone, no 911 call necessary.
The MyMazda app for Android is available for free download at the Google Play Store.
Need to kill some time? Have an urge to crush some cars? There’s an app that can help you do both – Squash My Car.
Available to download for iPhone and Android phones, the Squash My Car app lets you turn a run-of-the-mill, normal-sized car into a pint-sized version. All you have to do is take a picture of a vehicle and the app’s squishy software transforms it into a mini image that can be used as a screensaver and personal avatar for social media networks. You can even use the squished car to adorn keyrings, posters and birthday cards.
To make the new and improved squished car, the Squash My Car app manipulates your “before” car image by shortening the body while keeping the wheels and other surrounding elements intact. The result gives new meaning to the term “compact car” that can still be easily identified as the original vehicle.
The Squash My Car app costs $0.99 to download. You can learn more about it on the Squash My Car website or you can watch a video of the app in action after the jump.
Can you handle the curves of this track? Lexus created a track based on the curves of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Tori Praver – va, va, va, vroom!
Photographs were taken of Tori’s body, and using the photos as a guide, a track that was based on a one inch to one hundred foot scale ratio was created. The fun didn’t stop there – in fact, it was just getting started. It was time for the “Tori 500” – two drivers, two laps. And to the winner, the spoils – a victory lap with the inspiration for the track, Tori herself.
Professional race car driver Scott Pruett and professional stunt driver Greg Tracy took to the track in a Lexus GS F Sport. We’re not going to tell you the outcome – you can see for yourself in the making-of video after the jump.
Do you want to try your luck racing the “Tori 500” or take a custom photo of you and this hot model? Download the two new apps for iPhone and iPad from Lexus’s website.
GALLERY: Tori Praver and Lexus
Hot Wheels is finding new ways to make their toys relevant and fun again, this time around launching a new product line called the iNitro Speeders which allows the user to control their little car through an iPhone app.
Similar to what you’d find with a standard remote controlled car, the iPhone app features your standard dual-stick controller but also takes advantage of the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer to control the car. Even cooler, you can use the app to choose a predefined driving route or draw your own pattern and watch it come to life with the miniature car.
And even though you can control the car with a standard remote control that’s included, taking advantage of the iPhone app really makes it different and fun. It comes with an infrared module that plugs into the iPhone’s headphone port and after you calibrate it you’ll be good to go. Lastly, the app has a built-in racing game that you can play without the remote controlled car, giving kids and young adults (like us) a little bit of everything to enjoy.
Oh no – what does that flashing light on your dashboard mean? Now there’s an app that will tell you exactly what’s wrong.
The new Actron InfoMobile Lite app for iPhone and Android smart phones lets you easily reference data from an Actron diagnostic scan tool. The On-Board Diagnostic (OBD II) trouble code definitions (they are collected by the engine when a check engine light is lit up) are delivered right to your cell phone. The OBD II code definitions are relevant for vehicles built in 1996 and newer when used with an OBD II code reader.
“Our Actron InfoMobile Lite app is a very convenient option for auto enthusiasts because it eliminates the need for a computer – simply access trouble codes from your Actron PocketScan Code Reader or other diagnostic code reader, download the app to your iPhone or Android, and discover the trouble code definitions,” said Jennifer Grabowski, product manager for Actron Diagnostic Scan Tools. “We are providing accurate and reliable information that automotive DIYers can use to understand why their check engine light is on, and we’re offering it for an electronic product that nearly everyone carries.”
The Actron InfoMobile Lite app is free… and you can’t beat that price. Download the app now from the iTunes or Android Marketplace stores. There is one downside, though. The app doesn’t function by itself, you need a code reader. Guess what, Actron makes those and they aren’t exactly cheap. Even at Amazon’s significant discount, it costs $59.95.
There’s one other thing to keep in mind before placing an order, trouble codes are good, but they aren’t perfect. A single blown fuse can cause dozens of error codes capable of puzzling the best mechanics. On the upside, arming yourself with more knowledge before visiting your local grease monkey puts a lot of leverage in your corner when he tries to tell you the transmission is shot.
Buick has launched an app for iOS and Android smartphones to help raise MPG awareness. A trio of eAssist Fuel Efficiency smartphone games are packaged into a single app that’s now available to download for free and offers a fun way to hone your driving techniques in order to maximize fuel economy.
The three games are titled “Regeneration Road”, “Roll and Boost”, and “Wind Tunnel Tester.” Regeneration Road focuses on the regenerative braking featured found on Buick eAssist vehicles which helps capture and store energy when a vehicle is braking in order to recharge the lithium-ion battery. Players must make it through the town without running out of fuel while avoiding pedestrians along the way.
The second game, Roll and Boost, has a focus of distance and not speed with battery management being the main priority. By using the energy stored from braking strategically, an emissions-free boost of acceleration can be had and using that energy at optimal times is key to Roll and Boost.
Lastly, Wind Tunnel Tester allows players to put on their automotive engineering hat. Sit there and tweak the vehicle’s length and width on the screen, understanding how the sleek and modern shapes of Buick vehicles help maximize aerodynamics and ultimately fuel efficiency.
eAssist can be found on the Buick LaCrosse and Regal models and aids the performance of a fuel-efficient 2.4L gas engine to achieve 36-mpg. eAssist also allows the gas engine to turn off completely while the car is sitting idle.
“The driving force behind eAssist’s development was to make great vehicles like the LaCrosse and Regal even better,” said Dan Cottrell, General Motors assistant chief engineer for the eAssist powertrain. “With eAssist we can improve both vehicle performance as well as fuel economy.”
With the Volkswagen Golf R hitting US dealerships this month, the German automaker has decided to release the “Golf R Drivers Forever” app to bring Golf R information to the masses.
The iPad app will provide access to everything anyone would ever want to know about the iconic performance model and features stories told through the perspective of VW enthusiasts and drivers that helped bring the coveted variant to America. It’ll include a mini-documentary about the world of Volkswagen, an exclusive interview with designer Chip Foose and accounts from key members of the Volkswagen of America Product Marketing team.
“The Golf R app was created to celebrate and thank the Volkswagen brand’s community of enthusiasts because they represent what makes the Golf R special,” said Jon Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “The app will help build awareness around the Volkswagen brand heritage and we are excited to offer this innovative approach that illustrates the performance of the Golf R.”
The 2012 Golf R is the most powerful Volkswagen sports performance vehicle ever sold on American soil. It packs 256-hp and 243 lb-ft of torque through a 2.0L TSI engine. The app is free to download.
Check out a video after the break highlighting what the app is all about.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf R Drivers Forever App
There’s nothing entirely revolutionary about an app that reminds you where you parked your car, but the guys looking to finish their “Find My Car Smart” app wants to revolutionize the process involved.
Currently the vast majority (all) of the apps require you to launch the app after you park your car, mark it on your map and is entirely dependent on how strong your GPS signal is. Find My Car Smart on the other hand will integrate the new Bluetooth 4.0 technology found in Apple’s iPhone 4S in order to track where your parked your car.
The project is looking for funding in order to acquire and program a large order of Bluetooth Smart Devices so that they can be offered at an affordable price. Essentially, the Bluetooth Smart device is a USB-powered Bluetooth adapter and when your vehicle is shutoff, the app will detect the Bluetooth device powering down and automatically start the GPS and save your car’s location. From there, you only need to fire up the app to find your car.
Even though the app is up on the iOS App Store, it doesn’t do much without the Bluetooth Smart device and the programming it needs. So pledge today and help get this off the ground if you’re one of those people always wandering the mall parking lot looking for your car.
One of the reasons you hate driving in the city will no longer be an issue, thanks to the Parker iPhone app. This handy tool will scope out available parking spots in a variety of different cities, alleviating one of the annoyances that comes with the urban commute.
To ensure you get the most out of this app, Parker will take you through its helpful features and show you how it works its magic (Parker uses real-time sensors found at parking spaces and garages to get its data). You’ll get a rundown of the app’s icons as well as features that let you filter parking searches, show payment methods available and the regions Parker covers.
On the home page of the app, you’re met with two options – Find or Park – that are color-coded to show parking-spot availability (green=best, blue=OK and red=keep looking), as well as the price and time limit of the spot.
The Parker app also comes with options to pay with your mobile phone (only at select locations) and allows you to rate, comment and share info and pictures of the parking spot – that’s for when you snag a really sweet spot and want to brag about it.
The iPhone Parker app covers quite a few cities, including Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and New York, with more to be added soon. You can download it for free at the iTunes store.
If you own a Mazda and an iPhone, you’ll want to download the all-new MyMazda iPhone app. This handy free app offers you easy access to service offers, scheduled and factory maintenance reminders, and other important information – right at your fingertips.
Claiming to be one of the first automotive iPhone apps to provide customers with real-time information about their vehicle, the MyMazda app lets you see when you’re due for maintenance, it gives you your vehicle service history and provides you with recall updates. You can also use the app to register your Mazda, update your contact information and select a preferred dealer for each car you register.
Synced with the Mazda Customer Connect (MCC), the MyMazda app has direct mail, email, appointment scheduling, mobile bar coding and a text messaging reminder feature, as well as access to custom tailored service and parts offers and promotions. If you need to book an appointment with the nearest dealer, just use the Mazda dealer locator to find one that’s close to you.
If you’re the forgetful type, MyMazda has got you covered – it will send you reminder alerts for upcoming appointments. Plus, with the GPS-powered car locator, once you park your car, you can type in its location so you can find it easily later on – that feature will come in handy at crowded shopping mall parking lots.
The MyMazda iPhone app is available for download at the Apple iTunes store. Android users can expect to see the Android version of the app released in the next few months.
With every development of a new app, the smartphone is turning into a necessity. The latest to be created for car owners is the Car Recalls iPhone app.
For owners who want to find a better way to stay on top of all the recalls regarding their vehicles, they can refer to this software and search for recalls that date as early as 1950. New recalls that are issued with be notified to your phone as well.
As handy as this tool may be, the Car Recalls iPhone app does have some shortcomings. The app does not provide a contact number to get in touch with specialists that handle the recall, nor does it provide details on the consequences if one does not address the problem in a timely manner. Regardless, if your car is recalled, call your local dealer and book a service appointment.
The app isn’t free, but it does cost just $.99 and can be purchased here.
Ever wonder how much that road trip is going to cost you in gas? Before you pack up the car, download the Cost2Drive app to see if you’ve got enough cash for gas to make it to your destination.
Cost2Drive will estimate how much it will cost to fuel up on a road trip. All you have to do is enter a starting address, ending address, and the make, model, and year of your vehicle, and Cost2Drive will do the rest. This super smart app calculates how much money you’ll need to fuel up based on the distance between the starting and ending points, the highway fuel economy estimate for your vehicle, the size of your vehicle’s gas tank and what type of fuel it uses. It even sources gas prices along your route and factors them into your total cost.
If your travelling budget is a little on the tight side, Cost2Drive will show you the gas stations that have the lowest fuel prices along your route, and how often you should stop to fill up. Although Cost2Drive only estimates for one-way trips, it’s easy enough to either double that amount or figure out your return trip home.
If you’re eco-conscious, Cost2Drive can help you out there, too. It also offers displays the carbon footprint for your selected trip and it has an option to purchase carbon offsets in order to make your trip as green as possible.
Let’s just say that after you plug in all the information and the time, money and distance estimates are a little too much for you to handle. In that case, Cost2Drive also offers the Kayak trip planning service, which will show you the lowest airfare to your chosen destination. You can compare flying vs. driving and weight the pros and cons for each method of transportation.
You can never have enough racing games on your iPhone or iPad, so it’s a good thing the new Mercedes-AMG 0-100-0 Challenge is ready to be downloaded. This app puts you behind the wheel of the Mercedes SLS AMG Roadster, so you can tear up the track and test your mad racing skills.
Available for free on iTunes, the Mercedes-AMG 0-100-0 Challenge game puts you on a closed course and challenges you to go from stop to 100 mph and stop again in the shortest time possible. This game is more than just speed – it’s about control and reaction time. How long will it take you to clamp down on those six piston caliper brakes to bring your Mercedes-AMG to a complete stop? Your acceleration and deceleration times will be combined with your reaction times to give you a total score and determine your position on the leaderboard. After a few test runs, you can brag to all your friends via Facebook or Twitter by posting your times and see if any of them can beat it.
You can download the Mercedes-AMG 0-100-0 Challenge for free at the iTunes store.
To find the best deals on tires in town, use the iLocate Tires app for iPhone to compare prices and give you detailed directions to tire stores in your area.
The iLocate Tires app lets you compare all local options for the best price on tires wherever you are, as well provide reviews of tire stores. While it’s not a new app, this latest version comes with a host of updates, including a comprehensive tire store database, one-click contact information and directions.
You start with a main menu that lists all local tire stores. To find out more on each store, just hit the arrow tab on the right of the listing, which brings up Call and Directions tabs. There’s also a View Maps tab, which takes you to a Google Places page that offers additional info such as pictures and user reviews. For good measure, this app features a Place page that gives you access to other businesses or services near any particular tire store.
Three tabs – Enter Location, Map and About – are found below the tire store listings on the main menu. Using the Enter Location tab, you can type in a zip code to find the closest tire stores to your location. If you want to find tire stores on Google Maps that are near you, you can also use this tab to toggle between the Use GPS tab. It marks your location on Google Maps with a light-blue dot and marks nearby tire stores with purple pins. You can also use the Maps tab to get the same result. Finally, the About tab gives you a rundown on the app’s developer.
The iLocate Tire app is $1.99 and can be downloaded at the iTunes store.
[Source: Edmunds Inside Line]
If you loved playing Continental Tire’s ContiTireRace, you’ll want to check out the sequel, ContiTireRace2. Available to play on Facebook or as an app for iPhone and iPad, ContiTireRace2 lets you tear up two new tracks – the Norway and Sunshine State.
The object of the game is to complete the track as quickly as possible, all while collecting “Speed-ups,” a feature that you can collect along the track that will briefly speed up your tires. As you’re racing your ContiSportContact 5 (a high-performance summer tire), you need to complete two laps while avoiding obstacles. To make your way up the leader board, your must take the ideal racing line through the bends wherever you can.
Along with the new game comes a new contest. The ContiTireRace Summer Edition Sweepstakes is on now through September 30, 2011, and two lucky participants will win a set of four brand-new tires from Continental. There’s also a second prize of a 250GB Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle Microsoft Game System. You can register to win by clicking on the “Sweeps” button on the ContiTireRace menu – just enter your first name, last name and email address, and agree to the official rules.
Do you miss your Nissan Leaf the moment you walk away from it? Now, you can stay in touch with your Leaf no matter where you are at any time, thanks to the new Nissan Leaf app.
Available for use on Blackberry and Android operating systems (the app has already been available on the iPhone since the car’s release in 2010), the Leaf app lets Leaf owners manage and control tons of vehicle features right from their smartphone. To get this app, all you need is a Leaf (of course) and an active CARWINGS subscription. Even if you don’t own a Leaf but want to know more about it, you can download the app. It’s a handy tool that lets you check the state of the battery charge or begin charging. With the app, you can check when battery charge is complete, see estimated driving range or turn the climate control system on or off.
“Nissan understands that telematics and other communication services are important for consumers,” said Trisha Jung, director, Vehicle Connected Services, Nissan North America. “By providing accessibility and functionality to the Nissan LEAF through all major smartphone platforms, we are truly delivering ‘Innovation for All.’”
Everything is coming cartoon with ToyToyota’s Backseat Driver app, made just for kids. Designed to make any road trip go smoothly, Backseat Driver will keep kids occupied and let you keep your sanity.
A new brand from Toyota, ToyToyota’s first offering uses a GPS and accelerometer to match the game play to what’s going on while you’re driving. Basically, your child is following your vehicle (called the Papa Car) in their own car. The idea is to pick up stuff along the way by driving over them. Let’s just say you pass a restaurant – your child is able to pull over in their virtual car, grab something to eat and get some points.
There’s a social aspect to the game as well – players can post their high scores on Twitter, and can compete with others via the game’s online ranking system. And as you collection more points, you’re able to use them towards pimping out your vitual ride.
If you’ve got an iPhone (3GS and 4), iPod Touch (3rd and 4th generation models), or iPad, you can download Backseat Driver for free at the iTunes store. If you want to see it in action before downloading, you can watch the video after the jump.
[Source: All Car Tech]
We’ve all been there – standing in front of a parking lot attendant, trying to remember our license plate number, but for whatever reason, we just can’t think of what it is. Or being stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery, not sure what to do next. When these headaches happen, just use the Jiffy Lube app to get you out of that sticky situation.
The new Jiffy Lube iPhone app lets you store and organize vital vehicle information, and offers tips such as how to jump a dead battery, what to do if your car overheats and where you can find the nearest Jiffy Lube location.
This free app comes with a few features that will come in handy. The My Info feature lets you organize your vehicle information and gives you tips on how to jump start a dead battery or deal with an overheated car. It also offers reminders for your next oil change and inspection information.
It hard to remember things like preventive maintenance, so the “My Garage” feature takes care of it for you. You’ll get tips and basic information, and it puts you in touch with your maintenance schedule.
When it’s time to get your oil changed, the Quick Call feature puts you in touch with the nearest Jiffy Lube, from wherever you are. It will also let you know what services are performed at particular locations, if there are any coupons available and the ability to share coupons on Facebook and Twitter networks.
You can download the Jiffy Lube app for free at the iTunes Store.
The constant bathroom, stops, the sibling fighting, the obligatory wailing of “Are we there yet.” It makes you just want to forgo the summer road trip and stay home. But Road Trip Bingo App may have you packing up the family to head across the country.
If you’ve got an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch, the Road Trip Bingo app may keep you sane this summer. Think of a regular bingo board, but instead of letters and numbers, it features travel icon. And just like regular bingo, the name of the game is to mark off squares until you get five in a row – up, down, across or diagonally.
Road Trip Bingo’s squares feature things you’d typically see on a road trip, so when you see one of the items, you just touch the screen (it marks it off with a purple dot). Just a few of the things to keep an eye out for include cows, trucks, various street signs and bicycles.
If two people are playing, the iPad screen is split into two boards, so you play simultaneously. When you’ve finally reached bingo, the app selects the winner and shuffles though the icons to give you a new board.
The Road Trip Bingo app costs 99 cents in the iTunes App Store (a small price to pay for your sanity, right?).
[Source: Consumer Reports]