All modern vehicles – or at least the ones that were manufactured after the mid 90’s – come equipped with an OBD (On Board Diagnostic) system that helps mechanics or DIY enthusiasts troubleshoot certain issues in case something goes wrong. The OBD carries information related to your car’s various sensors, engine performance, brakes condition, wear and tear, and so on, making it easier for your car repair guy to look at the right place when something breaks. The New York-based startup, Dash, has launched a new Android app that will help you retrieve this information on your own by linking the OBD system of your car with your smartphone or tablet via specialized hardware for connecting your phone to the OBD.
Founded by Brian Langel and Jamyn Edis, Dash aims to save you from hefty car repair bills by letting you keeping track of your car’s performance yourself in the simplest of ways. Don’t fret, you won’t even need to pop up the hood.
Dash’s working basically involves an OBD connector device that plugs into a port near your car’s dashboard, usually under the steering wheel. While many cheap OBD dongles can be purchased online from Amazon for around $10, Dash also offers the premium OBD LINK LX that comes equipped with built-in Bluetooth for pairing it with your phone, along with some additional highly useful features.
The app will also work with most OBD devices, but having OBD LINK LX will give you the upper hand due to better power management capabilities, build quality and connection reliability with the OBD systems of most cars.
When it comes to the app itself, it sports a clean and decent interface. When launched, it asks you to register an account with the service either via email or by quickly linking your Facebook account with it. Either way, you’re taken to an instructions screen where you can learn more about how Dash works, or where to locate the ODB port on your car. You’re also asked to enter your vehicle’s information such as make, model, year, engine type etc.
Once on the home screen you can do all kinds of different stuff such as adding more cars, locating your car on the map, tracking nearby gas stations and your trips, keeping an eye on your gas consumption, and finding more information about what that ‘Check Engine’ light is telling you.
Unfortunately, my current vehicle doesn’t support an OBD port – call me a vintage collector – but according to the folks at Dash, the app, when successfully linked to an OBD port via Bluetooth, should tell you all kinds of vehicle related performance details from the car’s computer.
Dash is currently only available for Android devices, but an iOS version is already in the making and will become available soon. You can download the Android version via the link below.