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Turn your ride into a smart car with this incredible app

Turn your ride into a smart car with this incredible app
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Whether your car is brand new or has been with you for over a hundred thousand miles, maintenance and upkeep is a must. But keeping tabs on your car's performance has always been a hassle. Until now.

Technology these days is getting a lot smarter. We have smartphones, smartwatches, smart TVs and even smart lightbulbs. So doesn't it make sense that the next move forward should be the smart car?

Research is already underway for driverless cars and even cars that will be driven using mind control, but technology like this is still a long way off. But the good news is that if you drive a car built after 1996, you can turn it into a smart car with the Dash app and plug-in. It's like your car's very own FitBit.

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The app itself is free for both Android and iPhone users. But before the app does any good, you will need to purchase one of the onboard diagnostic devices, which are typically around $60-$150. Dash pairs VinLi, OBDLink LX, XTool and other brands of diagnostic plug-ins. However, the brand it recommends most is called CellAssist.

Once you have your diagnostic device, plug it in to your car's OBD port and sync it to the Dash app. You'll be prompted through a quick setup on the app, but after that the device will be ready to start recording.

Tip: The OBD port is typically found beneath the steering wheel, down to the left of where the brake is.

Once synced, Dash will keep tabs on your car and send you alerts to notify you of any urgent maintenance needs. It will also decode the cause of any "check engine" lights that come on. Beyond that, Dash also helps you to drive safer and smarter. Pull up full reports of past trips to get feedback on your driving efficiency and how you can improve. And, if you're ever in an accident, Dash can help you notify emergency responders and tell them your exact location.

With good driving you can also boost your "dash score." The higher the number, the better driver you are, and with higher scores you can win rewards. This is one of the reasons that Dash is quickly being adopted by the trucking industry.

Probably one of the best features about Dash is its ability to connect with other apps that you already use on your smartphone. The app can connect with Google Docs and Evernote to record each data report. It can also connect with social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, so you can post your driving score to your wall, or Tweet to let people know you're on the road. Based on the preferences you set in these apps, Dash can trigger them whenever you complete a new trip, drive through a particular area, turn your car on or off, etc.

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