[Guest post] 5 Must Have Smartphone Apps for Your Car

With the proliferation of smart phones over the past few years, nearly everyone now has one of these versatile devices at their fingertips. One of the best features of having a smartphone handy is the ability to run apps whenever you need to. A great many of there are geared toward car owners and some of them are so helpful that they can be considered must-haves. Please remember that you shouldn’t use your phone while driving, as you will be risking an increase in your car insurance rates. Presented here are the 5 must have apps for your car.
1. Gasbuddy
The Gasbuddy app allows you to locate those nearby gas stations with the lowest prices. With the cost of gas as high as it is today and the fact that you can’t drive without it, the free Gasbuddy app should be on everyone’s phone.
When you launch Gasbuddy, you can either input a zip code for a specific location, or use your smartphone’s GPS to use your current location. Gasbuddy will then display a list of the nearest gas stations, their distance from you, and their current price for regular, midgrade, and premium gasoline as well as the price for diesel. You can sort the list by price, if you wish, and Gasbuddy includes a feature that will display a map showing the location of each station. Gasbuddy is a social app in the sense that its users form a community dedicated to finding the best prices for gas. By tapping on the displayed price in list view, you can enter and submit real-time price updates that all other Gasbuddy users can see.
But that’s not all. If you create a Gasbuddy account, you can earn points for each gas price you report into the app. Earn enough points and you can win prizes, including $250 gas cards!

2. Trapster
With the economy the way it is, many municipalities rely on the revenue generated by traffic fines as a way to generate income. As such, the police are becoming increasingly crafty as to where they place speed traps. Trapster is powered by its worldwide network of over 12.5 million users and works to protect users from those traps by displaying the locations of known traffic enforcement areas.
Trapster uses your smartphone’s GPS to display a map of the area in which you are driving. It displays the local speed limit and your current speed in icons on the left side of the display. The icon for your speed changes color as you approach or exceed the speed limit. As you travel, known speed enforcement points are displayed on the map as pin points, prompting you to check your speed before its too late. Should you encounter a speed trap that isn’t on the map, you can press the Report icon and add it to Trapster’s database of over 4.5 million speed traps, speed cameras, and police traffic signals. This is a life saver for those not only want to get out of the cost of a speeding ticket but the increase in the cost of car insurance

3. Pocket Parking Meter
One of the biggest problems with driving in many cities is in finding a place to park. When you do, you might have to pay into a parking meter for the privilege. Expired parking meters are a huge source of income for cities that use them in the form of the tickets they issue. Pocket Parking Meter allows you to set a reminder that your meter is about to expire, allowing you to return and insert more money.
Unfamiliar with the area and unsure of where you parked? No problem! Pocket Parking Meter uses your smartphone’s GPS to remember where your car is located and can give turn-by-turn directions back to it, or display it on a map. If you can’t get a GPS signal, Pocket Parking Meter features a notebook function in which you can write your cars location down and even take photos of the area.

4. Google Maps
Google maps acts as every road map you will ever need right in the palm of your hand. It opens by displaying the last map viewed, but you can easily locate your present location by pressing the bull’s-eye icon in the upper right corner of the screen. You can customize the map by adding layers of data, such as terrain, transit lines, traffic data, satellite view, etc. You can enter an address or point of interest in the Search Maps box and the app will display a map of that area. By selecting the Directions function, Google Maps will give you a turn-by-turn list of directions from either your current location or from a specific address to your destination.
Where Google Maps really shines is in its Navigation feature. When you have requested driving directions, Navigation can be activated by pressing the blue arrowhead icon. Google Maps will then give you voice prompts for upcoming turns and tell you the distance to the next turn while simultaneously tracking your location on the map. When you arrive at your destination, the app will display a photo of it so you know where exactly to go.

5. RepairPal
Breaking down by the roadside can be extremely stressful, especially if it’s something major. You may not be familiar with the area, in which case you wouldn’t know where any repair shops are located. You could be victimized by unscrupulous shop owners who take advantage of your dilemma and inflate their prices. Maybe you just need quick roadside assistance.
RepairPal maintains a database for most car models from 1990 to present. It will tell you the prices you should be paying for a given repair and can locate local shops for you, all rated for quality by other users.
RepairPal also offers one touch access to roadside assistance, should you need a tow or jump start.

Summary
By downloading these 5 apps to your smartphone, you will be able to travel with more confidence and peace of mind. When used properly, you will save money, avoid costly speeding tickets, find the best repair facilities, and never get lost again. If you drive and carry a smartphone, you owe it to yourself to get these apps. And the best part is, they’re all free!


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