A Mechanic on Your iPhone!
Anyone who has ever has ever had a malfunction in their car can tell you: repairs can be costly and time consuming. Taking care of your car can help keep maintenance costs down but if you are like most of us you often don’t know where to begin when it comes to keeping up with your car’s maintenance.
Enter The Engine Tester, a new app for the iPhone that listens to the noise of your exhaust and tells you if the engine likely has a problem or not. The application is clearly designed to help people without any particular mechanical savvy take care of their engine and bring it to a trusted mechanic when something is wrong before something much worse––and much more expensive––breaks down. What it does, it does well. Words of warning: this is by no means an app that can replace or even necessarily reduce the number of visits you make to a certified mechanic. What it can do is help you keep those visits quick, cheap, and painless.
This app is a simple one, and the interface is equally simple. To test your engine, you simply enter some info about your car (make, model, year, gas or diesel, etc.) and then idle the engine in park. With the engine still running, simply walk to the exhaust pipe and hold the iPhone near the exhaust. After ten seconds or so the app will give you a simple verdict on your engine: Positive or Negative. You can potentially catch a problem early if you take your car to a mechanic to get it checked out after a ‘Negative’, saving money with a simple repair instead of postponing until your car is completely out of commission. If the test results are positive, you get to save another annoying trip to the mechanic’s garage.
While this app is billed as a simple test for your engine, another feature makes it even handier to have around. Beyond just engine testing, the app also comes with a checklist of the standard things to check for on a car. This can be very useful if you would like to take better care of your car but do not know exactly where to begin. It even contains limited information about what to look for and where to look, proving itself invaluable to the amateur yet again. This list alone can save almost as much headache as the headlining feature of this app.
The Engine Tester does a good job of checking the engine, and the built in checklist can help with other maintenance tasks, but it cannot do it all. Since the test is sound-based, results could be altered by surrounding noise, though its hard to tell how much of a factor this could be. Also, since it only tests the engine of your car, failures could occur elsewhere without your knowledge. The brakes, for example, are one area of your car where this app cannot help you.
The Engine Tester is a handy little tool to keep your car in working order, but it cannot diagnose many of the potential failures a car could encounter. However, with its cheap price tag of 99 cents it could easily prove itself a huge cost-saver in the long run. When you consider how cheap the app is, and how expensive and costly engine failures can become, the app quickly shows how valuable it could be.