The Best Car Apps for Consumers
October 27, 2021
There is an app for almost everything that a consumer might want. Car manufacturers also offer their own car apps for consumers.
In addition to pursuing what every major brand might offer, there also are car apps to help consumers shop for a new vehicle, navigate the road, find inexpensive gas…and more. Here are the best car apps for whatever a driver might need on the road, when relaxing at home or even when they are traveling off the beaten path!
The Best Car Apps for Shopping
Shopping for a new car is a process for many buyers. In fact, the Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey Study: Pandemic Edition detailed that, on average, buyers spend more than 13 hours buying that car…but more than seven hours was spent online shopping…and researching.
Using apps can help navigate the shopping journey and help consumers research and find the car they want to purchase. Apps from manufacturers are often free and allow buyers to peruse new models at their convenience.
Websites like RelayCars let consumers research their favorite models via augmented reality. Drop a car in the real-world environment and explore it inside and out! RelayCars even lets consumers view the vehicle in all the model’s available paint hues.
Augmented reality and virtual reality showroom apps can help buyers preview different cars without traveling to the dealership. If apps are advertised as augmented reality, the camera will be used to project the real environment and show where the user wants the graphic element to be dropped.
Virtual reality car apps don’t necessarily require a headset, although some might. Instead, many virtual reality apps might just show the cars in a virtual environment within the app. Users might select a car that they want to preview in the virtual showroom; like augmented reality apps, virtual reality apps might let users see inside the car and/or change paint colors. However, many manufacturers often use augmented reality for these types of preview experiences.
Looking for how much a vehicle is worth or other specs? Kelley Blue Book offers its own app via the App Store or Google Play for convenient, on-the-go research. Find details on any car!
Car Apps for Owners
Apps can be tailored for owners to help them navigate their vehicle or to even receive updates about the mechanics of their vehicle. Manufacturers often offer personalized apps to car owners. General Motors brands (like Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac), BMW, Kia, Toyota, Honda and many other manufacturers offer apps!
Apps might link to the vehicle to allow owners to view data related to diagnostics; apps also could allow owners to remotely access other info, too.
Car Apps to Find Cheap Gas
Gas and fuel prices might be on the rise. However, consumers can use apps to help them find the cheapest gas nearby. Try these apps to make the hunt for inexpensive fuel much less of a drive:
- GasBuddy (available for Apple and Android devices!)
- Gas Guru (available for Apple and Android)
- Cheap Gas Anyplace
For consumers who have rewards for a specific fuel station or to even pay for gas via a mobile device, download apps for BP, Circle K, Speedway, Chevron, Shell, Sunoco and more. Search for a favorite brand or filling station on Google Play or on the App Store.
Car Apps for Rentals and Rideshares
Car in the shop? Heading on vacation and need a rental for the week? There are apps for the major car rental companies to help secure that rental. Consumers can download Hertz, Enterprise, Expedia and more.
Don’t want to pay for a rental? Download Uber or Lyft to hail an email service!
Car Apps for Navigation
Not all car owners have a brand new vehicle or a more recent vehicle that is equipped with an infotainment system that connects to smartphones. Some are driving older vehicles without this data.
However, those who own a smartphone can buy an adapter that plugs into an older vehicle. This can mean that drivers could access convenient apps to aid their navigation. While they might not have a convenient screen to see GPS data, they can still use apps that can help them navigate via their drive…or just alert them to any issues up ahead.
For help getting to an unfamiliar destination or for other traffic information, try these apps:
- Waze (available for Apple and Android)
- Sygic GPS Navigation (available for Apple and Android)
- GPS Live Navigation (also available for Apple and Android)
In addition, local state Departments of Transportation also could offer apps that show accidents, road closures and more. These apps could be beneficial when traveling in inclement weather.
Car Apps for Locating a Parked Car
Parking lots can be a zoo. When parking at major attractions like theme parks, resorts, massive shopping centers and concert venues, drivers might be in a hurry to get to their event causing them to not pay attention to where they parked.
Once they leave their venue, they might be absolutely stumped as to where their car is located. Some drivers might just have more difficulty remembering their surroundings than others, and they might be accustomed to losing track of their parking spot.
Thankfully, there are apps to help locate a missing vehicle. Car owners can search for apps like ParkGo, Find My Parked Car (aptly named!), and Find My Car. There are many different options available via both Google Play and the App Store.
In addition, car owners might be able to locate their vehicle via OnStar or another service.
Augmented Reality Car Apps for Fun
Not all car apps are focused on consumer needs—like finding gas, shopping or even getting directions. Searching for car apps also can bring up fun experiences like augmented reality or even racing games.
Using the Google app, consumers can hunt for augmented reality vehicles thanks to Google Search AR. A full list of augmented reality vehicles isn’t published by Google, and Google Search AR also includes anime characters like Hello Kitty, animals and even bugs (like the ladybug!). Augmented reality features on Google Search are a bit of a thrilling hunt…there’s no telling what might be uncovered!
Vehicles (and other objects) via Google Search AR can be viewed in the user’s real-life environment. Drop a vehicle into the backyard or on the porch. See how it looks in the garage. These interactive and immersive tools can be used for fun…or to help consumers check out the car before going into the dealership.
Car apps also can be fantasy-based—like racing games. Check out AR Race Car or Lightstream Racer (available on Apple’s App Store) for augmented reality racing! The app AR Toys: Playground lets users control remote controlled cars and create their own experience.
Not interested in augmented reality? The race experience expands widely. There are many different car apps focused on racing; these range from popular apps like Mario Kart to races and apps aimed at adults.
As with many game apps, some might be free while others come with a cost. Even free apps, though, might offer in-app purchases. Adults who know that snagging extras in the game will charge their account might know to be mindful, but children might not understand that those clicks could rack up some unexpected charges for parents. Turn off in-app purchases if kids are playing!
Car Apps for Auto Parts
Some car owners might be completely fine with a few easy DIY repairs like changing out wiper blades or replacing a headlight. Car owners, though, also might need a little touch up paint (for tiny rock dings on the hood), new floor mats or other basic accessories.
Shop auto parts and accessories via car apps from Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, and NAPA Auto Parts. All three major auto parts store apps are available via both the App Store and Google Play.
Car Apps for Practicing for the Written Test and State DMV Apps
Car owners with teens who want to get their permit can find apps to help them practice their driving and road safety knowledge. Try apps like DMV Permit Practice DMV Driving Test Driver Start and others.
For already licensed drivers, some states offer apps for their DMV. For example, the California Department of Motor Vehicles helps users find their local office, test their knowledge with practice tests, and even renew vehicle registration.
While not all states offer an app, a quick search via Google Play or the App Store can help drivers figure out if their state has an app for their DMV needs.
Car Apps Galore!
Car owners can find car apps for almost any need. It’s nearly impossible to hunt down every car app for Android and Apple devices. There are car apps to find gas, to practice written tests for a new driver permit, to find auto parts, to help with navigation…and of course, there are car apps that are just for fun.