There are a lot of ways to spend money on your car. From filling up the tank to unexpected repairs there seems to be an expense around every corner. Application developers know this, and have stepped up with apps designed to reduce the cost of driving. Most of the products are free or promise to pay for themselves in no time. (For additional reading, refer to Ways To Save Money At The Pump.)
IN PICTURES: Top 5 Money-Saving Tips For Your Car
1. Carticipate by Carticipate, Inc. - Free
Share the ride with this social experiment application that is good for the environment and your wallet. The app is a tool for organizing carpools between friends, families, co-workers and other groups that can save gas and reduce your carbon footprint. Users post their starting and ending location to find others who are going their way. The app is available for the iPhone and on Facebook in several languages including English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish and Turkish.
2. Trapster by Trapster.com - Free
Have speeding tickets taken a bite out of your bank account? You could slow down, or you could get Trapster. The application issues alerts for speed traps and other potential problems such as red light cameras, police check points, accidents and roadway hazards. Drivers can enter known enforcement points on the GPS powered map to create a database for all users. As more users report the same trap, it gains more credibility in the system. Trapster can be downloaded for the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and GPS devices such as Gramin and Tom Tom.
3. Repair Pal by Repair Pal, Inc. - Free
This highly rated app gives drivers peace of mind when dealing with auto repairs. Users can compare service estimates and shop and dealership ratings to find the best value. There is also expert advice from certified mechanics. Repair Pal can also give keep track of when your car is due for an oil change or other routine maintenance. Repair Pal has partnerships with AOL Autos, US News and World Reports and other media outlets. The Android, iPhone and mobile web app has received accolades from The New York Times and iTunes. (Driving is often the most convenient way to get around, but it'll cost you. Check out The True Cost Of Owning A Car.)
4. TripAlyzer by Surich Technologies, Inc. - $5.99
The application monitors your driving habits to see where you could save money by being more efficient. It tracks mileage, fuel usage and CO2 emissions for each trip. The app's developers say their product, which reports driving speed, rate of acceleration, total idle time and number of stops, can help users save 20-30% on fuel expenses. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
5. Gas Buddy by Gas Buddy Organization, Inc. - Free
Fuel is expensive everywhere, but you might be able to save a few pennies on the gallon with this application. Gas Buddy helps users find the cheapest gas prices in their area and sorts by premium, regular, midgrade and diesel. The app, which is available for iPhone, Android and Windows phones, stays updated through user reports. The developers give away a $250 gas card each week to reward those who submit the most gas prices to the community.
6. Open Spot by Google - Free
Circling the block looking for a place to park is a drain on gas, and if you have to pay a meter or take a spot in a parking garage the price can add up fast. The Open Spot app aims to help users find free parking spots in short order. When someone leaves a parking spot they mark it as available and those looking for parking in the same area will get an alert. The app organizes parking spots with colored pins that indicate freshly marked spots (red), spots marked 5 minutes ago (orange) and spots marked 10 minutes ago (yellow). Open spot is available for Android 2.0 in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands.
IN PICTURES: 8 Steps To An Organized Financial Life
The Bottom Line
A growing number of smartphone applications are designed to help users save money on a wide range of expenses that are acquired behind the wheel. (Find out tips that'll save the haggling and get you the best price on a new car. Check out How To Get The Best Price On A New Car.)