Can A Smartphone App Diagnose Your Ailing Car?

With Tom and Ray Magliozzi, hosts of NPR’s “Car Talk,” hanging up their coveralls and retiring from the radio this fall, there will be a serious void in car diagnostics for ordinary people. We will no longer be able to imitate (very poorly) the sounds that our cars make and get help over the air. So where can we turn now, short of visiting an actual mechanic? Our colleagues a few parking spaces away at Consumer Reports Cars discovered and tested a free Android and iOS app called Car Trouble that supposedly helps diagnose, well, car trouble. Is it of any use? Yes and no.

It’s not that the app isn’t nice-looking and easy to navigate. It is, apart from a white-on-gray background that can be difficult to read. The main problem, they note, is that the app is targeted at laypeople, but assumes that the user has skills that most non-gearheads don’t. It also stops short at times, not explaining what the user should actually do once a diagnosis has been reached, or info on whether or not your car is safe to drive.

Car Trouble app helps identify mystery noises and other problems [Consumer Reports Cars]
Car Trouble [iTunes App Store]
Car Trouble [Google Play]

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