The Automatic Car Dongle: Diagnostic Info in Your Phone

TL;DR

2 years ago, I purchased the 2nd generation Automatic for $90. It saved my bacon again today with its “check engine” light diagnostic prowess.

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Automatic, Friend of Alexa and Vehicle Diagnostic Champ

The full name: Automatic: Connected Car Adapter, Engine Diagnostics, And Crash Detection, Compatible with Amazon Echo by Automatic, as listed by Amazon.

What’s the thrill?

Through the decades, precious few electronic devices earned this declaration: I have yet to encounter a glitch with this product! Automatic presents the modern just works experience.

1️⃣ Compatibility with iOS and Android Smartphones

Self-protection from car mechanics, with bulging dollar-sign retinas, should not exclude a huge group of consumers. If you have one foot planted in the land of iPhones, but jump ship to an Android—or vice versa—the device remains fully functional. It relies on both Bluetooth and an app to perform its magic.

2️⃣ Interpreting a Check engine light.

I love hubby, but boyfriend once changed the oil by stripping the transmission fluid. (Note: at the time, my car was barely 7 months old.) Since that day, procrastination remains a stranger within the context of fix the car situations. My speed mimics Carl Lewis, shielding me against he who has no clue that he has no clue. Hub’s countless fine qualities include nadda about cars. Period.

Automatic car dongle: screenshots
Automatic car dongle: screenshots

Repair bills dwindled in the wake of this purchase. A Check engine light no longer alarms. Rather, I pick up my iPhone, open the Automatic app, tap in the upper left corner’s alert badge, screenshot the precise diagnostic code, then google it. In this instances, tightening the gas cap cured the ill.

3️⃣ Automatic has an IFTTT Channel.

IFTTT converts you into an e-minister, empowered to arrange a shotgun marriage between two services. Requisites: your account at each service; an IFTTT channel per service. Cost: free.

You can choose among the dozens of pre-configured applets (tech speak for the marriage earlier mentioned), or create your own. One applet tosses a Google Maps image of each of my destinations into a certain Google Drive folder. A second tosses all mileage specifics, per trip, into DayOne, an iOS journaling app.

A third duplicates the mileage info, copying it to OneNote. Self-employed folks comprehend the crucial nature of mileage logs. The days of scribbling info before moving the gear shift from Park to drive live only in the past.

4️⃣ Yo, Alexa, ask Automatic “what’s my fuel level”.

SpouseDude insisted he “had” to buy a truck. Done. Yet he seems to favor my ragtop sports car. My regular pleasant personality has been known to fizzle to a sizzle on rare occasions, such as being greeted with a near-empty fuel tank when I turn the ignition switch.

Automatic precludes the irritation. A day or so prior to a scheduled trip, I ask Alexa for info about my fuel level. She responds in plain-English. I learn, in advance, whether to allow time for a fill-up.

5️⃣ The Little Doohickey’s Track Record Shouts Reliability.

The thing works! Consistently!! I enter my car, and the iPhone app connects with the Automatic dongle, attached to the OBD port (OnBoard Diagnostics) all vehicles since the late ’90s), via Bluetooth. It’s one of those ultra-rare plug-it-in-&-forget-it tech devices. It ain’t broke, so I continue to ignore the newer Automatic Pro iteration.

The 3rd gen Iteration: Automatic Pro

Automatic Pro adds forever-free 3G— empowering the dongle to always toss info to its mother site, rather than relying exclusively upon your iPhone’s Bluetooth connection. Translation: you will always know the precise location of your car. I suspect additional features may be involved, but the always-connect feature jumped out at me.

WrapUp

If you’d like automated mileage logs, this baby belongs on your seriously consider list. Likewise, learning what triggered the check engine light personifies ease.

No affiliate links grace this page. Only my status as a profoundly satisfied customer serves as motivation for this post.

 

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