Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024


Android has many apps that can improve your daily commute or help prepare for a road trip. I’m not talking about Google Maps or Android Auto, either. Instead, we have a helpful collection of apps for better navigation, car maintenance tracking, ways to save on gasoline or charging, and much more.



Waze

Waze is a car app you’ve probably heard of before but maybe haven’t tried yet. It’s the best navigation app for Android that’ll give you simple directions, help you avoid closures or traffic, warn you about road hazards, and even alert you about a speed trap or police ahead. Waze has saved me from countless speeding tickets and getting stuck in traffic jams. It’s so good that I ditched Google Maps for Waze entirely.

Additionally, if you enjoy going off the beaten path or to remote locations, you’ll also want to try the app onX Offroad.

Download: Waze (free)

GasBuddy

GasBuddy app logo.
GasBuddy

Everything is more expensive these days, and that includes gasoline. If you want to take your paycheck further, the GasBuddy app uses online and crowdsourced user data to find the best gas prices. It’ll show you a map of all the nearby gas stations so you can choose the retailer and price that you’d prefer. It’s perfect for road trips or around town.

Better yet, GasBuddy gives you a little community to join where you can tell the app about price changes, earn rewards, and sign up for the GasBuddy card for discounts on each fill-up. You can even set what type of car you drive to find Premium or Diesel fuel, not to mention car recall alerts and more.

Download: GasBuddy (free)

A Better Routeplanner (EVs)

Screenshots showing the A Better Route Planner EV app.
ABRP

If you drive an electric car, there are several EV charging apps you’ll want to download. And while apps like PlugShare and ChargeHub will show you nearby charging locations, the app A Better Routeplanner (ABRP) takes things up a notch. As the name suggests, it combines Google Maps, EV charging locations, and navigation info into one app.

With A Better Routeplanner, you can choose optimal or ideal routes for improved electric range, find a route to chargers along the way, and enjoy the drive instead of dealing with range anxiety.

Download: A Better Routeplanner (ABRP) (free)

Weather & Radar

Woman holding a phone showing the Weather and Radar app.
Weather & Radar

I know we all have weather apps preinstalled on our phones, but having more information is always welcome when it comes to road trips. Last year, I tried an app called Weather & Radar, and it’s now my go-to weather app for traveling. This goes for air travel, driving, and more.

Weather & Radar gives you up-to-date and accurate weather information, alerts, storm warnings, tracks rain and fog, and has an excellent radar view, so you can see if you’re headed into a storm. It does a little of everything and even works with Android Auto. Give it a try, and you’ll be glad you did.

Download: Weather & Radar (free, premium ad-free option with more features)

Drivvo

Maintenance is an essential part of car ownership that many people overlook or have difficulty keeping up with. If that sounds familiar, you’ll absolutely love the Drivvo app. It’s hands down one of the best car maintenance apps for Android. Better yet, besides helping you track or stay on top of maintenance, it’s an excellent app for tracking expenses for gas, repairs, and more. You can input mileage, gas mileage, and set reminders for that pesky oil change and tire rotation.

If you want a management app for your car, truck, bus, or even an entire fleet of work trucks, consider Drivvo. A similar option with more focus on gas is available, too, called Fuelio.

Download: Drivvo (free, optional in-app purchases)

ParkMobile

ParkMobile app and logo.
ParkMobile

Want an easier and smarter way to find and pay for parking? The ParkMobile app will help you find parking lots, dedicated street parking, or garages with ease. Then, you can navigate to the location and park, reserve a spot ahead of time if necessary, and even pay for parking.

Once you park and pay, the app will even help track how long you’re gone in case you exceed the allotted time, making it easier to extend parking and prevent getting a ticket. It’s great for sporting events, concerts, or traveling out of town. It’ll even show you where you parked.

For what it’s worth, there are similar apps for parking (or finding your car after the big event) such as SpotHero or SpotAngels, and any of these are worth downloading on Android.

Download: ParkMobile (free, with paid parking options)

Car Insurance Apps for Android

Screenshots of the Geico app and its features.
Geico

Almost every major auto insurance company has a dedicated mobile app that you should download for a multitude of reasons. For starters, you’ll always have proof of insurance, as that’s a key feature for most car insurance apps. You can also make policy changes, pay your bill, get roadside assistance, or easily submit a claim if an unfortunate accident happens.

For example, the State Farm app gives accident safety tips, tells you not to admit fault (of course it does), and says to quickly take photos of the scene, situation, and vehicle damage. From there, you can contact a rep, file a claim, check the claim status, and more. I know we all have a paper insurance card in the glove box, but in these modern times, you’ll want to download your car insurance company’s app and be ready for anything.

Download: State Farm, AAA, Allstate, GEICO, Progressive (free, dependent on your insurance)

CARFAX Car Care

Screenshots of the myCARFAX Android app.
CARFAX

Speaking of accidents and insurance, another Android car app you’ll want to consider is CARFAX Car Care. It’s a car management app similar to Drivvo, only from a name many already know and trust. Instead of simply tracking maintenance and such, it’ll let you know about any repairs before ownership or during, track progress, alert you about recalls or yearly registration renewal, and more.

The CARFAX Car Care app is also an easy way to check your vehicle’s value and maintenance records before selling it, find reputable repair shops nearby, and track general maintenance and car care.

Download: CARFAX Car Care (free)

Spotify

Spotify logo
Corbin Davenport / Spotify

There’s nothing better than jamming out to some tunes while cruising down the highway on a vacation road trip. I’m pretty sure most of you already have a music app or two, but if it’s not installed on Android Auto, it should be. By downloading Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, or other music apps to Android Auto, you’ll get a far better in-car experience.

Not only will you be able to easily see and control music from the infotainment center or steering wheel, but it’ll help keep your eyes on the road instead of looking down at your phone. Spotify also has a growing selection of podcasts, free audiobooks, family plans, and more to get you the most value.

Download: Spotify (free, or $10.99 per month)

Torque Pro

Torque Pro app logo.
Torque Pro

If you’re mechanically inclined or enjoy doing things yourself, Torque Pro is an excellent Android app that every car owner needs to have. You’ll need an OBD (on-board diagnostics) dongle, which makes any car smarter by accessing the OBD-2 port of the vehicle.

Once you connect the OBD-2 dongle over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, Torque Pro can communicate with your vehicle to scan for codes and issues and even tell you why you have a check engine light. You can read all sorts of data, get real-time stats from the gauges, check emissions, clear codes, and read any other sensors and systems inside a vehicle. I’ve used this app for more than five years and absolutely love it.

Download: Torque Pro (free, or $4.95)

Pocket Casts

Pocket Casts features shown in screenshots.
Pocket Casts

These days, everyone seems to love listening to podcasts or tuning into the latest true-crime series. If that’s you, you’ll want a podcast app that pairs with your vehicle or works with Android Auto. Pocket Casts is one of the most popular apps because it has a slew of options, features, and endless content, so you can forget that you’re on a long road trip.

The hand-curated podcast lists, recommendations, and discovery feeds make it an excellent choice. Additionally, check out an app called Libby (previously known as OverDrive), which has millions of free audiobooks from your local library to enjoy on your travels.

Download: Pocket Casts (free, in-app purchases, or $39.99 yearly plan)

Car Manufacturer Apps

Last but certainly not least, you’ll want to take advantage of the powerful car apps that act as a companion for your new vehicle. Most manufacturers now offer their own car apps that are extremely useful.

Automobiles are smarter than ever, and if you have a relatively modern vehicle, the manufacturer’s car app will let you remote start the engine, unlock doors from almost any distance, remote climate control, access diagnostics, accept and install over-the-air (OTA) software updates, schedule service or maintenance appointments, get notified about recalls, etc.

Download: myChevrolet, FordPass, OnStar Guardian, Kia Access, MyHyundai, Toyota (free; some features require yearly subscriptions)


As a reminder, practice the “safety first” rule. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. You can use these apps safely when you’re parked or riding as a passenger. Alternatively, add them to Android Auto so you can access them from the driver’s seat.



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By John P.

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