There are just some moments in life where you’re sitting there clicking through channels on the TV set on a Saturday morning and stop for an instant on those paid-programming advertisements infomercials and realize, “Wow.” Okay, really, honestly, that almost never happens. And in the one or two times in my life when I’ve actually responded–like ordering that foldout deal that looks like a cool carrying bag, that I’ve actually ordered something–Two for $19.99! (I don’t recommend them.)
Many thanks to Eric Huang from CarMD who sent me one of their very cool gizmos to review. Honestly, from the instant they got their elevator pitch said in the infomercial, plus the visual of what this product does, I was a fan. A big fan.
CarMD And The Computer Hookup On Your Car
So what is CarMD? Well, how many times have you had a check engine light or a readout come up on the dash of your car saying it’s time to “change the oil, tire pressure is low, or please stop the car, it’s about to blow up?” Cars made in America since 1996 have been required by the federal government to have a docking station, which usually is located under your steering column, where when you take the car to a mechanic, they plug into this machine and know instantly what’s wrong with your car.
The first time this ever happened to me was back in the late ’90s in Montgomery, Alabama. The guys at “Expert-Screw” hooked me up to their read out machine for a cool $85 assessment. When I okayed them to fix whatever was wrong with the car, (which didn’t cost $85) they took some of that off the total bill, but it was still enough to make me feel sick to my stomach.
Now since then, I think most shops have cut the price of this down. Indeed, when the mechanic I use for my 2004 Chrysler Sebring convertible checked it the last time I had a light on, he checked it for free and then reset it. It’s been more than a year and even though at the time it was saying I needed to replace my thermostat, knock on wood, I still haven’t had to.
CarMD Does The Same Reading And More
So why was I amazed when I saw CarMd? Simple. With this gadget, before I even go to a mechanic, I can hook it up to my car and do my own check. Once completed doing the analysis of my car, it shows me via buttons green, yellow and red, if my car needs attention and the gravity of the situation. Once completed, I also can bring the gadget into the house, hook it up to the USB port here on the Mac, and it will download it’s findings. The program then runs an online analysis and it spits out a report of what’s wrong with the car and just as importantly, tells me a ballpark figure for what we’re talking about it costing to repair.
This is ideal for circumstances when you wind up with a mechanic from or currently working for “Expert Screw.” Their whole business model is to sell, sell, sell while they’re fixing your car. That’s how dealerships make their money. It’s not off the sale of your car. Well, they make a little, but the bulk of their money gets made from you being responsible and bringing it back in every time it goes around two city blocks for an oil change, tire rotation, etc., etc, so they can give your car the once over and tell you that even though your hoses are pretty much brand new, for the price of an arm and two fingers, they can go ahead and change them now.
Now CarMD isn’t going to tell you about your hoses, etc. but for the price of $119.95, you can have a little insurance policy for the next time you have to take your car in and know beforehand if your mechanic is shooting straight with you or trying to sell you a new car.
This is a unit I want to have whether I have a brand new car or an older model car. My former Nissan Armada always had a check tire light on and it was annoying as hell.
I’m going to do a video in the next few days to show how well this cool gadget works and I’ll make sure it’s well highlighted when it posts. But for now, I really wanted to write a heart-felt review and encourage you to check them out on CarMD.com. This is an infomercial product worth having.
(The ironic part of trying to do this video report is that my car is actually working! I’m working on hooking it up to a couple of cars I know are having issues. When I hooked it up to my car, I got a green light!)
- Shortcuts: Who’s Best for Your Car, Dealer or Independent? (nytimes.com)
- Best Cars Of 2010 (mademan.com)
- Dealership or Stealership? Parts & Service Edition (ridelust.com)
- Check Engine light really off? (ask.metafilter.com)