The popularity of NPR’s "Car Talk" illustrates a fact even beginner mechanics know: once you tell someone that you’re a mechanic, you’re expected to diagnose that weird sound the car makes every morning. These apps won’t get you out of those cocktail party jams, but they can help you diagnose car troubles quickly, accurately and without having to go from the garage back to the office to look something up online.
Even mechanics sometimes need a refresher on how to check a car’s timing belt or replace a fuse in an older model. TuneyFish offers DIY videos on basic mechanical topics, such as changing the oil, checking all the belts, and jump starting a vehicle. Users can pause, stop, and start videos at any time. While many of the videos are geared toward the do-it-yourselfer, beginner mechanics may find some of this free app’s content useful.
ExpertVideo: Car Repair Basics
Car Repair Basics picks up where TuneyFish leaves off, using video to demonstrate topics including bleeding auto brakes, checking for battery fluid leaks, and replacing the wheel bearing, App Advice notes. The $0.99 price tag may put some mechanics off, but others may find that it can be a useful refresher in the field.
ASE study apps
Mechanics preparing for the ASE exam find the $2.99 Mechanics Exam and the free Study for ASE apps a must-have. Mechanics Exam offers 70-question multiple choice ASE practice exams that cover automatic transmission vehicles, manual drive vehicles, axles, engine repair, and other topics. Study for ASE by JamPot Technologies offers study guides and instructional videos, quizzes and other learning tools for exam-takers looking for additional preparation help. The app helps you study during commutes and breaks, in-between meetings, and other times when it would be impractical to lug your ASE study book around, so give this a try to learn on the go.
If you’re a mechanic who often has to search for o-ring sizes, this app is a must-have. Enter installation specifications in inches or metric system, then view matching sized O-rings. Now, you can order exactly the right sized o-rings to minimize the wasted time, money and effort that come with a wrong guess of size. The app uses the ISO standard 3601, so you know you can trust the information returned.
Rev records and displays real-time auto codes from the vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system. It can also fetch and reset recently displayed “Check Engine” light codes. Not only might the app be useful for mechanics, it can be very helpful when working with those customers who have intermittent auto problems. Simply ask them to download Rev, which won the 2009 Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award, have them use the app, and then review the app for information that can help you troubleshoot their car problems.
Mechanics may find this app, which lists car recalls, a useful tool for helping to keep customers aware of safety recalls. Use the app yourself to provide better customer service, or recommend it to your service manager, who can suggest customers download it themselves and receive automatic recall notifications.
Guest Blogger: Tommy Calloway. Tommy is a writer and car enthusiast from California who loves tinkering with his old Chevy and working as a part-time mechanic.