It’s no secret that owning a car costs you a lot of time and money. In between vehicle maintenance expenses, you have to pay high gas prices and parking fees. If you’re really unlucky, you might even have to shell out some cash for traffic violations, accidents, and car rentals.
After all this damage to your bank account, you need to catch a break. Fortunately, these thrifty Android apps can help you cut down on some of the costly expenses that come with owning a car.
Do you ever wish that you had a pocket-sized mechanic? Torque is the mini diagnostic tool you’ve been looking for. To get started, you’ll need an OBD2 sensor with Bluetooth capabilities. If you don’t have one, this BAFX OBDII scanner is a suitable choice.
When the “Check Engine” light comes on in your car, you don’t need to schedule an appointment with the mechanic right away. Plugging your OBD2 sensor into your car’s port should automatically sync it to Torque. The app will pull the data to tell you exactly what’s wrong with your car so you can try to fix it yourself and save money.
Not only does Torque Lite show fault codes, but it can also measure your car’s performance. Check your gas mileage, engine performance, and customize the app’s display to show specific gauges. If you want even more features, you can opt to upgrade to Torque Pro—the paid version of the app can measure turbo boost, horsepower, torque, and more.
After a night out in New York City, you walk back to your car, only to find a little slip of paper tucked in-between your windshield wipers. As you unfold it, you realize you’ve just been ticketed. In the case that you do get a parking ticket, you should know that there’s an app to fight against it.
WinIt specializes in disputing NYC parking tickets. Simply upload a picture of your parking ticket to the app or search for tickets associated with your license plate. Once you submit your ticket, you can add any evidence, and WinIt will do the rest. If you win your case, WinIt will charge you half the price that you would’ve paid for the ticket.
Download: WinIt (Free)
It seems like gas prices are always on the rise. Keep track of which stops have the lowest prices with GasBuddy. Enter your location and the type of gas you use, and GasBuddy will find gas stations with the cheapest prices in your area. You can even filter your results by which gas stations have restrooms, fast food, and car washes. GasBuddy always has your back, as it will let you know whenever a price increase is imminent.
GasBuddy isn’t limited to finding you the best gas prices—it can also detect the motion of your car and determine if your driving habits are wasting your gas. You can also enter the make and model of your car to view any recalls.
Download: GasBuddy (Free)
Instead of driving your car to work every day and wasting gas in traffic, why not carpool with a coworker or neighbor a few days per week? Type in your work location and Scoop will find local carpoolers that have the same daily schedule. The more people who carpool together, the better—all members of the carpool will split the cost, saving you money in the long run.
Unfortunately, Scoop isn’t available in every area just yet. You’ll have to input your home location and work destination to figure out if there are any Scoop users near you.
Download: Scoop (Free)
If you own an older car, you probably wish that you had the same Bluetooth touchscreen infotainment systems that new cars come with. Download Drivemode on your phone, and you won’t have to spend extra cash on a new Bluetooth system. Instead, you can have the same handsfree calling and texting experience just by using your phone.
After picking out the best car phone holder for your device, mount your phone and open up Drivemode. With a simple voice command, you can send text messages, call friends, play music, and access your GPS.
If you don’t want to accept any calls or texts while on the road, you can always use the app’s “Do Not Disturb” feature. Not only will this app save you money on pricey car electronics, but it will also keep you from tickets you might get from driving while talking on the phone.
Download: Drivemode (Free, in-app purchases available)
Let’s say your car breaks down and it’s in the shop for a few days, but you don’t have another car to get you around town. In this case, you’ll probably opt for a rental car from a travel website. However, that’s not the most financially prudent decision.
Don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a typical rental car—find a car through the Turo app instead. Once you access the app, you’ll find dozens of cars that everyday people rent out. Better yet, the prices are much more reasonable than a rental company. Turo is a great way to make some cash as well—rent out your car to local vacationers and get paid.
Download: Turo (Free)
When you don’t plan out your parking situation during your visit to a major city, you’ll usually be stuck paying a hefty parking fee in a non-ideal location. With SpotHero, you don’t have to circle around the city to search for the perfect parking spot.
SpotHero lets you pick your parking spot in advance, which means cheaper prices. Simply enter the location you’re headed to, along with the times you’ll need parking for. The app will then display a map with all the available parking spots and their prices. Pay for parking right from the app, and skip the line at the parking garage.
Download: SpotHero (Free)
Spend Less, Drive More
Owning a car doesn’t have to be so expensive after all. When you have the right apps, you can save money on gas, parking, and even a trip to the mechanic.
You can save even more money on car electronics when you create your own. Check out these smart DIY projects to update your old car.