Monitor (and improve) your car's performance

If you're looking to monitor your car's performance or simply repair it yourself, you've come to the right place. We've found some apps that will help you do just that.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Summer road trips are in full swing. But before you set out for your vacation, you'll need to remember to keep your car in good shape. If you're mechanically inclined, you might be able to do that yourself. If not, check out some of these services that can help you out.

Car services

2CarPros 2CarPros might look like a simple question-and-answer site at first glance, but with some digging, you'll find it to be one of the most informative sites in this roundup.

Once you get to 2CarPros, you can immediately start sifting through the site's huge database of car repair information. Everything from an oil change to refurbishing an engine is included in its database. If you want to ask the Pros questions, you'll need to sign up for the site. But if you want to the most value, 2CarPros has a videos section, providing several clips on how to repair your vehicle. It's a really informative site.

2CarPros is for the person wanting some DIY repair help. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

DriverSide If you're looking to find out when you should be performing routine repairs on your car, DriverSide is the place to go.

Once you get to the site, you'll need to input the kind of car you own. From there, the service will estimate its value, tell you when you'll need to get its oil changed, and list all the other service you need to have done at certain times throughout the car's lifespan. If you can't do the work yourself, DriverSide even tells you where to find a mechanic near you. It's a neat site.

DriverSide tells you what to do with your car. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

FuelClinic FuelClinic determines how well your car is managing its fuel consumption. After you sign up for the site, you need only to input your car's information, tell the service how much you spent the last couple times you filled up, and the site will return calculations on your miles per gallon and how much you will be spending on gas going forward. It's not the most advanced fuel-monitoring service in this roundup, but it's simple, which might make it attractive to some.

FuelClinic determines your miles per gallon and fuel costs. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Fuelly Fuelly helps you track your gas consumption to see if your car is performing at its top level. Each time you fill up your gas tank, you can input that information into Fuelly. From there, the site tracks your usage, so you can see how well your car is doing with its fuel consumption. It's a simple app, but it's worth trying out.

Fuelly makes it easy to input your fill ups. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

MyMileMarker MyMileMarker is still in beta, but it's a well-designed tool that tracks your fuel usage.

After you sign up for the site, all you need to do is fill out information about your last trip to the gas station. Once you input two trips, the site will calculate your miles per gallon, your projected miles in one year, and how much fuel will cost in that time. It's a nice tool that will come in handy throughout the year. And it's a better fuel-monitoring system than Fuelly.

MyMileMarker will help you determine relevant fuel information about your car. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

RepairPal If you're traveling and something goes wrong, trusting a mechanic might be difficult. That's where RepairPal comes in.

After you find out what's wrong with your car, you can consult RepairPal to see what a fair price for the repair really is. So, if you want to replace brake pads and your mechanic quoted you an extremely high price, you can bring the RepairPal estimate with you to (hopefully) bring the price down. It's something worth consulting before you get your car fixed up. RepairPal even offers a free iPhone app to use while you're on the go.

Find all the repair costs with RepairPal. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Your Garage Your Garage might not be the best-looking service in this roundup, but it's a great tool to help you remember what you've had done with your car.

After you sign up for the site, you can add all the cars you want to track. You can then input when service was completed, how much it cost, where it was performed, and more. From there, Your Garage keeps a listing of all the repairs. It calculates how much you've spent on each vehicle you own to see if it's time to replace it. It's a convenient service you might want to try out.

Your Garage
Your Garage will help you remember all those repairs. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. DriverSide: With so many great features, DriverSide deserves the top spot.

2. RepairPal: RepairPal is the best tool to use when your car breaks down.

3. MyMileMarker: MyMileMarker is the best fuel consumption monitor in this roundup.