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Smart Home

How to install an Automatic Pro in your car

After a few minutes of setup, you can track your car -- or your kid's car -- wherever it goes.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

Automatic is best known for a series of gadgets that interface with your car to monitor your driving habits and score your driving. The better the score, the less wear and tear your car will experience, and your gas mileage should improve. The company's latest product is the Automatic Pro, a small accessory that plugs into the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) port in your car.

Unlike previous products from Automatic, the Pro forgoes a Bluetooth connection to your phone. Instead, the adapter comes equipped with a cellular connection and communicates directly with Automatic's servers as long as there's cell service.

It's a handy accessory for keeping track of miles traveled, trip habits or a teenager's car.

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Will it work with your car?

Before picking up an Automatic Pro, make sure it will work with your car. Thankfully, if you own a car made after 1996, it will most likely work.

However, it doesn't hurt to double-check. You can visit Automatic's compatibility website and enter the year, make and model of your car to ensure it will work.

Don't plug in the adapter yet

First, install the Automatic Pro app -- you'll find it for Android here and iPhone here. Note, the Pro app is different from the standard Automatic app. Look for a blue Automatic logo to confirm you've installed the Pro app. Next, you'll need to sign up for an Automatic account through the app if you don't already have one.

It's a good idea to move your car out of a garage or parking structure during initial setup so the adapter can find a good cellular connection and get everything up and running.

Jason Cipriani/CNET

After installing the app, setting up an account and parking outside, follow the prompts in the app. You'll need to enter the six-digit number on the back of the adapter into the app, plug it in to your car's OBD port, and sit through a firmware update. As noted in the app, OBD ports are typically under the steering wheel just where the dash in your car ends.

All said and done, the process takes about 10 minutes, the majority of which is the firmware update.

Last but not least, make sure you set up the Crash Alert feature. If the car is in an accident, your phone will contact emergency services with your location, along with the emergency contacts you add in the app.