Any car built after 1996 is considered OBD2 compliant.
Meaning you can grab all of your car's diagnostics through a port that's a lot like a USB port for your car.
In most cases, though, only mechanics have access to this port, but more and more apps are allowing the user to put all of that data into your pocket.
In this case, I'll show you how to use an app called Dash, which is free for both iOS and Android.
With it, you can turn any dumb car into a smart car.
So you can see diagnostics like fuel economy, RPM, engine temperature, and a lot more.
Plus you can even diagnose the check engine light all on your own.
Here's how it works.
First you'll need an OBD2 device.
These cost anywhere from $15 to $100 depending on what the brand is and what features it has.
You can go to Dash's website for recommendations on both iOS and Android.
In this case I already have my OBD for an Android phone and I'll plug it in to my car.
In most cases, it's underneath the steering wheel.
Now we're ready to pair the OBD with my phone.
So the first thing I want to do is turn the car on to give power to the OBD.
Then, I'll go into my bluetooth settings, find the OBD,.
Link it up, then we'll launch dash.
And in a few seconds the app should find the OBD.
So let's take it for a test drive.
As I'm driving, all of these diagnostics are updating in real time, so I can see my fuel economy, RPM, temperature, engine load.
If you don't know what one of these means you can actually just tap the square, and it will give you a really nice explanation.
Becomes a little bit addicting, because the goal is to get as many of these squares into the green zone as possible.
It's not always in your control, but oftentimes you can prevent it from going into red by controlling how fast you accelerate or how hard you brake.
So here how it works.
From the moment I start my car to the point that I take my key out of the ignition, that's considered one trip.
And at the end of that road trip, I get a driver score from Dash.
That's dependent on how fast I was accelerating, how hard I was breaking and if I was idling for too long.
So let's see how I did.
Go to my trips.
So we see here that I got a score of 81.
A lot of that is because I was idling too much.
Probably because of some San Francisco traffic.
But it says I have some great fuel efficiency and I avoided hard accelerations.
Luckily my overall score is still a nice 93.