How to Turn Your Vehicle Into a Smart Car and Save Money

Everyone wants to save money, especially on the things that we use daily. Our cars are a big part of that, and often take up a notable portion of our budgets. But did you know that you could turn your vehicle into an internet-connected smart car for around $60, which could then save you money?

By turning your car into a smart car, you can take your car computer’s information, combine it with GPS data, and unlock never-before-seen comprehensive insights. You’ll gain access to info about your average speed, braking patterns, driving habits, and dozens of other powerful metrics. These metrics, in combination with a smartphone app, enable you to take actionable steps to keep your car running smoothly, help you become a safer driver, and the best part: save you cash.

With just a smartphone, bluetooth adapter, and the Dash app you can easily do this yourself.

How Will Having a Smart Car Save You Money?

This app/phone/adapter combo can help trim your budget in a number of ways, adding up to big bucks saved. For instance, Dash will:

  • Analyze your driving habits and give you suggestions to improve your driving. This will help you save on gas and become a safer driver (possibly even avoiding traffic citations, too!).
  • Monitor for check engine light codes and give a cost estimate for those type of repairs. This way, you’ll know what to expect at your mechanic shop, and not pay more than you should.
  • Provide you with a simple, built-in gas station finder that will assist you in finding the closest, most inexpensive gas station.
  • For business owners, you can use IFTTT to create Dash recipes to log all your car mileage trips directly into a Google Spreadsheets log. With a comprehensive running log of your car, you can easily pick and choose which spreadsheet row to report for your travel expenses.

How To Turn Your Car Into An Always-Connected Smart Car

  1. Purchase a FreedomPop phone (optional) to keep your car always connected

Freedompop is an MVNO service provider that uses the Sprint network. They sell low-cost refurbished phones along with a no monthly fee service that includes 500Gb of data, 200 minutes, and 500 text

messages each month. You read that correctly, all with NO MONTHLY FEE (but you do have to request it). Having a free service like this and an affordable $39 phone makes it very practical to dedicate cell service to your car.

  1. Buy and install an ODB-II Bluetooth Adapter

The OBD-II Adapter connects to your vehicle via a standard car computer port and a bluetooth connection which allows your phone to access your car’s raw data. has some recommended adapters, but there are dozens of compatible bluetooth options available — such as this one on Amazon or a number of choices on Ebay.

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Simply follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to pair your smartphone with your car.

  1.  Install the Dash App

You can find the easy-to-use Dash app on the App Store or on Google Play. After connecting your bluetooth adapter to your smartphone, the Dash app should recognize your vehicle. You can now begin driving your internet-connected smart car!

My Experience

I use my primary smartphone (with a major carrier) in my car to play Doughroller podcasts, navigate around town using Google Maps, make phone calls, and play streaming music. It was not feasible to add an additional bluetooth function to my smartphone, especially on my 45+ minute long commute.

So, I decided to purchase a FreedomPop phone strictly for my car. The phone was great and I was able to dedicate my FreedomPop service to Dash. This allowed me to automatically log business-related trips as well as reveal bad, gas inefficient driving habits. Combined, this has saved me time and money, while making me a safer driver.

If you want to save money and become a better driver, I highly recommend that you turn your vehicle into an internet-connected smart car today!

Topics: carsTools & Resources

2 Responses to “How to Turn Your Vehicle Into a Smart Car and Save Money”

  1. I don’t know… it’s really cool that you can do all that, but I guess I’m not sold on how that could really save me money. Especially since it involves buying this and installing that, and more tech gadgets to spend time on (and elevate frustration levels), more stuff to fix when they glitch and upgrade when they’re “outdated”. I’m already a safe driver, no accidents, 1 ticket in all my driving years; I already keep my car optimized – regular maintenance, keep air in the tires, etc., and I already know where all the reasonable gas stations are along my commute and in my stomping grounds. It’s all pretty much common sense stuff you can do without being all hooked in to GPS and on the grid. I’m also concerned about us all being hooked into the grid, where, in the not so distant future, things as innocuous as maybe going 5 miles over the speed limit once or twice could earn us a raise in our insurance rates, or perhaps the government will start to monitor our gas usage, and fine us for using more than our allotted amount – you know they will use any excuse they can to extract more money out of us, and the possibilities for abuse of a system like this are endless.

    • Stephanie Colestock
      Stephanie Colestock

      Mell, I personally feel the same way about being “on the grid.” Some folks don’t mind it one bit, and an app like Dash is a great resource for them. I’m sure it’s also great for tracking new teen drivers and ensuring that they too are being safe on the road. I do think that it would be a great resource for finding cheap gas or checking engine error codes without a dealer, but that must be balanced with your desire to stay as off the grid as possible, of course.


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