Automatic: Your Nerdy Mechanic

automatic dongle
Hi my name is James. I am the V Belts Direct web guy (yes I know, all those slow pages and grey checkouts are my fault). I like cars, fixing things myself, and gadgets. Normally when I write one of these blog posts, I only get to focus on one of those things. Today they are all combined into one tiny little gadget!
In case you are unaware, Automatic is a small $100 little gadget that plugs directly into your car’s computer port. This enabled you to keep track of all of your car’s vital statistics including your mpg and more. Additionally you could track and resolve your car’s fault codes.
All of this is fairly nifty all by itself, but it got even better. It was added to IFTTT (If This Then That), and a whole bunch of recipes were created. IFTTT is a GREAT web service that lets you create recipes based on your gadgets. For instance, using automatic, you can automatically turn on your Nest thermostat when you are 15 minutes from home. Or it can add it to your to-do list when your check engine light comes on.
Now Automatic is partnering with a bunch of cool companies to make that little dongle do even more. It can coach you on how to become a better driver by cutting down on hard braking (guilty) and fast driving (guilty). It even has new settings to coach new drivers who are still learning and haven’t yet picked up my bad habits.
You can even automatically log your driving, track work trips, and mileage and submit fuel and car expenses. For me personally, I just like the fact that it logs all of my info into Google Drive spreadsheets.
There are a few caveats. First of all you need a smart phone. iPhone 5 or newer and most new Androids should work fine. Secondly, for some of the recipes and other apps, you do need the corresponding devices. Obviously you’re not going to be able to turn on your Nest Thermostat if you don’t actually have a Nest Thermostat.
I do have a coupon code for 20% off of the Automatic. I’m not sure if it is only good for one, or for multiple but give it a shot and see what happens!