For most people, the "check engine" light in their car is pretty useless, providing no info about what the problem is or its severity. A new app wants to provide US drivers with exactly that information. Fixd provides notifications if a problem arises, along with the potential consequences and cost.

A number of other apps have been created to help with car-related issues. The iCar app turns the user's iPhone into a black box in the event of a car accident, CarSafe was designed to monitor the alertness of drivers, and a variety of apps have been created to help people find where they parked their vehicle.

Fixd comprises a vehicle sensor and the accompanying app. The vehicle sensor plugs into a car's On Board Diagnostics-II (OBD-II) port and connects to the app via Bluetooth. On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) is a computer-based system used in the US that is designed to monitor the performance of vehicle engine components. It was made mandatory by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, with all cars built after 1996 required to have the system installed. As such, Fixd will work with any car built in the US since 1996.

Once the sensor is installed and the user has the app up and running, Fixd monitors the vehicle's diagnostics and provides information about any problems that arise. This includes the severity of the vehicle's running condition, indicated using a traffic light system, and an indication of how urgently issues should be seen to.

Examples of issues that may be flagged up might include an airbag malfunction and an O2 sensor failure. Fixd would inform the user that the potential consequences of these issues could be injury in an accident where the airbag is concerned, or reduced MPG and increased emissions where the O2 sensor is concerned. Estimated costs of repair are also provided.

The app also provides maintenance reminders for the user's car as it ages and allows users to monitor a number of vehicles using its multi-vehicle support.

A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is underway for Fixd, with individuals able to pledge from US$30 to receive a Fixd set, assuming all goes to plan with the campaign and subsequent production. A beta version of the Android app is expected to be released in October, with a subsequent iPhone app and feature releases to follow.

If Fixd does make it to the market, it will certainly be facing some competition. The existing Automatic system also incorporates an app and a sensor that plugs into the OBD-II port, and it likewise monitors the vehicle's diagnostics system to alert drivers to potential problems.

The video below is the Kickstarter pitch for Fixd.

Sources: Fixd, Kickstarter