New cars come with awesome features like app controls, built-in LTE for devices inside the car, and other smart features. If you’re like me and generally buy used cars to save some cash, then you’re likely missing out on some of these features.
Though you could install high-end alarm systems for remotely tracking or starting your car, other features like pulling diagnostics and getting built-in LTE for road trips are normally reserved for newer vehicles. That is, until now. AT&T recently announced the HARMAN Spark, an OBD-II device that adds a plethora of features to any vehicle from 1996 and up.
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Similar products already exist but are fragmented in feature delivery. There’s Automatic and Automatic Pro which give drive tracking and vehicle location history (one only when your phone is connected and the other over mobile data all the time), and then there are products like ZTE Mobley which provides mobile LTE access for AT&T customers.
You’ll pay $79.99 for the HARMAN Spark with rate plans starting at $5 per month. You download the app for HARMAN Smart from the iOS App Store or Google Play and plug the Spark into your OBD II port. This is normally below your steering wheel.
Once that’s done, you can connect the Spark with the app and begin tracking features and enjoying in-car LTE.
Feature-wise, there’s plenty to go around.
- Emergency Crash Assistance – Contacts you in the event of a crash to see if you need help.
- Virtual Mechanic – Helps ensure your safety by alerting you if your car needs attention and provides guidance on what to do.
- WatchIt – Lets you know if your car is bumped, towed or moved when you’re not around. Helps authorities locate it if stolen.
- Roadside Assistance Manager – Drop a pin on your location and request help 24/7. Pay through the Spark app and you’ll be back on the road in no time.
- Wi-Fi Hotspot – Connect up to 8 devices from the open road and keep the family happy and entertained while streaming videos and playing games.
- Geofences – Peace of mind for when your loved ones hit the road. Set boundaries on a map and view their location.
- Family share/Fleet manager – Get the location of family and business vehicles and monitor vehicle health.
- Parking Reservations – No more circling and looking for a parking spot. Save time and hassles by reserving a space in advance. Pay in the Spark app.
- Driving score and tips – Driving feedback and trip analysis for whoever is behind the wheel. Helps your teen become a safer and smarter driver.
Things like WatchIt is awesome to know if someone bumps into your car, and would pair well with a dash camera. The Geofence is great for families so you know where your teen is and know if they leave a designated save zone. Roadside Assistance Manager is another great feature that can help you get up and going no matter what issue you run into.
HARMAN Spark will even alert you if there are issues with your car, and it can request help in the event of a crash should you lose access to your phone during the craziness.