For drivers, one of the worst parts of owning a car is having to repair it. Most people don’t have the time or the experience to work on their own cars, so they’re forced to use a mechanic. Finding one who is honest, reliable, and who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg is difficult. Luckily, technology isn’t just changing the car buying process. It’s also changing the car repair business.
One app that’s working to change the car repair business for the better is called Openbay. It’s designed to give customers more control over their repairs, help them make informed decisions, and make the entire process as streamlined as possible. The app itself isn’t brand new, but it’s about to launch a new service that automates the repair process even more.
Currently, Openbay works as both an app and a website. Users who already know what they need done on their cars can jump straight to finding a shop to perform the work. Anyone who isn’t exactly sure what’s wrong with their can can use the app to help them figure out what the problem is too.
Once the user knows what they need fixed, they can use the app to request quotes from local mechanics in Openbay’s network. Repair shops provide their out-the-door price to do the repair, and users can pick the one they like best. They then set an appointment, confirm their service, and can pay for the work through the app.
Picking the right shop is about more than price, though. Users can see how far away each place is, and afterward, they have the opportunity to rate the service they received. Other users can see each shop’s rating, which helps them choose the right place. If the least expensive offer comes from a shop with a poor reputation, Openbay users can see that and choose a different mechanic to work with.
With a network of repair shops in many different cities and states, Openbay is already a convenient way to repair your car. The launch of OpenbayConnect, though, promises to take that convenience to the next level.
With a wireless device that plugs into a car’s OBDII diagnostic port from Openbay, the app will read error codes from a car’s computers and forward that information onto the owner. Instead of having to guess at what’s wrong with the car, the app will show users the error and list the necessary repairs. It will then automatically request offers from nearby shops to fix the problem.
Repairing a car will probably never be the most enjoyable experience, but for people who can’t or choose not to do their own repairs, an app like OpenbayConnect gives users the information they need to make informed choices about who to trust with their car repairs. Being able to see which error code is detected and what the recommended services are based on those codes also makes it easier for users to trust repair shops. After all, if the app says the car needs an ECT Sensor 1 replacement and a coolant inspection, when the shop wants to charge for doing exactly that, it will make sense.
One challenge, however, is that on board diagnostics can’t detect every problem, and customers may be reluctant to trust mechanics who find additional repairs that are needed. Mechanics have earned a reputation over the years for taking advantage of unknowing customers, but a lot of them care about the safety of their customers and don’t want them driving around with inadequate brakes or bald tires.
Every mechanic has horror stories of customers who refused to pay for additional repairs they desperately needed or who pitched a fit over perceived dishonesty. Even an extremely convenient app like OpenbayConnect won’t be able to eliminate those people entirely. Then again, the customers with impossible expectations and no regard for appropriate car maintenance probably won’t download an app for it anyways.
On the positive side, though, OpenbayConnect users will probably be much less likely to forget to have their oil changed if there’s a device regularly sending reminders to their phones. If they do, they’ll probably discover that their cars will need less engine work and last much longer. Considering how many people forget to change their oil on a regular basis, that can only be a good thing.