One of the simplest parts of vehicle maintenance is getting your oil changed every several thousand miles. Change it and forget about it, right? Well, Check Car Engine by Softomas is here to say the oil in your engine can tell you a lot more than you think.
Concept and Functionality
The core concept behind Check Car Engine is that you take a drop of oil from your fully-warmed engine, drop it on a piece of white paper, and take a photo of that paper.
There are two versions of the app, a standard version and a Pro version (the one used for this review), and the key difference is that with the Pro version, you also take a photo using a back light to give even more detail to the oil drop.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s actually a do-it-yourself version of a procedure your local mechanic can perform called a “chromatographic test.”
Once you’ve taken your photo of your oil stain, the app in remarkably short order will analyze the colors and contents and give you a general status report on what it found in the oil and what that means for the health of your engine.
The vehicle we used to test was a six month old minivan, so we knew the engine should have been in relative near mint condition and as expected, Check Car Engine gave it very high marks, other than indicating that the lifetime of the oil was a nearing its end which is very accurate since we’re less than 200 miles from our next oil change.
Check Car Engine is an extremely useful app that makes it very easy to learn more about what your oil says about your engine and various subsystems.
You can tap on any of the 16 indicators, such as solid particles in the oil or the status of the ignition system in the engine, to learn more about how that indicator is determined and what it impacts.
Once you’ve gotten your analysis, you can tap on the “Resume” tab to see a list of recommendations for what to do with this new knowledge you’ve gained.
As expected, our test suggested going ahead and getting the oil replaced. It can even tip you off to potential problems with your engine like leaks of other fluids into the oil system or particles in the oil stain that indicate some part in your engine may have broken off.
You can’t replace the experience and direct testing of a real, live auto mechanic with an app anymore than you can get a better diagnosis from a web app than your actual doctor. However, you can certainly use Check Car Engine to get an idea of the types of things you may want to keep an eye on or ask about.
Staying on top of your engine’s condition could very well save you costly repairs or breakdowns in the future. Given that even the Pro version of the app is free (with ads), there’s no excuse for not downloading this app. That is, unless you don’t own a car!
Check Car Engine requires Android 3.0+. A small expedite fee was paid to speed up the publication of this review.
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What do YOU think? We’d love to hear your comments, try it and let us know!
For more Android goodness, follow Avery on Twitter @averywkrouse.