Any car can be a smart vehicle. That's the appeal of Fixd, a simple device that can identify information ranging from when you need to bring your car in for maintenance to why that check-engine light just came on.
So how does Fixd work and what exactly can you use Fixd to find out? What are the user reviews like? Here's what you need to know about this increasingly popular car sensor.
What is Fixd?
Fixd is a hardware-software combo sold by Georgia-based Fixd Automotive that gives you actionable information about your vehicle.
The hardware feeds information from your car to an app on your smartphone, and if Fixd pinpoints any problems, you can give that data to your mechanic. Fixd is also a handy maintenance tool that can remind you when your car needs service.
How does Fixd work?
Fixd features a sensor that plugs into an OBD-II port in your car (more on that in a moment). Once you plug in the sensor, you just leave it there, since it's powered by your car. In other words, you don't have to worry about recharging your Fixd sensor.
You'll want to download the Fixd app, either from the Apple App Store (for iOS) or Google Play (for Android), depending on which platform you use. Launch the app, create an account and sit in your car to connect your Fixd sensor to the app via Bluetooth. Once they're talking to each other, you'll be able to get information about your vehicle from that communication.
You can peruse the app to learn more about what's happening in your car, of course, but Fixd will also send you notifications to let you know when something is wrong.
Which cars work with Fixd?
To use Fixd, all your car needs is an OBD-II port. If you're driving a car built in 1996 or later, the chances are pretty good that your car will work with Fixd, since any vehicle built since that time has such a port. You'll usually find the OBD-II port somewhere around or under your glove box.
If you have a car that was manufactured before 1996, you're out of luck.
Fixd will also work with hybrids, and the company is currently beta testing diesel-based vehicles, and says that it's "had success with models made after 2008."
MORE: 250+ Tech Gift Ideas
What kinds of car problems can Fixd identify?
You might be surprised by just how many things you can learn from Fixd. According to the company, the sensor can identify 6,800 maladies affecting your car that may cause the check-engine light to turn on.
Although Fixd doesn't list all of the things that its app can find, it does say that it can identify major issues, like whether your engine oil temperature is too high or your O2 sensor has failed. It can also tell you if your car has bigger issues that you should bring to the mechanic.
In addition, the app gives you the option to clear your check-engine light, if you've determined that the problem it has identified is not significant. You can also use Fixd to clear other dashboard lights, including TPMS, ABS, Airbag, Maintenance and Stability Control.
Additionally, Fixd can keep track of your car's maintenance schedule. Once you plug the sensor into your car, it will determine what your car's manufacturer recommends for maintenance at each milestone and alert you to those recommendations. Fixd monitors your mileage so you know what you need to get done.
How is Fixd different from other devices?
Fixd isn't the only device on the market that can track your car's health. A slew of products — including CarMD, Verizon's hum+, Zubie Key and others — all connect to your car and use a companion app to give you insight into the vehicle.
The Fixd sensor seems to have benefited from its retail availability at the world's largest retailers — something not all of its competitors can match. Additionally, Fixd's app is considered one of the best-designed programs in the space.
The company claims that Fixd stands out by breaking down problems into simple and understandable terms. Instead of giving you a code or technical description, the device alerts you to the severity of the issue, the consequences of continuing to drive and the maintenance timeline for your specific make, model and year.
We've tested a number of OBD-II scanners under $100, and the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool came out on top. It goes beyond basic scanners to show recalls and dynamic data, as well as offer repair suggestions.
What about the Fixd app?
Fixd's companion app is where you'll learn all about your car. You can use the app to check the status of your car and see if there are any errors. Because some of the errors could be nebulous, Fixd lists them in a tab and provides descriptions of each.
More importantly, the app notes the potential consequences of an automotive problem so you can determine just how serious the warning is. For instance, if your car is suffering from an O2 sensor failure, the problem could result in fewer miles per gallon and the possibility that your vehicle will not pass a state emissions test.
Beyond that, the Fixd app provides a visual timeline of mileage so you can see what kind of maintenance needs to be done at different milestones. And whenever there's a problem, the Fixd app can send you push notifications so you know what's happening in your car.
The Fixd app can work with multiple cars, so if you want to put a sensor in each of your family's vehicles, you can do so, and you'll receive the data from all of your cars on one phone. From the app, you can choose the car you want to diagnose, and you'll be good to go.
How much does Fixd cost?
If you want just one Fixd sensor, you can expect to pay $59. Fixd sells a two-sensor bundle for $88, effectively saving you 50 percent on one of the units. If you want three Fixd sensors, you'll pay $118, which allows you to buy two at full price and get the third free.
Fixd sells its sensors with a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
Where can I get the Fixd device?
You won't be able to find Fixd everywhere. The company sells the sensors on its website and at Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy stores.
MORE: Best Gifts for Drivers
What are the Fixd reviews like?
Fixd user reviews are overall solid. If you go to Amazon, for instance, you'll find that the average rating from 726 user reviews is around 4.5 stars. What's more, Fakespot, which evaluates Amazon user reviews, gives the Fixd an A and has deemed just 10 percent of those reviews of low quality.
Some Amazon customers gave Fixd glowing reviews: They were impressed by how easy it was to connect the sensor to the car and get access to the information that the Fixd app displays. Other users weren't as impressed, with 9 percent giving it a 1-star rating. Some of these users said they could not easily connect the sensor to their vehicles, while others complained that the sensor stopped working after a time.
We have tested and reviewed Fixd and found that it works quite well. We liked that it was inexpensive and could turn off the check-engine light, but didn't like that it lacked dynamic data and didn't have Windows or Mac apps. It also shows only generic fault codes and doesn't come with preinspection checks.
"The second-generation Fixd does a good job of diagnosing engine-light problems and providing maintenance reminders, but it's not as versatile as other devices," our review says.
We have also reviewed several other cheap OBD-II scanners under $100 and rated them best to worst. Find out where Fixd landed here.
If Fixd is out of stock, when can I get it?
Fixd was hard to come by early in 2017, but the company has addressed supply problems. As of this writing, the device is in stock at all of Fixd's retail partner outlets, as well as on its website.
What Is the Fixd Maintenance Club?
To add a bit more value to owning a Fixd device, the company now offers a service called the Fixd Maintenance Club.
The premise behind the Fixd Maintenance Club is simple: You use the company's device to see what's wrong or when you need an oil change or new air filter, but then you head to the garage to have that work done. Instead of having someone else do the work, you can send your car information to Fixd, and through its Maintenance Club, the company will send you the parts you need to do the work yourself.
Through its club, Fixd will send to you "specific maintenance items based on your upcoming maintenance interval," based on the year, make and model of your car.
Fixd's service lets you choose for yourself when your maintenance kit should ship, but you can customize when you get it and what's included in the box.
Being a member of the Fixd Maintenance Club is free, but the company does charge for the parts. Prices vary, depending on the maintenance work and the parts you request.
What About the Fixd Vehicle Protection Plans?
Fixd also offers a service called Vehicle Protection Plans. You can get 24-hour emergency roadside assistance, as well as 24-hour assistance for key replacements in the event you lose your key. A Titanium Plus Protection plan gives you roadside assistance, key/remote replacement, tire and wheel protection, windshield protection and paintless ding repair.
In essence, Fixd's Vehicle Protection Plans are similar to those offered by some carmakers with purchase. It's also similar to AAA memberships.
Here's a breakdown of pricing:
Fixd Roadside Assistance: $49
Fixd Key Replacement Plan: $69
Fixed Ultimate Vehicle Protection Plan: Coming Soon
I'm curious as to if the FIXD has the same internals as the $5 units, I wouldn't doubt it. But if the app can help with maintenance then it will only still cost a fraction of what you could save. Personally i would just get the $5 eBay unit and get a good app that does everything the FIXD app does for another $5.