Sunday, December 04, 2016

It Didn't Work for Me: Automatic

I hate to give a bad review, but when a gadget has consistently failed, support calls didn't improve anything, and it finally broke, I realized it was time.

A couple of years ago, an advertisement for the Automatic car monitoring gadget crossed my path.  I have a 1997 Jeep Wrangler, so all the fancy fuel monitoring status boards on all the other cars left me a little jealous.  The gadget plugs into the diagnostic port on nearly all cars and works with the cell phone GPS to give you more details like fuel consumption, and at the same time give you a tracking map of everywhere you've gone.  I bit.  It was relatively cheap and plugged in fine.

Only, when I went to the website and started looking at my results, the flags starting waving.
Sixty miles per gallon on my 97 Jeep?  Not likely.  I started noting down my fillups and did my own spread sheet.  At best, I was getting sixteen miles per gallon.

I left a complaint on the website and received a note that they were working on it.  As far as I can tell, my Jeep never actually monitors fuel consumption, so the software takes what data it has and makes a guesstimate.  However, I never saw any updates and the results stayed the same.

At the same time, I was getting dropouts.  Many times the gadget never made contact with my cell phone.  It happened so frequently that I stopped looking at the website map, because it was frustrating to find out that after a two thousand mile road trip, only fifty miles were logged.

The web site looks nice, but with bad data, it's useless to me.  I forgot about it.  Sometimes it was still connecting, but most times, it wasn't.

And then getting in and out of the Jeep's driver's seat I kicked the thing once too often and the gadget came apart in several pieces.  I have no desire to try to fix it.

Here's my final report: