Monday, May 26th, 2014

Smart Link: Automatic Maintenance Reminders

Smart link, what an intrinsically different name. Is it normally smart or must it be programmed to be smart? Just how smart is it or can it be? Will it infringe upon your privacy or worse yet will it open up your life and identity to cyberspace where anyone can pry into your life?

Actually it’s none of the above! You have the final say in the programming, it’s many features and who it will contact. As most folks are aware, every vehicle manufactured after 1996 is equipped with what is known in the industry as an ALDL. That acronym stands for Assembly Line Diagnostic Link.

This means that virtually every option, module, servo, and sensors are connected to this plug mounted under your dash. You might wonder how a simple 16 wire plug can access so much information.

How Smart Link Works

Well this is the answer; through the power of electronics, multiplexing, buss lines, and even optic fiber, most every act, decision and results of those decisions are available through this plug. This is the fascinating part, all of this information is available to anyone who wishes to invest into the equipment to gather and make this information viable and understandable. Obviously these little “code readers” that are made available in box stores or on-line only scratch the surface of the information that is available.

This is the first question that should be asked when allowing anyone to “plug in” to their vehicle. The first thing that you should know is does your service provider have the equipment to not only read the “generic” information as mandated by the federal government, or can they access the manufacturers information which requires a much more sophisticated piece of equipment.

Our Smart Link Scanners

Here at Gregg’s we have in our possession two $11,000.00 Snap On scanners as well as a European based scanner, a MATCO scanner that is up to date to 2010, and our old standby the “Red Brick” which we use for pre 1996 vehicles. Delphi Company, which by the way was the most contributing force in the design and development of “ONSTAR” is the owner and developer of this product.

Here are some of the most prominent features of this device. Once it is installed and programmed, you as the owner of your vehicle never have to touch it, look at it, or speak to it. The electronics within it actually speaks to a secure Global Positioning System most commonly described as a GPS, and a secure and protected set of servers.

This allows you and or your preferred service facility to receive alerts going on within your vehicle. This is live information so as it is being transmitted to the server it is also going to you, the owner of the vehicle and your service provider without any interaction by the driver no matter where they are, either two blocks or two states or time zones away.

This basically means that no matter where the vehicle is if “an event” occurs or a check engine light illuminates there is no question as to what the problem is or if it is ok to continue driving.

Service & Maintenance Reminders

Service and maintenance reminders can be programmed and be accessed through intelligent online portals allowing you the owner to make the necessary scheduling for preventive maintenance or repairs or to allow the portal to automatically to make those recommendations for service based solely on the way you drive your vehicle, by time, mileage or a combination of both.

Automatic Appointment Setting

This means that you never have to remember when maintenance is due the portal remembers it for you alerts you and allows you to forward that information to your service provider and make the appointment if you so desire it. You are always in control!

Set Boundaries for Teen Drivers

Family safety! For those of you that still have a teenager driving your personal vehicles or even their own, or conversely those of you that have older parents driving. Geographic boundaries, curfews, speed limits can be set up within the portal. If these boundaries are violated ( a tough but necessary word) you as parents are notified by a text message or e-mail automatically. As far as dealing with our older population we see those silver alerts on the highway all of the time.

By being alerted immediately, being forced to find lost relatives, is easier as the police can be alerted as soon as that boundary has been breached, instead of hours after we realize that they have not made it home. As an added feature there is a “last known location” alert which indicates where the vehicle was when it was last shut down or started.

Fleet & Business Owner Benefits

Fleet owners can use these options to maintain and monitor their fleets for services or maintenance, driver’s actions and routes, all of which may present insurance discounts to you the owner.

Smart Link Installation Costs

Now here comes the $64.00 question? As I originally promised for the first five takers my cost is your cost. The device itself cost $180.00. Installation and programming by me will be free. The monthly fee to access all of this information available to consumers is $9.99 a month or 14.99 for the premium plan. Fleet plans start at $14.99 for the basic plan, $19.99 for the “plus” plan and $24.99 for the “Premium” plan.

As you can see there are no hidden clauses or options the price sheets are always available as are the differences between each plan. This is a win-win opportunity that will not last forever and as of right now we are the only provider in Charlotte County willing to make this available.



Gregg’s Automotive Maintenance & Repair Center

236 S. Tamiami Tr.
Punta Gorda, Fl. 33950
Auto Repair, A/C Repair, Oil Change, Brake Repair & Transmission Services