New apps save you drive time when repairing or buying cars

Dave Kunz Image
Saturday, January 7, 2017
New apps save you drive time when repairing or buying cars
Two new apps let you stay home while someone else takes your car in for service - or brings a car to you for possible purchase.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- Like many people, Mike Willey of Anaheim is a very busy guy. Not only is he a married father of two, but also a teacher and softball coach at Savanna High School.

"I'm teaching and coaching and refereeing basketball on the weekends. And then there's my son's little league team," said Willey, detailing his hectic life.

So with Mike's Chevy Tahoe due for routine service, he tried out a new concept called Sweetworxx.

Using their mobile app, you contact Sweetworxx when your car needs attention. A representative comes to your home to essentially act as a concierge to take your car in for you.

"The shops that we've identified have specialties," said Ralph Pompea, senior advisor for Sweetworx. "So we match the customer and their need with the proper shop. So if you have a high-end German import we're taking it to the correct shop who has experience with that vehicle."

The service is very thorough. Prior to leaving, the driver documents the condition of your car with digital photos taken via an iPad, also making note of the car's odometer reading, and checking to ensure that the current registration and insurance papers are in the vehicle.

Then a quick safety check is performed on the car prior to departure, making sure things like signals and brake lights are in proper working order.

After that, they shuttle your car off and will bring it back when the work is finished.

In the case of Willey's Tahoe, Sweetworxx had the oil and filter changed at The Auto Shop in Irvine. While there, it got a safety inspection and tire pressure adjustment.

As for pricing, you'll pay more than you would taking your car to an independent shop yourself, but you'll pay a bit less than you would at a dealership. As an example, Sweetworxx says an oil change for a car that requires synthetic oil will run about $70, and that includes the door-to-door service.

Taking your car in for maintenance or repairs can consume a great deal of time - and so can the search to find a car to buy.

Here, too, another concierge service comes to the rescue.

Browsing for a good used car online isn't new, but a service called Shift has a new twist.

"Once you're set on a vehicle or two, you just push a button, and we bring the car to you," said Henry Imber, the general manager of Shift for the Los Angeles area.

You browse their site online or via their app to look at available cars. If one strikes your fancy, a Shift rep will bring it by for a test drive, and you can even buy it right then.

But there's no pressure.

"Our team members are called 'car enthusiasts,' and they're really into cars. And they're there to help our customers find the right car," said Shift's Henry Imber.

Sure, we count on our cars in Southern California. But these days, you don't have to also count on spending lots of your free time buying or maintaining one.