Autobrain Review: OBD2 Device built by Techies, EMTs & First Responders
Autobrain is no ordinary OBD2 Reader. It's a device that keeps track of your car's health and family's safety.
GearBrain has tested several OBD2 devices over the past few months and many of these devices are designed to help keep track of your car's health. Now we are starting to see more features added to these connected devices which can turn your vehicle into a connected car. Recently we reviewed a OBD2 device that offered 4G Wi-Fi service and had a mechanic hotline. This hotline allows owners to call a qualified mechanic to help get a reading on why their check engine light was on in their vehicle. We are happy to see another manufacturer integrate this service into a OBD2 reader. Let us introduce you to Autobrain.
What is Autobrain?
Autobrain is a new OBD2 reader that lets consumers understand what's going on with their vehicle, connecting to its computer to understand when things are not going well. Built by tech enthusiasts, first responders and EMT's, the device offers alerts plus a GPS locater, and also has an automatic crash response system to notify authorities of accidents.
Autobrain works with any car built after 1995, and each device and subscription covers one car — but you can switch the gadget to work on another one of your vehicles. The company decided to have the device connect directly to a smartphone using a CDMA cellular network, and not Bluetooth, because the Bluetooth signal can be easily shut down, and is a weaker link. Kids are savvy when it comes to smartphones — easily turning off a Bluetooth device if it's tracking where they go in your car. Also, the company informed us using a cellular service connection is better for control of the device. Don't have good cellular service where you live? Autobrain will supply those customers with a device that uses GPS to track your vehicle.
Many OBD2 Readers focus on accessing a car's computer to learn more about its health and performance. These devices are mainly used by car enthusiasts, mechanics and DIY auto geeks. But Autobrain includes features not normally found in an OBD2 Readers:
Here is a quick slideshow for setting up and activating your Autobrain. Keep in mind Autobrain's mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices.
During the account setup process, you will be required to select the make and model for you car. If you can insert your VIN number, that could be helpful.
As part of the setup process, you will need to insert the Autobrain device ID which can be find on the backside of your Autobrain device.
GearBrain recommends taking the time to read through this section so you can choose the correct mode for your Autobrain device.
There are three safety modes for your to choose: Teen, Family and Senior. You can easily switch between modes/car based on who is driving the car.
These alerts are good to setup especially if you have teenage drivers.
This will be the screen you will utilize most when using your Autobrain.
On car finder screen, you can track the location of your car as well as its status. If the car is moving, it will show you the speed.
Why would you want a device like Autobrain?
According to Autobrain, car accidents are the No. 1 cause for teen deaths in America. More teens have died in car accidents than break-ins or home fires. For parents with teenage drivers in the household, Autobrain not only keeps track of a child's location but shows how well they're driving — plus offers a little peace of mind in knowing that if the car breaks down, there's roadside assistance at the push of a button.
Besides safety, Autrobrain has built in tracking capabilities. If a car's stolen, you can track its location using the GPS feature. If the device is unplugged, you will get a message saying it's unplugged, with the last known location on the app. If the car is speeding you not only get alerts, but can go to the car finder screen and see where the car is and how fast it's going.
Besides keeping track of your car's health — and keeping an eye on your car's whereabouts — Autobrain's roadside assistance, mechanic hotline and automatic crash response feature are ones we like. Only one other manufacturer offers a mechanic hotline and we think this is a solid feature in an OBD2 device.
To get to the mechanic hotline, you first call customer service, which assesses the problem and either helps you solve it or has a certified mechanic call you back. We called customer service when we had an issue with our Autobrain mobile app. While we had to wait a period of time, a customer service representative did help us understand that while the app was telling us we had a low battery, our battery was actually fine. When Autobrain is doing upgrades to its system, there can be delays in the updates for your car's readings and alerts: Something to note. A few hours later, we looked at our app and saw our car battery was fine.
Autobrain costs $29.97 with a monthly subscription of $9.97 (no additional taxes or fees). Shipping is free. You can try the service free for one month with purchase, and there are no contracts required nor any hidden frees. If you don't like Autobrain, there is no charge for cancelling, and there is a 30-day money back guarantee. Autobrain is available on its site and at Walmart. But keep in mind if you buy Autobrain at Walmart, pricing is less (only $19.97) but does not include the free first month of the subscription fee.
Recently GearBrain published several OBD2 Reader reviews but there were two that were very similar to Autobrain, CarLock and Verizon HumX. When we compared Autobrain to Verizon HumX, here is what we found:
OBD2 devices are evolving in our new connected world. We are starting to see these devices become more robust and valuable tools for consumers who want to learn more about their car's engine. They want to keep track of their vehicle's performance or know if an unwanted guest decides to take a joy ride in their car, they can alert the authorities. And now we are starting to see new innovative services like 4G Wi-Fi service or mechanic hotlines integrated into OBD2 readers.
Autobrain is one of these new OBD2 manufacturers who has come to market with a good OBD2 device which offers all of the standard features plus a few key services at an attractive price. The company informed us some of the best and biggest driving schools in the country, like Top Driver are using Autobrain. And, they have won the prestigious National Parenting Product Award. If you are in the market for an OBD2 device and want to use it just to check your car's health, this product is not for you. However, if you want an OBD2 reader that comes with roadside assistance, GPS tracking and automatic crash response service, and have no problem paying a monthly fee for these services, then Autobrain is a product you need to consider. We just wish it also offered Wi-Fi service. Hopefully they will in the near future.
Pros: automatic crash response, mechanic hotline, ease of use, simple installation, works with vehicles built after 1995, 4 different safety modes, 24/7 roadside assistance, live tracking of vehicle on map
Cons: monthly subscription, no 4G Wi-Fi service, slow response when system is being updated