Car Scan Tools

This Cool Tool Helps College Students Care for Their Cars and Avoid Costly Repairs

Translate check engine lights into plain English and get maintenance alerts on your phone

As colleges and universities around the country kick off a new semester, millions of students are headed to their home away from home for the fall. Along with those trendy Target dorm room accessories, many students are also bringing along their cars.

According to a 2016 survey by U.S. News and World Report, about 48% of students bring cars on campus. It’s often the best form of transportation for students commuting to classes, jobs, and events, especially if there are no bus or train options available. It’s also the cheapest way home if you live a few states away.

One of the major cons of bringing a car to campus is having to pay for maintenance and repairs. While one of the best ways to make a car last and avoid issues is to follow proper maintenance guidelines set by the vehicle manufacturer, it’s easy to forget oil changes and tire rotations when you’ve got classes, social obligations, and a part-time job as a college student. This is especially true of students who are used to a parent or caretaker handling the upkeep.

There’s also the issue of check engine lights, which can be triggered by hundreds of different reasons and often result in a lot of confusion, frustration, and headaches. Fortunately, three Georgia Tech grads have created the perfect back-to-school tool that helps students – and their parents – understand car problems and save money – even if they’re hundreds of miles away from one another. 

Holding FIXD Sensor in Ford SUV

FIXD is an OBD2 scanner and smartphone app that translates car problems into plain English right on your phone and alerts drivers when it’s time for maintenance. The easy-to-use device plugs into the OBD2 port, which can be found on any gas-powered vehicle built in 1996 or later, and connects to both iPhone and Android via Bluetooth.

plugging FIXD OBD2 Scan Tool into OBD2 Port on 2008 Ford Escape
The FIXD Sensor plugs into the OBD2 port on the vehicle usually located beneath the driver’s side dash.

With FIXD, students can scan their cars for any check engine lights or other issues and see what’s going on in simple, easy-to-understand terms, view live engine data, and keep up with routine service more easily. 

Because FIXD is connected to an app, parents who have an account set up with the device will receive status updates about the health of their child’s car as well as maintenance notifications, making it easy to understand car problems and schedule service appointments when necessary.

See when it's time for an oil change with FIXD Maintenance Timeline
FIXD’s Maintenance Timeline feature shows when your car is due for routine service based on your specific make, model, and mileage and sends a notification to your phone so you won’t forget that oil change.

Co-Founder and CEO John Gattuso created FIXD to help drivers understand what’s going on with their car and eliminate the stress and frustration that’s so common with the typical car repair experience. Growing up as a “car guy,” Gattuso was always answering questions from friends and family about their cars so they wouldn’t get taken advantage of.

“I’d get calls all the time from friends saying, ‘I’m at the shop. They’re telling me it’s gonna cost $800 to fix this. Is that right?’” Gattuso recalled. “My mom was a single parent, so she just kind of expected me to handle car repairs and would still call for help after I left for college.”

Gattuso, along with two other engineering students at Georgia Tech, decided to take their skills and develop a better way for people to look out for themselves and the vehicles they rely on.

“I wanted drivers to understand what’s going on with their car so when they go into a repair shop, they feel confident and comfortable,” said Gattuso.

“I wanted drivers to understand what’s going on with their car so when they go into a repair shop, they feel confident and comfortable.”

John Gattuso, Co-Founder and CEO, FIXD

Today, Gattuso has made it his mission to empower every driver in America with access to easy-to-understand information about their car so that they can feel confident and in control at the repair shop.

Along with translating check engine lights into plain English and sending parents an accompanying alert on their phone, FIXD also tells drivers how serious their issue is and consequences of continued driving.

There’s even a RepairPal Shop Finder in the app that helps users locate a certified and trusted repair shop in their area, perfect for college students who are unfamiliar with local mechanics.

Seeing results for RepairPal Certified Shops near me on the FIXD OBD2 app

FIXD Premium, an optional upgrade to the free version of the FIXD app, takes car care a step further by showing users an accurate estimate for the cost of their repairs, as well as the most likely ways to fix their check engine light. 

See what's wrong with your car and how much it costs with the FIXD app

Another Premium feature is the FIXD Mechanic Hotline, which allows users to speak with a certified FIXD mechanic about any issues they see with their car, get unbiased advice, and even get help with simple DIY repairs that can save money.

For busy college students and parents who want to monitor car health from their phones, FIXD is a game changer. It’s shaking up the multi-billion-dollar repair industry with transparent, easy-to-use information that simplifies car care and empowers everyday drivers to make smarter car decisions.

FIXD works on all gas-powered passenger vehicles made in 1996 or newer and starts at just $59 for the device and free app


Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.

Kate McKnight
Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.

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