RepairPal also has an iPhone application that can be downloaded for free so you can get accurate auto help anywhere you have cell phone service.
Let your car tell you what's wrong
A device called the CarMD can take things even a step further than by giving you a quick diagnostic readout of your car's engine.
For around $120, you can buy a CarMD and no longer have to rely on your mechanic for an accurate computer reading of your auto.
Here's how it works:
Every car manufactured in the United States -- foreign or domestic -- has a small plug-in called a 16-pin data link connector, which is usually located under the dashboard on the driver's side. By plugging in the small CarMD device into the DLC, you can get quick computer readouts of your car's engine.
The first step gives you a quick read of the engine's health by displaying a green, yellow or red light. Green means good, yellow or red means something is wrong and needs further investigation.
If you get a yellow or red readout, log onto the site and plug the CarMD into your computer's USB port to view the cause and probable cost to fix it. CarMD doesn't cover every problem your car might have, such brakes or batteries, but it does cover most of them.
"Basically, (CarMD) covers anything related to engines, emissions, the transmission or the oxygen sensors. It's about 80 percent of the systems on the vehicle," said Kristin Brocoff, product manager for CarMD.
Any time your check engine light comes on, you can run a quick CarMD check before you even bring it in to a repair shop. That way, you will know the problem and probable cost before your mechanic does, and the chance of you getting ripped off should lower significantly.