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The automotive lifestyle is mobile. Car aficionados can get great utility from the enormous amount of automotive available on a smartphone from apps by some of the industry leaders. The days of making impulsive auto decisions based on too little information are over and done. With mobile technology, you’re never remote from buying and selling research, information about repairs and sources for accessories like aftermarket headlights and other enhancements for your four-wheel life. Here are five of the most useful apps for car owners:

  1. Looking for a vehicle like the one you just saw?  The eBay Motors app harnesses the power of image recognition software to identify of any vehicle from a photo taken of the rear of the car. Then, it automatically searches eBay motors listings for that make and model. The app’s garage feature also allows you to scan your car’s VIN barcode and search the site for parts and accessories for your car.
  2. Edmunds is one of the leading online sources for researching autos for sale. Its smartphone app is, as you might expect, a full-featured tool for doing just that. It provides users with the power to access the specification of thousands of used vehicles and to utilize trade-in, private party and retail prices to evaluate the cars with an online calculator. The app also permits users to view images of a particular make and model as it would appear in all its available colors. If you’re shopping for a car, it’s a good thing to have on your phone.
  3. NAPA auto parts has put a lot of its in-store know-how into its app. With NAPA Know How users can access the Top Repairs section for step-by-step instructions for completing many common auto maintenance procedures. If you find yourself stumped, the app allows you to Live Chat with “Bob,” for free answers from a professional mechanic.
  4. Amazon Mobile puts the entire Amazon universe in your pocket. You can search, shop, check the reviews and purchase millions of items directly from Amazon and other sellers. If a set of aftermarket headlights catches your eye, simply take a picture of them, scan a barcode, or type in a few details to do research and comparison shop from Amazon’s vast database.
  5. Kelley Blue Book, the authoritative word on new and used car valuations, comes to your phone in an app that gives you all you need to know to make informed buying decisions. You can access Kelley’s respected and reliable new and used car reports wherever you are—including a dealer’s showroom—and study photos, reviews and even request price quotes from other dealers.

Heather Beleno is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow her @HeatherBeleno.