What’s your favorite car site? If you can’t pick one, you’re probably in the majority: despite the abundance of successful auto sites, few people ever frequent one regularly. That’s because most of these sites are primarily concerned with buying and selling cars rather than their long term maintenance.
DriverSide, a new startup that launches today, is looking to change this trend by creating an automobile community that will be useful throughout the life of your vehicle. The site creates a profile tailored to your virtual garage, and offers options accordingly.
Among the features offered by the site are “Service Your Car”, which displays a car’s owner’s guide, common problems, recall alerts, and service schedule. Perhaps most useful will be the “What to Pay for Service” option, which offers approximations of repair costs that are based on a given car model and zip code. DriverSide CEO Trevor Traina says that these ballpark costs, which are determined by a third-party car repair company, should help customers determine if they’re being ripped off by their mechanic.
Driverside also allows users to track the value of their cars over time. The site uses an algorithm based on 14 million recent transactions along with licensed data from sources like the Kelley Blue Book to determine a car’s market value. Prices are then plotted along a graph that shows how quickly a car is depreciating, and users can set alerts that will notifiy them when their car has dropped below a cetain point.
Users can leave reviews, comments, tips, and questions specific to their car model for their peers. And, of course, the site features a social networking aspect. Each user can build their own virtual garage that lets them show off their wheels to the world (my ’96 Celica is quite the stunner).
DriverSide has laid much of the groundwork to become an authoritative car community and reference, but it still has a ways to go. For one, the interface needs to be reworked – the buttons on the side bar are way too big, while the actual content is found in a somewhat overwhelming list of expandable tabs. The social networking side of things also seems a little pointless, though it’s tough to judge because some of the features aren’t active yet. For readers that want a dedicated social network that revolves around cars, check out boompa which we covered way back in 2006.