The car research companies Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds have free smart phone applications that allow drivers to check car prices and ratings. It also lets drivers search for nearby dealers and directions.
The standout feature of Kelley Blue Book's Kbb.com app is that it provides real-time car values, says Andy Lapin, product director of Kbb.com mobile in Irvine, Calif.
Without the app, consumers could look up price data on their home computers for a specific car. But when they arrive at the dealership, if that exact car isn't there, their information would be out of date, says Lapin. "You could find a similar car, but your research would be a little less valid," he says.
However, if a consumer finds an alternative car choice, he could use the app to determine the car's real-time value and see if there are any incentives on the new auto, says Lapin.
In addition to the Kbb.com app, there's also the Edmunds app for iPhone. It allows users to look up a car manufacturer's suggested retail price, or MSRP, as well as the Edmunds-designated target price. According to Edmunds.com, a similar app for the Android platform will be released soon.