Technology Specialist FAQ

Technology Specialist FAQ

Even though the other Technology Specialists and I offer our assistance on all 21 brands West Herr offers, including all pre-owned vehicle brands, we get a lot of the same kinds of questions repeatedly. So I thought I’d post a few of our more frequently asked questions and talk you through our responses.

Question: I’ve heard some many amazing things about Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. My car doesn’t have those features built in. Can I add them?

Answer: It depends on what kind of vehicle you have. If it’s a little bit older and is made to easily take the factory radio out freeing up a double din sized space, you can always add an aftermarket Android Auto/ Apple CarPlay head unit through our Vehicle Accessories location. On newer vehicles it gets a little more tricky. Within the last 5 or so years, a lot of manufacturers have begun placing vehicle settings and controls in the in-dash infotainment systems. Removing these radios to put another in would either be impossible or very unsafe. For answers on your specific vehicle, contact our Vehicle Accessories location.

Question: My phone used to connect with my car no problem. Lately it hasn’t been. Help!

Answer: Usually the quickest and most effective fix is the simplest: Power your phone all the way down, leave it off for 30 seconds, and power it back up again. Our phones are basically little computers, and just like a computer if we leave them on for too long without a restart they start to misbehave. I recommend to smart phone users that they should restart their phones 2-3 times a week for best performance. Flip phone users can get away with once a week.

If that doesn’t work, I suggest to people to un-pair the phone from the vehicle and start over. This involves deleting the car as a connected device in the phone’s settings menu, and deleting the phone as a connected device from your car’s settings menu. Once both sides have completely forgotten about each other, pair the phone to the vehicle from scratch, and that will 99% of the time solve that issue.

Question: My voice command system in my vehicle seems to always have trouble figuring out what I’m trying to say. How can I make it understand me?

Answer: more often than not, the biggest problem people have with their voice command system is beginning to talk before the “beep” the voice command system plays. After the vehicle asks you what you’d like to do, wait for the beep, pause a second, and then give your command. I promise your car will understand you so much more accurately and you’ll have a much happier time speaking commands rather than trying to use the touch screen while driving.

Question: Can’t I just get a vehicle without these screens and technology? Give me back my bench seat, AM and FM radio only, and crank windows!

Answer: Technology is not only not going away, it’s quickly becoming government mandated. For example, as of 2018, all new vehicles will be required to come with a backup camera standard. So that means in-dash infotainemnt systems are not a fad that’s going away. Now if an automaker wanted to make a “retro styled” vehicle that was as easy on the technology as possible and brought back some classic stylings, that would be great, but sadly I don’t think that’s going to happen. That’s why the Technology Specialists are always here to help make things easier for you!

Stay Connected,
Andy

App Focus: Nissan and Infinity Apps

App Focus: Nissan and Infinity Apps

In this week’s edition of App Focus, we take a look at all three (yes, three!) apps available to Nissan and Infinity Customers. Each of these apps has their own specific functionality, and they do their jobs well. Nissan Connect for entertainment, Nissan Connected Services for safety and connectivity, and Nissan Quick Guide for a great selection of How-To videos and information about your specific model of vehicle.

nissan connect appApp Name: Nissan Connect, Infinity InTouch

Features:

  • Allows for better app integration with vehicles
    • Pandora
    • Facebook*
    • Twitter*
    • IHeartRadio*
    • Google Search*
    • Trip Advisor*

*Only available on vehicles with built in navigation

  • iPhones must be plugged in, Android phones must be over bluetooth
  • Only one phone can be authorized for the vehicle

Cost: Free for 3 years from the vehicle’s original purchase date

Process:

  • Upon taking delivery, your sales person will create login information on a system called Ncar that will be emailed to you.  If your salesperson didn’t complete their delivery with Ncar you can sign up for access just by downloading the app and following the “Create Account” process.

nissan connect servicesApp Name: NissanConnect Services, Infiniti InTouch Services

Features:

  • NissanConnect Services ($11.99 /month after trial)
    • Automatic collision notification
    • Emergency roadside assistance and emergency call
    • Stolen vehicle locator
    • Vehicle health reports and scheduled maintenance reminders
  • NissanConnect Services Premium ($19.99 /month after trial)
    • NissanConnect Services AND
    • Key fob services
    • Advanced Alert Services
      • Boundry alerts
      • Curfew alerts
      • Speed alerts
      • Valet alerts
  • NissanConnect Services Premium Plus ($24.99 /month after trial)
    • NissanConnect Services Premium AND
    • Connected search
    • Assisted search
    • Journey planner
    • Google send-to- car

Process:

  • Same login information as NissanConnect app

nissan quick guideApp Name: Nissan Quick Guide

Features:

  • How-to- videos for current and past Nissan vehicles

Cost: Free

I’m of the opinion that all Nissan owners should have the Nissan Quick Guide app on their smartphone or tablet. It’s a treasure trove of resources that will help you understand your vehicle better, and get the most out of your ownership experience. As always, the Technology Specialists are always here to help!

Stay Connected,
Andy

Self Parking Vehicles: The Future is Here

Self Parking Vehicles: The Future is Here

Many newer vehicles such as Ford, Lincoln, Cadillac, and even the new Chevy Malibu have to option to be equipped with a self parking feature. This function allows your vehicle to take advantage of the cameras and sensors that the vehicle is equipped with and use them to find you a parking spot, whether you’re parallel parking on the side of the road or perpendicular parking in a parking lot.

The settings and procedures are a little different for each brand, but the basics of how to use this system are as follows:

  1. Press the Parking Assist button to activate the system. Some vehicles have a button with a letter P and a picture of a steering wheel, other systems have a button with a letter P and two rectangles, representing a space between two other vehicles.
  2. Follow the directions on screen. Once a space is found, you’ll hear a beeping sound and you’ll see instructions on the screen between your gauges on your dashboard. Typically the system will ask you to shift your vehicle into reverse, since your vehicle will almost always back into the space it has found.
  3. Once you’ve shifted into reverse, take your hands off the wheel. You control the speed of the parking process, but the wheel will turn on it’s own to angle you in the space the car has found for you.
  4. Continue following the on screen directions, shifting to drive and reverse as the system asks. Once the vehicle is where the parking system thinks it should be, you’ll hear another beep, letting you know the process is complete.

This process is honestly a little nerve wracking the first time you try it, but there are a few things to keep in mind when using this system to give you some piece of mind.

  • You are in control, not the car. Yes the wheel will turn on it’s own, but if you grab the wheel at all, they system disengages and you’re driving as normal.
  • You control the speed. Even though it’s steering for you, you are in control of how fast the car will move, if at all. If you believe you’re going too fast, or believe the system is wrong somehow, you have the ability to come to a stop and disengage the system at any point.
  • You control the transmission. The parking assist system doesn’t have any control over whether the vehicle is in reverse, drive, or park. You maintain control over this vital functionality.
  • If you’re interested in testing this feature out, find a parking lot that isn’t too busy and take your time practicing with it. Trying your vehicle’s self driving feature on a busy street when it absolutely, positively has to work can be stressful and unsafe. Give your self the best chance to be successful when the time comes.

The bottom line is this feature is incredibly handy when it comes to finding a place to park in almost any situation. As revolutionary as it is for the vehicle to steer itself, you have to choose to give that control to the vehicle, while still being actively involved in everything else. This of course is some of the first steps to self driving vehicles. The future is here, and it might be on your new vehicle right now.

Stay Connected,
Andy

App Focus: ‘FordPass’ and ‘The Lincoln Way’

App Focus: ‘FordPass’ and ‘The Lincoln Way’

For this installment of App Focus we’ll be looking at the “FordPass” and “The Lincoln Way” apps. It provides a lot of great functionality, and for 2017 Escapes, Fusions, and F-150s with Sync Connect equipped, you’ll also have access to key fob services that allow you to lock, unlock, and remote start your vehicle from your vehicle.

The instructions below are very detailed, but that’s intentional. I wanted to give more specific directions to make sure everyone had an opportunity to access this incredibly useful app.

App Name: Ford Pass, The Lincoln Way

Features:

  • Key fob functionality (available for 2017 Escape, Fusion, and F-150 equipped with Sync Connect)
  • Reserve and Pay for Parking in 160+ Cities (not Buffalo or Rochester yet, sadly)
  • Connect with dealership service department
  • Call for emergency roadside assistance

Cost: Free for 5 years from the vehicle’s original purchase date

Process:

  1. Download FordPass from the App Store or Google Play. If you already have a Ford Owner account, you can log in using your username and password. If not, you can create an account via the FordPass app with some basic information.
  2. Create a four-digit PIN for security. Or iPhone users can use Touch ID.
  3. Add your SYNC Connect-equipped vehicle to FordPass using the vehicle identification number (VIN) by:
    a. Tapping the My Vehicles card.
    b. Tap Add Vehicle.
    c. Enter the VIN bar code—found on the inside of the driver’s door of your vehicle—by scanning with your phone’s camera, or by typing it in. You can also create a nickname for your vehicle.
    d. A confirmation message will confirm your VIN.
    e. Tap finish.
    f. After you add your vehicle, a screen will display. Tap Activate SYNC Connect.
  4. Start your vehicle.
  5. A pop-up message will appear on the SYNC 3 touchscreen. Touch Allow on your SYNC 3 touchscreen. Another pop-up message will appear within 24 hours. Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to access most* remote features through FordPass.
  6. For security, another pop-up message displays on the SYNC 3 touchscreen—you must touch Allow a second time in your vehicle to complete the process.
  7. Touch Allow.
  8. Touch Continue at the GPS notification on the touchscreen when it appears. You’ll now be able to enjoy all the available remote features through FordPass

I’m the first to acknowledge that there’s a lot of little steps here. If you have any trouble with it, let me know and I’ll be more than happy to help get this app up and running for you.

Stay Connected,
Andy

What Does That Button Do? Vol 3

Welcome back to another installment of “What Does That Button Do?” Today we’re going to go over a few buttons that look complicated and maybe a little intimidating but are actually quite simple. These won’t be found on all vehicles, only when equipped by the manufacturer.
Memory-seat-buttonsMemory Seat Buttons – Some higher end vehicles with power seats are also equipped with memory seat functionality. This allows different drivers to have different seating positions, mirror positions, and even steering wheel positions if your vehicle is equipped with a power steering wheel adjuster. Each brand has different procedures for how to program their memory seat buttons, so you’ll need to consult your owners manual for instructions specific to your vehicle.

electronicparkingbrakeElectronic Parking Break – For a lot of newer vehicles, gone are the days of having a lever you pull to engage your parking break. They’ve been replaced by the button you see pictured, and it’s as easy you use as you’d imagine. Just press the button when you’re in park and the parking break engages. Press the button while your foot is on the brake to release. There’s really nothing to it. The hardest part is knowing what the button does.

toyota snow buttonSNOW Mode Button (Toyota) – According to the owner’s manual, you can “use snow mode for accelerating and driving on slippery road surfaces, such as on snow.” Often times when you start up from a stopped position in snowy conditions, like a red light or stop sign, your wheels might spin in place for a few seconds before you can get moving again. Pressing the SNOW button reduces the likelihood of your wheels slipping when you take off. This will often be found on larger Toyota vehicles like a Highlander or a 4Runner.

I hope that gives you some much needed insight!

Stay Connected,
Andy

App Focus: General Motors “MyBrand” Apps

App Focus: General Motors “MyBrand” Apps

More and more, vehicles are being released with corresponding apps that allow you to be more connected with your vehicles than was previously possible. Different brands have different apps, and these different apps all have different functionality at different costs.

So begins another series here on the WestHerr.com blog: App Focus. Occasionally I’ll be highlighting a different manufacturer’s app, and how to make it work with your vehicle. We begin with GM vehicles.

App Name: MyChevrolet, MyGMC, MyBuick, MyCadillac

Screenshot_20170601-220635Features:

  • Key fob functionality (Ability to lock, unlock, and remote start if equipped)
  • Digital owner’s manual
  • How-To Videos
  • Check for recalls
  • Location services
  • Schedule service appointments
  • Request roadside assistance
  • Vehicle status (with OnStar subscription)
  • Send Navigation to vehicle (with OnStar subscription)

Cost: Free for 5 years from the vehicle’s original purchase date (OnStar Basic Plan)

This functionality is mostly available on 2011 vehicles and up, but that varies for a few specific models. Check with a technology specialist or your salesperson if you’re not sure if your vehicle is recent enough to use this service.

These apps replaced the previous “OnStar Remote Link” app that was available for GM vehicles. These new apps, one for each vehicle line, are still powered by OnStar. If you’ve previously signed into the “OnStar Remote Link” app, the same username and password will work for your new “MyBrand” app.

When you purchased your vehicle you should have got an email from welcoming you to your brand’s owner center. Clicking through the email and following the steps therein will complete the rest of this process for you. The steps I’m listing below are for folks who have had their vehicles for a while and don’t have the app set up yet.

The process essentially is creating an OnStar.com account online, make sure your vehicle is linked to it, and then use that sign in information at the app’s login screen. Here are the details;

Process:

  1. Go to OnStar.com and click “Sign Up” in the “My Account” drop down menu
  2. Enter your email address as a username, and create a new password
  3. An email will be sent to you to confirm the email address is real and active. Click on the link provided in that email
  4. You’ll be asked to confirm your zip code and/or your OnStar account number. (You can find your OnStar account number simply by pushing the blue OnStar button and asking an advisor)
  5. Continue to the owners center screen
  6. Download the appropriate MyBrand app on your cell phone or tablet
  7. Sign in with that email address and password you provided on OnStar.com

If this process give you any difficulty you can always press the blue OnStar button on your rear-view mirror, or call one of the Technology Specialists to help.

Stay Connected,
Andy

What Does That Button Do? Vol 2

What Does That Button Do? Vol 2

Welcome back to another installment of “What does that button do?” Today I’ll be going over the just some of the buttons that have to do with the advanced safety system that may be equipped on your vehicle. These features are state-of-the-art and may be buttons you’ve never seen prior to test driving and taking your new car home. They may be located on the dash of your vehicle or steering wheel, if so equipped.

follow distance button

The “follow distance gap” button works in concert with your adaptive cruise control system. For example, if you are using the cruise control system to keep your speed at 55 mph, and the person in front of you is traveling at 45, the combination of sensors and cameras on the vehicle will see this and back your speed off to 45 mph as well until that person is no longer in front of you. This button allows you to control how closely you’d like to follow the person in front of you when the adaptive cruise control is functioning. When you press this button you’ll see a picture of a vehicle on the smaller screen in between your vehicle’s gauges. This car picture will be accompanied by 1, 2, or 3 bars. This represents your chosen follow distance: near, medium or far. The actual distance will vary based on how fast you’re going. The faster you’re driving, the longer each of these distances will be, to allow for an appropriate reaction time.

LDW switch 2

The button with the car and the lane lines controls your Lane Departure Warning system. The same forward facing camera that assists your adaptive cruise control also acts as the eyes for this system. The camera looks ahead and tries to see the line on the road. When it finds them, the vehicle will let you know if you’re drifting in and out of your lane with an alert of some kind. If you change lanes and use your turn signal, the system won’t yell at you. Some vehicles are also equipped with a Lane Keep Assist function that not only will alert you when you veering out of your lane, but it will nudge the wheel in an effort to keep you in your lane.

auto high beam buttonAutomatic high beams is a fantastic new safety feature that does exactly what it sounds like, it turns your high beams on when there are no vehicles in front of you, and shuts them off when a vehicle is detected either as an oncoming position, or as tail lights appear for vehicles traveling in the same direction. This is not only a feature of convenience, it’s one of safety as well.

Knowing with these buttons do and how the safety technology works is incredibly important. Sometimes vehicle technology can be a distraction but when used correctly and in an informed manner it can be a tremendous tool for keeping you and your passenger safe on the roads.

Stay connected,
Andy