Maintenance Monday: Metromile Helps You Keep Your Car’s Health In Check

One of the benefits of our OBD-II device is that it can help you identify ways to keep your car at peak performance. The diagnostic device helps provide transparency into key operational features of your car so that you can make every effort to keep your vehicle in the best possible shape. If you have any questions about the health of your car, or if you get a diagnostic trouble code, you can click on the “Ask a Mechanic” button to ask our on-staff mechanic for advice.

We often get asked who’s behind our “Ask a Mechanic” feature and we’re happy to share that we actually do have real humans acting as our in-house mechanics! One of those mechanics, “Mechanic Matt”, has agreed to contribute to our blog on what we call “Maintenance Mondays”. He’ll offer advice to help keep your car’s health in check.

Meet Matt

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I have been interested in cars ever since I was a young boy and in high school, I took an auto shop class where I realized that I had a future in the business of automotive repair. I studied at Cal State University Hayward, earning my degree in Small Business Management while working full time at a local repair shop as a technician.  After I received my degree , I obtained my certificate of ASE Master Technician and then obtained my California smog license certifying me to smog and repair every make and model vehicle. Twenty-seven years later, I still work at that same local repair shop, except now, I am the owner. As a team we strive to provide the absolute best customer service and auto repair in the Bay Area.

I have a passion of older cars, for their beauty and brawn, but thrive on all of the new technological advances of modern vehicles, especially when it comes to alternative fuel vehicles. I joined Metromile about a year ago and now hold the position of “Mechanic Matt”. My duties include responding to customer needs and concerns about their vehicles maintenance requirements, operations, the understanding and severity of diagnostic trouble codes, and repair guidance. I enjoy the creative atmosphere that Metromile has developed and look forward to sharing my knowledge with all of you!

Spring Break Road Trip Checklist

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Spring break is getting closer and for many people, that means road trip! Road trips used to be a lot more DIY than they are now (remember paper maps!?) — Our cell phones have changed that. These days, the connected car is making driving, including long road trips, much easier and enjoyable but it’s still a luxury that many don’t have. Metromile, however, is on a mission to empower drivers by creating a more connected and informed driving experience by putting the right tools in drivers hands. 

As we approach Spring Break, especially with road trips in mind, Metromile offers benefits that will help take the guesswork out of car travel but there’s a few other must have’s for every road trip:

  • Your cell phone – make sure you can check in with family and friends on the road or have it handy in case of an emergency. Plus, there’s fun apps to help you find the cheapest gas in the area or keep up with your MPG, trip logs and car health with the Metromile app (and plugged in Pulse device)
  • A phone charger
  • Water – stay hydrated!
  • Roadside assistance You never know what could happen on the road. Make sure you have the number ready on who to call. Services like AAA are great to keep you protected on the road and Metromile insurance customers receive free roadside assistance no matter where they are on the road!
  • A second set of keys– give them to one of your passengers to hold onto in case you get locked out.
  • Change your oil before the trip and check tire pressure – it’s always important to check the basics of your car health before you head out on a road trip. Metromile users will always have access to their car health via the app and if there’s a problem, they’ll be alerted.
  • Bring insurance information – keep a copy of your insurance card in your glove box! Metromile insurance customers can always access a copy of their policy directly via their Metromile App so there’s less panic if there’s trouble.
  • A road emergency kit – It’s a good idea to throw in jumper cables, a gas can, road flares and the like just in case. It’s also not a bad idea to pack a medical emergency kit even if you find you just need an Advil or a Band-Aid.
  • Film for your camera

Enjoy the road and wherever it may take you!

Metronome Safety Precautions

In today’s era of the “connected car”, various devices, specifically OBD-II readers, are in the market touting ways to make your driving life easier. Just because they all plug into the same port doesn’t mean they all do the same things.

Most log miles, monitor fuel consumption, and decode to “check engine” lights. The differences come in the other features provided by each company. Whereas others assess driving behavior and give users a score of judgement, Metromile doesn’t bother with this type of scrutiny. We focus on using measured miles to deploy pay-per-mile insurance; your behavior is not tracked at all by the device to determine risk. We also provide street sweeping alerts (in San Francisco and Chicago) so drivers can avoid those costly tickets.

Software programs (firmware) enable these feature differences, and like any software, security precautions can be put in place to safeguard the integrity of information and prevent abuse.

Recently, telematics devices from Progressive and Zubie have come under scrutiny for being susceptible to being exploited because they rely on unsigned firmware updates being downloaded in the clear.

With Progressive specifically, researchers at Florida-based Digital Bond Labs say they have uncovered major problems the SnapShot device that Progressive Insurance uses to measure the driving habits of participating customers. By reverse-engineering the device, they gained access to a network that allows control of critical vehicle functions, like steering, braking and throttle inputs. The SnapShot device has been used in more than two million vehicles since 2008 – that makes a lot of cars open to hacking.

We’ve been asked if a similar loophole exists in our security protocol and we want to reiterate that, at Metromile, we take the security of our products and services very seriously. Our telematics device, the Metronome, is not susceptible to the type of exploits tested on Progressive’s SnapShot device since both firmware and configuration updates to the Metronome are done via encrypted channels and all downloaded artifacts are digitally signed.

Connected telematics devices such as our Metronome are powerful because data is accessed to measure and simplify many aspects of driving and owning a car. We firmly believe in implementing security protocols to ensure the safety of your personal data and defend against any attacks.

For questions, please visit our Community Forum or email security@metromile.com.