CarCareCheck puts a mechanic in your smartphone

CarCareCheck co-founders Warren Paul Anderson, left, and Noah Gordon are developing a mobile app that can diagnose car problems.
CarCareCheck co-founders Warren Paul Anderson, left, and Noah Gordon are developing a mobile app that can diagnose car problems.

Your car’s check engine light just came on, and it could signal a serious problem or something as innocuous as a loose gas cap. How can you tell?

If the founders of CarCareCheck have their way, the answer will be simple: Look at your smartphone.

Business partners Noah Gordon, Warren Paul Anderson and Joshua Napoli are developing an onboard diagnostic device that plugs into a vehicle’s computer system and transmits information about the car to an application on the driver’s smartphone. The goal is to diagnose a problem and estimate the repair without consulting a mechanic.

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“You shouldn’t have to go into the repair shop for diagnostics because you’re wasting time for something that can be done in real time while you’re driving,” Gordon said. “This is our jingle: Save time, save money, and drive a safer car.”

CarCareCheck’s mission is promising enough to make the startup one of 128 finalists in this year’s MassChallenge, an annual accelerator program and competition for young companies. Entrepreneurs from a dozen countries moved into the MassChallenge shared office space in Boston’s Innovation District this week.

More than $1 million in cash awards and $15 million of in-kind support are on the table MassChallenge finalists over the next four months.

Gordon said CarCareCheck has received more than 1,000 pre-orders for the diagnostic device and app, which the company plans to roll out by the fall.