November 15, 2023

Treads transforms app-based car maintenance with Smartcar's API

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

Treads uses Smartcar’s car API to help drivers better manage vehicle tire and maintenance costs, unlock predictive maintenance, and access on-demand vehicle management into one hardware-free solution.

At a glance

🚧 Problem: Treads wanted to deliver precise vehicle maintenance alerts through their app without requiring drivers to install aftermarket hardware.

💡 Solution: Treads used Smartcar's API and developer-friendly SDKs to seamlessly integrate all compatible connected cars to their mobile app.

📈 Results: With Smartcar’s integration, Treads can power its predictive maintenance feature by monitoring crucial metrics such as tire pressure, fuel range, and more.

The Treads app makes vehicle maintenance costs predictable — which is helpful considering how unexpected repairs can cost anywhere from $10 for a flat tire to $5000 for a transmission issue.

It bundles vehicle management services like tires, alignments, oil changes, wiper blade replacements, and even an auto insurance marketplace are bundled into a single application that drivers access with a monthly subscription fee.

Through our collaboration with Smartcar, Treads is advancing its vision of transforming how drivers interact with their vehicles. With the Treads app, drivers can now access their vehicle's vital information right from the palm of their hands.

— Zach Olson, founder and CEO at Treads

The rising costs of vehicle maintenance

A study by AAA found that one in three drivers in the United States cannot pay for an unexpected car bill. AAA urged vehicle owners to save at least $50 a month for these expenses to prevent future payment difficulties.

The Treads monthly subscription model uses this same approach to smooth out vehicle maintenance expenses while streamlining the process of scheduling services on demand right from the Treads app.

How does this app-based experience make a difference compared to buying these services from individual retailers?

👉 Drivers simply download the Treads app, connect all their vehicles, and select a subscription plan where they pay a simple monthly fee.

👉 Gives drivers digitized predictive maintenance and scheduling alerts to stay on top of routine vehicle checks instead and avoid expensive problems that build up over time.

👉 Allows intuitive scheduling by choosing mobile servicing or local auto shop locations based on which service option saves you the most time.

“Treads is designed for the everyday driver that may not know as much about their car or don’t really want to either,” says Zach Olson, founder and CEO at Treads.

Its users are the ones who don’t have the time to worry about servicing vehicles — whether it’s to eliminate hours at tire shops helping their kids get their tires changed or to get on-demand service if a driver is on the go all day doing rideshare and deliveries.

How Treads evaluated Smartcar as their EV API platform

✅ Reliability of the platform

Reliability and uptime are necessary for Treads to provide precise service notifications for customers. Smartcar's wide collection of standardized API endpoints allows Treads to easily retrieve vehicle data at regular intervals.

🧰 Ease of implementation

Treads was able to work efficiently with their existing developer resources using Smartcar's SDKs, standardized integrations, enterprise-grade security, and a pre-built consent-based OAuth2.0 flow. The ease of implementing Smartcar’s SDK into the Treads mobile app made working with Smartcar a no-brainer.

😍 Ease of use for drivers

Smartcar’s solution requires no additional hardware, making it easy for Treads users to connect their car to the app and receive timely alerts.

Why Treads decided to use Smartcar

From tires to oil changes, 24/7 roadside assistance, and predictive maintenance, Treads has a range of services that are only reliable with precise, up-to-date vehicle data.

The app used Bluetooth technology, GPS data, and smartphone telematics to get the right information from vehicles connected to the app. This technology is a good solution for older vehicles but is antiquated compared to a direct connection to connected vehicles.

For example, accidentally disconnecting your Bluetooth can compromise data accuracy or stop data collection from happening at all.

Treads realized that individual drivers don’t have access to tools that can help them maximize their own vehicle data without it being inconvenient or expensive.

“We recognized the need to pioneer a movement, enabling consumers to tap into their vehicle data in the same empowered way that commercial fleets do,"  Zach says.

With Smartcar’s API, Treads can democratize car data for its users without the burden of having them install additional hardware and learn how to use it properly.

How the integration with Smartcar works

The vehicle owner onboarding process via Smartcar’s user authorization flow is simple. Once drivers sign up for Treads, they can connect their car in a few quick steps:

  1. Select their car brand and sign in to their connected services account
  2. Review the data permissions requested by Treads
  3. Consent to sharing those specific data points

Implementing software-based integrations across all the vehicles connected to their app is a lot of work. Smartcar’s documentation and developer resources allowed the Treads team to move quickly and transform their data infrastructure in a matter of weeks.

Without a platform like Smartcar, we would have to piecemeal data from different APIs and sources, and it would be super laborious — it’s enough work for a whole separate company and unrealistic for an early stage one.

— Zach Olson, founder and CEO at Treads

Treads uses Smartcar’s API to automatically retrieve accurate data at set intervals, including tire pressure, odometer readings, fuel levels, EV battery levels, and engine oil levels.

This direct access to a vehicle’s telematics modem allows the app to monitor specific data points closely without compromising driver privacy.

A new budget-friendly way to maintain your vehicle

We’re excited to play a role in Tread’s vision of making vehicle maintenance a topic that isn’t stressful or intimidating for everyday drivers — whether they’re new to vehicle ownership or clocking in lots of mileage daily.

Download the Treads app on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to try it out!

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