Automotive Diagnostic App Wants to be Shazam For Your Car

If you’ve ever heard an unsettling noise coming from your old rustbucket of a car, but you didn’t have a clue what it could be, listen up. A new app called ClingClanger hosts a library of automotive failure noises, so car owners can try to match their broken car’s sound to help diagnose issues before visiting the mechanic.

George Salvat, president of Noise Tech, developed the ClingClanger app and free website to give car owners a better understanding of their car’s state of disrepair. “We’re trying to put the power back in the hands of the car owner, and help them make better choices at the repair shop,” said Salvat in a statement.

You might be wondering how Noise Tech went about gathering the dozens of possible sounds that a broken car can make. Where to find a car in such shambles that it could provide noises of a failing transmission, failed water pump, corroded ball joints, and bad shocks? “We’d get multiple vehicles from our partner at a junkyard,” Salvat told Automobile. When a car wasn’t already failing in a particular area, engineers would deliberately and systematically destroy that mechanical system to coax out the sound they needed to record for the library.

“We’d have to be careful though,” Salvat explained, “because we’d have to keep the cars running well enough to move on to the next destructive element.” Imagine team of automotive sadists giving poor clunkers a torturous, slow death — all in the name of the greater good.

The next step for the ClingClanger app, which costs $1.99 for Android or iPhone, is to add technology similar to the Shazam music app. Instead of listening and pairing the sounds yourself, the app would automatically match the sound coming from the car and identify the problem using the car noise library.

It’s not clear when this aspect will be added to the app, but there is a way to help build the library in the meantime. Noise Tech will advertise ClingClanger through mechanics, offering a $25 repair credit in exchange for providing a new car noise to the database.

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