Using a Zubie Key: A Year in Review



Almost a year ago I purchased a Zubie Key, which is a device that can be used to track the location, and monitor the status, of a vehicle through a vehicle’s OBD-II port. This device has a built-in cellular connection and requires a yearly subscription fee of about $100. My motivation at the time was to integrate it into my home automation setup, which I actually did by connecting it to the IFTTT service combined with text message notifications that my home automation software can receive and process.

A year later I am uncertain whether or not I will continue to pay for the service. Mind you, it is not bad and has lived up to my expectations. But with daycare and various other child-related costs I’m not sure that it’s worth (that suddenly more valuable amount of) $100.

It keeps track of my driving routes and speeds, and while it could prove very useful in specific situations, on a day-to-day basis it’s not been critical for my needs (there are certainly many use cases, especially for businesses, where such a device is worth far more than what it costs each year).

Each time the car arrives at home the computer announces that my car is home. On Friday evenings it will play a song via iTunes. I’ve used it calculate mileage for a couple of trips when I forgot to log the mileage on the odometer.

The Zubie is also able to report problems with my vehicle though in nearly all cases I was already aware of any issues the engine could report and I already have a diagnostic cable and software for interpreting engine codes. It reports fuel level but that’s something I’m also usually very aware of.

So, in the end, I’m not certain that I will renew. It’s useful but I can’t say that I’m doing anything that is essential with this.

If you have a teenager that is learning to drive then this tool would probably be very, very valuable but my son has yet to learn to walk and the ‘cool factor’ of some of these integrations simply may not be enough to compel me to renew.

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