A start-up software business, which opened this year in downtown Moscow, allows automotive shops to obtain a vehicle’s diagnostic data from the road so it can pinpoint small issues before they become expensive problems for drivers.

Moscow residents Isaiah Taylor, his father, Chris Taylor, and Matthew Jeffryes opened HoodHub at 113 E. Third St., between Main and Washington streets, earlier this year. The business is the former site of Wine Company of Moscow, which closed Dec. 31 after 40 years of operating downtown, including 29 years at the East Third Street location.

Isaiah Taylor said HoodHub created the HubLink, a device that plugs into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics port and allows the auto shop to track the car’s diagnostic data. He said it provides insight into the vehicle’s problems and the driver uses the HoodHub application to monitor his or her vehicle’s health and when the car needs to be serviced.

“That allows the auto shop to keep the customers’ cars more healthy and keep on top of their problems more directly,” Isaiah Taylor said.

For example, he said a check engine light might turn on. An auto shop, using HoodHub’s software, can leverage the data, diagnose the problem and communicate to the driver the severity of the problem. He said sometimes the problem is no big deal and other times the engine cylinders might be misfiring and the vehicle should be serviced before the situation worsens and becomes more expensive for the driver.

He said drivers typically call a repair shop when they have a car problem but HoodHub takes a proactive approach.

“We’d like to see that model switched up a little bit where, as your car starts to experience a problem your auto shop already knows about it,” he said. “They can already even troubleshoot it a little bit.”

He said the HubLink will allow auto shops to develop better relationships with their customers and allow customers’ vehicles to last longer.

“We want to see cars driving around with 300,000, 400,000 miles on them because they’ve just been taken care of so well,” he said.

Isaiah Taylor said HoodHub’s software is in the beta phase. Several auto shops across the country are using the technology, but Erber Auto on South Main Street in Moscow is the primary testing shop for HoodHub.

“The competitive space is not very developed yet,” Isaiah Taylor said. “It’s definitely a new space to be working directly between the auto shop and their customers.”

He said area customers who are interested in the software can take it to Erber Auto, which Isaiah Taylor co-founded.

“This idea kind of came out of a desire at Erber Auto to treat our customers as best we possibly can and really take it to the next level,” he said.

Isaiah Taylor said Erber Auto receives calls from disappointed or panicked drivers on the road with a car issue.

“We were just brainstorming,” he said. “How can we help these people really have peace of mind about their cars when they’re not just in the shop, when they’re not just in the lobby? That’s really where this idea grew out of. If we have access to the health of their car all the time then we can actually give them a call when their check engine light turns on no matter where they are.”

For more information, visit hoodhub.com.

Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to gcabeza@dnews.com.

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