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(Credit: Screenshot by Download.com)

Not being able to find your car in a parking lot is frustrating. Having your car towed is exasperating. But having your car stolen is terrifying.

Tiashona Sims' vehicle was stolen in Indiana while her two young cousins were still inside. Sims had left her car running while she went into the grocery store. When she came back out, the car was gone, according to News 8.

Sims called 911 and opened the SyncUp Drive app (iOS, Android) on her smartphone. With the help of the app, police were able to quickly find Sims' car, safely recover the kids, and take the suspect into custody.

SEE: New 'Call Me Out' app by Chevrolet hopes to reduce distracted driving

The SyncUp Drive app and the OBD-II companion device are available for T-Mobile customers.

"T-Mobile SyncUP Drive is a new way to make your car smarter," T-Mobile's website explained.

The OBD-II device plugs in under the driver's side dash just above the brake pedal. You can see if your car is compatible on T-Mobile's website. The company said the device works with most vehicles 1996 or newer.

SyncUP Drive can help keep your family safe behind the wheel, whether your teen is driving for the first time or someone is on their commute.

With GPS enabled, you can track all your family's vehicles in real-time without distracting the driver with a text. Users also can get notifications when a family member leaves and arrives at their destination.

SyncUP can also help teens become better drivers by analyzing driving behavior. The app can review your trips to get an idea of how, where, and when you're behind the wheel. You can set speeding alerts to encourage safer driving, too.

If you forget where you parked in a packed lot or garage, the app can find it quickly using GPS and Google StreetView. If the OBD-II is removed, someone bumps your car or (hopefully not) hits it, you'll get a notification too.

The app keeps an eye on your vehicle's "health." SyncUP gives an overview of your fuel level, battery voltage, mechanical trouble, any potential recalls or service bulletins, and the nearest mechanic if needed.

The app can also create a Wi-Fi hotspot so you don't go over your data listening to music or using the maps service on trips.

If you're not a T-Mobile customer but still want to access similar safety features, there are other options. You can check out the Call Me Out app (Android) from Chevrolet that seeks to reduce distracted driving. Google Maps (iOS, Android) also added new features for commuters.

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Takeaways

  1. T-Mobile's SyncUP Drive app and companion device can help you find your car if it's stolen, towed, or if you forgot where you parked it.
  2. The app helps encourage good driving habits, checks on regular maintenance, creates a Wi-Fi hotspot, and sends family members alerts on driver's arrivals and departures.

Also see

Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's Download.com. She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Louisville.com. Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.