You can now retrofit connected tech to certain Fords

January 27, 2017

You don't have to buy a brand new car to have all the fun, Ford says. The Michigan automaker is set to release a plug-in system that will let them experience some advanced connectivity features like smartphone-based remote start, a vehicle locator, and a 4G wi-fi hotspot.

The SmartLink system that Ford plans to release this summer will allow owners to retrofit their vehicles with technology that wasn't necessarily available when their cars were built. Via a smartphone app and a module that plugs into 2010-2016 Ford and Lincoln vehicles' OBDII ports (that's the on-board diagnostic plug typically located in the driver's footwell), SmartLink lets owners connect to their cars via a smartphone app. 

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SmartLink talks with the car's computer systems and serves as a modem that operates over the Verizon network. SmartLink is accessed by the vehicle's owner on a smartphone app. 

That's tech that's now standard in many Ford and Lincoln vehicles—not to mention those built by numerous other automakers. But Ford is the first to allow owners of 2010-2016 model year vehicles not equipped with a built-in modem from the factory to get in on the fun. 

Ford has not yet released pricing details for the system. It's not clear if it will be a single charge or if there will be a monthly fee associated with the use of Verizon's 4G network. 

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