Rideshare drivers need to take care of their wheels—after all, you’ll only perform your job as much as your vehicle can perform its job. If you’ve been on the grind as an Uber or Lyft worker for a while, you’ll want to consider your basic car maintenance. In fact, it’s best to keep and follow a car maintenance checklist throughout the year to maximize your performance. So then, what exactly is a car maintenance checklist, and how important is basic car maintenance? We aim to answer those questions in the ensuing article.
A car is a necessary tool for a rideshare driver. It’s even considered a business asset by legal standards, owing itself to an independent contractors’ personal business. As with most things, motor vehicles depreciate with time. If you’re a Lyft or Uber driver, car repair is a must. Regular car maintenance improves long-term and short-term durability and decreases the likelihood of a breakdown, which could cost thousands you might not have. And even though general maintenance is one of the best tax deductible expenses for rideshare drivers, why waste the time and energy if you can avoid it?
Do yourself and your car a favor – keep a car maintenance checklist. Here are the best car maintenance tips for Uber or Lyft drivers.
The Best Car Maintenance Checklist for Busy Drivers
Aside from the general tips here, your first line of defense should always be your car’s user manual. If you don’t have one, check online for the best upkeep for your vehicle’s make and model. This checklist includes the most essential parts of your vehicle for Uber and Lyft car maintenance, arriving in order of which things should be checked most frequently:
Tire pressure: This should be checked about once a week. While you’re getting the right pressure, look out for large gashes or super thin rubber—those are tell-tale signs that a tire change is soon to be due. Also, be aware of the environment around your tires before pulling out of any public parking space – wouldn’t want a glass bottle ruining your work shift!
Brakes and headlights: Your headlights must illuminate the night clearly. Change any flickering or dim lights immediately. On top of that, it’s best to check beneath your car for any leaking fluid. If so, take it to the shop to get it looked at, especially if you can’t pinpoint the problem.
Windshield wiper fluid: Be sure you also have enough windshield wiper fluid, especially during the winter months! Keep an extra bottle in the trunk at all times for good measure. It’s a small chore, but it makes a huge difference.
Dashboard alerts: The final thing to be aware of is any dashboard alerts related to the status of your vehicle. Check them daily without fail. As a frequent driver for Lyft or Uber, car repair starts at the dashboard.
Check Every 4,000-6,000 Miles
Oil changes: When you’re a rideshare driver, the mileage increases twice as fast. That means the oil gets dirtier faster. Oil is like the blood of the car; absolutely one of the most essential components for a smooth-running vehicle. Depending on the type of fuel needed for your car, you’ll have to change the oil at a different rate. Traditional oil requires a change at about every 5,000 miles. Synthetic oils are said to be more durable.
Drivers located in a more hot climate, sandy/dusty climate, or who often drive long distances on highways will need to change their oil more frequently. It’s therefore more of a bi-weekly or tri-weekly rideshare oil change, dependent upon how much you’re driving. Start off checking every week and tally up an average.
Air filter: During the oil change is a good time to check the air filter. You’ll find this inside the hood, inside the cold air collector. Left for too long, and the filter becomes clogged, reducing airflow to the engine and changing the overall air-fuel balance. Avoid engine and spark plug pollution by changing your filter about once a month. You’ll also want to check your braking system during this process, or whenever your brakes feel less grippy than ideal. That includes your brake pads, rotors, and fluid.
Timing belt: Lastly, inspect your timing belt from time to time. If the timing belt should ever blow out it can destroy the entire engine! Look for wear and tear on the belt when you pop the hood.
Every 15,000 Miles or After 6 months
At this point, have a mechanic look at your car. The tougher bits to check like the battery, spark plugs, and transmission are easier handled by a professional. In that case, find someone reputable who you can trust and rely on. While we recommend complete vehicle inspections at a less frequent pace, interim services are briefer and advisable after ~6,000 miles, so a quick check earlier on won’t hurt either.
Pro tip: Be extra sure to check your vehicle carefully before you take it to the road if you’re renting a car for Uber or Lyft.
Important Maintenance Tips
Like any great car maintenance checklist, we’ve included some practical advice to encourage longer-lasting and better-operating vehicles:
- Avoid Engine Idling As a rideshare driver, you’ll likely often find yourself waiting for ride requests or for arriving passengers at your pick-up location. Waiting just a few minutes is fine, but if you’re approaching 10 minutes, cut the engine. This will save you fuel and give your engine an easier time.
- Avoid Driving On Empty The fuel pump has to work extra hard to fuel the car when you drive on or nearing an empty tank. Fuel tanks are costly to repair. Keep the gas dial well above ‘E’ if you can.
- Don’t Stop and Go A rookie mistake to make, avoid sudden acceleration followed by sudden stopping. Doing so not only wears out the brakes and runs more gas, but it’s also less comfortable for your passengers. Instead, cruise gently up to red lights and be a driver who gauges carefully the need for speed.
These are the best tips to maximize efficiency as a rideshare driver. For more tips on how to make money with Uber and Lyft, check out our respective blogs. If you’re looking to upgrade your car or you need money for repairs, you can download the Moves app to access a cash advance of up to $1,000!