Have Lyft and Uber advertisements piqued your interest enough that you want to start earning some extra cash? Before you get too excited, take a close look at the vehicle requirements for these ride-hailing services. Your everyday ride might not meet the basic Lyft and Uber requirements, which vary from state to state and city to city. And that's not only true if your ride is a smoke-belching jalopy.
Lyft and Uber both require your car to have four doors, which may sound basic, but if one door is a jump door like an extended-cab pickup truck, it won't qualify for Lyft. Uber calls this out as having "independently opening passenger doors." The companies also require cars to pass inspections (state and/or inspections with the company) and be in "good condition" with no cosmetic damage. Vehicle inspection points may include working headlights, taillights, brake pad/shoe thickness, cracked windshield, tire tread life and more.
Does your car seat five to eight people, including the driver? If not, you won't qualify for Lyft. Does your car have commercial branding, like a vinyl wrap advertisement? If so, that disqualifies it for Uber.
The requirements not only vary by state, but also if you're considering the various body styles that can range from SUVs to luxury sedans with UberX, UberSUV, UberBlack, UberSelect and UberXL or Lyft, Lyft Lux, Lux Black and Lux Black XL.
How Old Can Your Car Be to Drive for Uber and Lyft?
Vehicle requirements vary depending on where you plan to drive. If you want to drive for Lyft or Uber in Washington, D.C., your car must be a 2008 model or newer. What about in Arkansas? If you drive for Lyft, your car can't be older than the 2002 model year. But in Little Rock, your car's model year can be up to 15 years old.
What Are the Driver Requirements for Lyft and Uber?
Of course, the car is only important if you, the driver, passes the company's requirements.
Lyft drivers must be at least 21 years old, own an iPhone or Android phone, have a Social Security number and a 1-year-old-or-more in-state driver's license; in some cities like New York City, a taxi/limousine driver's license is also required. You'll also need to pass a DMV check as well as national and county background checks. There may be extra requirements, depending on your state.
Uber drivers must be at least 21, too. Those younger than 23 years old must have a valid U.S. driver's license and at least three years of licensed driving experience in the U.S. Other criteria include proof of car insurance, a driver profile photo and passing a driver screening that includes criminal history and driving records. And yes, you need an iPhone or Android phone, too.
What If I Don't Own a Car?
You may not need to own a car to drive for either Lyft or Uber. If you want to rent a car to drive with Lyft, the Express Drive program partners with Hertz and Flexdrive (and possibly other companies they don't share) to offer weekly rentals to Lyft drivers. Read the fine print, though: Lyft requires a refundable deposit. The company doesn't reveal the rate, but several sites quote it as $250. You'll need to start an application to determine the rental fee, too.
Uber's Wheels by the Week is a car rental program similar to Lyft's. They've partnered with Hertz, Fair and Getaround. Hertz requires a $200 deposit and quotes a flat rate of $214 per week, according to Uber. Again, though, read the fine print: The driver's age and other factors vary.
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