Lesson 2: Rideshare Vehicle and Legal Requirements

Hello and welcome to your second lesson in course two at the Rideshare Academy. In this lesson, we will go in depth on vehicle specific requirements to become a rideshare driver.

Whether you have completed lesson one or are jumping in now, be sure to review the previous material so you can have a firm understanding of the terms and phrases used.

Lyft’s Vehicle Requirements

Some of the requirements necessary when driving for Lyft are shared across the United States. However, there are many that are different depending on which state you are driving in.

Additionally, there are also personal requirements that differ by state and/or city. They can all be found on Lyft’s website, but we’ll provide a brief outline of the more popular cities vehicle manufacturing year requirements. Unless you see a different number listed below or on their website the general requirements is that your car is year 2005 or newer.

  • Alabama: Birmingham, Huntsville
  • California (all cities)
  • Colorado (all cities)
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Hawaii (all cities)
  • Illinois: Bloomington
  • Illinois: Chicago
  • Louisiana: New Orleans
  • Maryland (all cities)
  • Massachusetts (all cities)
  • Minnesota: Duluth
  • Minnesota: Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Nebraska: Omaha
  • Nevada: Las Vegas
  • Nevada: Reno
  • New Jersey (all cities)
  • New York: New York City
    Age requirements determined by the TLC
  • North Carolina: Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham
  • Pennsylvania (all cities)
  • Ohio: Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo
  • Oregon: Portland
  • Rhode Island: Providence
  • Tennessee: Nashville
  • Texas: Austin & Dallas
  • Virginia: Virginia Beach
  • Virginia (all other cities)
  • Washington: Seattle

Lyft Mechanical Requirements

Furthermore, all Lyft vehicles must have at least four doors. All of the doors need to be able to open from both the inside of the vehicle and the outside. This really goes without saying, but all doors also must be able to lock and unlock from the inside.

Here’s a list of some other requirements that are in place for a vehicle to pass Lyft’s standards:

  • The suspension, brakes, engine and steering all need to be in working order.
  • Your car must have at least five seat belts, and they all need to be fully functional.
  •  All necessary lights on your vehicle have to be working. This includes the headlights, brake lights, turn signals, and reverse lights.
  • Make sure the body of the car doesn’t have any scratches, dents, or any other sort of damage.
  • The vehicle’s windows have to all be free of cracks of any size. Furthermore, the windows on the sides need to be able to roll up and down
  • The horn has to work.
  • Both front seat adjusters need to be able to move backward and forward.
  •  The car’s heater and air conditioner need to be in working order. This isn’t just for your comfort, it’s for your passenger’s.

Uber’s Vehicle Requirements

Uber’s requirements for driving are a tad bit more complicated than Lyft. This is due by and large to the fact that Uber serves not just the USA, but other countries around the world as well.

Moving forward with the process it is important that you know whether or not your car meets Uber’s standards. Now, Uber has a plethora of different requirements for each individual city. Because of this we have compiled a list of major cities below. Unless stated below or on their website the car must be a year 2007 or newer.

  • Chicago: 2001
  • DC: 2005
  • New York City: 2011
  • Los angeles: 2000
  • Denver: 2001
  • Milwaukee: 2001
  • Boston: 2001
  • Atlanta: 2005

Uber’s Mechanical Requirements

Aside from the year your car was manufactured, you must also pass a vehicle inspection. This can be performed by a trained mechanic at a third party location. Often times it will be at a Sprint retailer or at a storefront of one of Uber’s major partners. These are called “Greenlight hubs”. You may also print the form online and take it to a certified mechanic, but this option will likely not be free.

The mechanic needs to check that all of your headlights, break lights, turn signals and reverse lights are working. He also looks at your break pads to determine if they are too worn down and need to be replaced as well as your tires.

Finally, he or she will inspect that your steering wheel, gear shift, horn, windshield wipers, speedometer and emergency break are functional. Essentially, if there is a safety device or moving part on your car it will be inspected for damage and functionality.

There are some specific “no-no’s” that apply to any location if you want to drive with Uber:

  • You are not able to drive for Uber with a full-size van (Ford Transit, Ford E-Series, GMC Savana)
  • Taxis and other marked vehicles are not accepted.
  • The use of Crown Victoria is prohibited.
  • Uber does not allow the use of salvaged vehicles.

If your car does not meet these requirements for whatever reason, you can always re-apply and have your car inspected again. Most of these are easy fixes and could be done at home like changing a bulb or a fuse.

Specifically, we would not recommend going to a mechanic unless you have an electrical, transmission or engine related problem or if you need a windshield or internal part replaced that can not be done without removing any other parts.

Some of Uber and Lyft’s other platforms, like UberX or LyftPlus, have entirely different criteria for passing the minimum requirements. We will delve into that can of worms in another lesson. For now, focus on your city/state and the corresponding vehicle requirements.

Vehicle and Legal Requirements Recap

After you finish this lesson, review the material above and reflect on it. Before moving on to the next lesson, here are some questions about the material. Answer them in your head!

  1. What is Lyft’s general requirement for the year of your vehicles manufacturing?
  2. What is Uber’s general requirement for the year of your vehicles manufacturing?
  3. Can you pass Lyft’s vehicle inspection with a two door car?
  4. What is a location called when a third party storefront facilitates a vehicle inspection for Uber?
  5. Can You use a salvaged vehicle to drive with Uber?
  6. What kind of mechanical issues should you fix on your own if your car does not pass the inspection?

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