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What Are the Vehicle Requirements for Uber and Lyft?

Uber and Lyft are pretty much exactly the same when it comes to car requirements.  There may be a few little differences here and there, but generally they are exactly the same.  So, in this video, Sam looks at the requirements for Uber as those will generally cover Lyft’s requirements as well.

As we talk about car requirements it’s important to keep in mind that the requirements do differ from city to city.  No two cities have exactly the same requirements, so while this will give you a broad overview and probably be pretty close to your city’s requirements, you should always check with the Uber and Lyft website and / or your local offices to make sure.

And keep in mind that everything said here was already slightly out of date the minute it was published!

How Old Can Your Car Be?

Checking with Uber and Lyft in your city to find out what age range of cars they allow would be one of the first things you would want to do before getting a car to drive for them.  You want to make sure you have a make and model that they approve, but you also want to make sure the car is within the right age range.

If you’re getting a car with the intention of using it to drive for Uber and Lyft, you probably don’t want to get one that is in its final year of what they allow.  For instance, if they say they accept vehicles as old as 2004 models, you probably don’t want to get a 2004 because by next year, their minimum will normally have raised to by another year – and in this case that would mean 2005.  So, your 2004 vehicle will only be good with them for a few more months.

If you’re buying a car, we recommend getting a car that is 3-4 years old.  That’s because it’s old enough that most of its depreciation has already been incurred, so you won’t lose a lot of money on that.  Also the car will cost a lot less than it would new.  And if making a profit as a driver is your goal, you’re really going to want to get the absolute cheapest acceptable car that you can.  But, you don’t want to get an eight or ten year old car because it will soon run up against Uber’s and Lyft’s age deadlines.

Sam is in Minnesota, and in Minnesota, Uber requires that all X cars must be 2004 models or newer.  But in nearby Nebraska, a car can be as old as a 2002 model!  Apparently in Nebraska they’re a little more desperate for drivers so they have a more lenient age requirement for the cars.

But, then you have places like Portland, OR where cars must be no older than 2007 models.  In California the cut off year is 2004 – for all California cities.

Car Basics for Uber & Lyft

The most basic requirements for uberX and Lyft vehicles are:

  • That they have four doors
  • And that they have 5 total seats (including the driver’s seat), so it can legally carry up to 4 passengers
  • Also, they must meet the local age requirement
  • Must have working air conditioning and heating
  • Can’t be a taxi cab or painted like a taxi cab
  • Can’t be a police vehicle or any other official government vehicle

Outside of these requirements are a number of other basic requirements.  Things that all cars that are street legal will easily meet.  Things like having seatbelts and turn signals, those types of things.  As long as your car meets all legal requirements, it should be good to go.

But, just to make sure, Uber and Lyft both require that you have your car inspected at an approved inspection facility.  Inspections generally cost around $35.  You pay just one time and the inspection will cover you for both Uber and Lyft.  They’ll check things like your car’s lights, the body, the tires, basic things like that.

Uber’s Different Levels of Service

It’s worth noting that uberX (and Lyft) aren’t Uber and Lyft’s only service levels.  They have several other levels of service and that too varies from city to city.  Some cities have services that aren’t available everywhere, like uberBLACK and uberSUV.  Also, uberSELECT is not available everywhere.  And uberLUX, for the moment at least, is only available in Los Angeles.

uberXL is the next up level are service and it’s equivalent on Lyft called Lyft Plus.  It’s an extra-large, non-luxury car.  It’s like the larger version of uberX… not glamorous, but it gets the job done.  The rates on uberXL are about 20% higher than for uberX.  But as you go up each level, you’ll get fewer and fewer trips.

Each vehicle level that you move up – you can drive for that level and all levels beneath it.  Except for uberBLACK, SELECT and LUX.  Those levels cannot drive for uberXL – unless they have a vehicle that seats at least six people – including the driver.  The requirement for XL is that it can seat at least six people (including the driver), so five passengers total.

uberXL vehicles are usually four-door minivans.  Sometimes they are lower end SUVs, as opposed to the luxury SUVs Uber and Lyft require for their SUV branded service.  Sam has a Toyota Sienna that he uses as an XL vehicle.  That is one of the best XL vehicles there is because it has a huge amount of space for storage in the back.  It’s excellent for five-passenger pickups at the airport when each passenger has a lot of baggage.  However, it’s not a glamorous vehicle and some of your X passengers may be a little disappointed with it.  But your XL passengers will be delighted!

For uberBLACK and uberSUV and their corresponding services on Lyft, Lyft Lux and Lyft Lux SUV, drivers are required to have commercial licenses that allow them to drive for hire.  These are the only two services in Uber’s lineup that require these professional licenses.  The requirements do vary from state to state and city to city.

uberBLACK cars are high-end luxury cars, such as the Lexus ES.  uberSUV require high-end, luxury SUVs, such as the Lincoln Navigator, the MDX, the Q7 or Mercedes-Benz GL class.  The SUVs and Black cars must all be black on black, having black exteriors and interiors.


Video Transcription:

So I want to show you the vehicle requirements for both Lyft and Uber. Now, both of them are gonna be slightly different but very similar. Now each city is going to have a different requirement depending on their needs.

So vehicle age, this is going to be one of the most important things to take note, is your car new enough to be able to drive? Lyft vehicles have to be 2005 or newer unless listed below. So for example, California [is a] big market [and] 2004 is the oldest vehicle year.

Now the reason why they’re making it older more available is because they want more drivers, and making it older is giving a greater pool for the greater market.

Now I’m in Minneapolis, so Minnesota [is] 2004, 2002 [is] in Nebraska. Wow, they are really hurting. Is there anything under 2002? But you also got places like 2007 Portland, and I wonder if it shows… so California is all cities. So that would include San Francisco which is the hub and the mecca of rideshare.

Now there are basic things that you should also know, four doors, and this is all the stuff outside of the four doors. These things [your] engine, your seat belts, all this stuff, this stuff will be covered in your vehicle inspection, which is typically $35, and you can pay one time, and it will cover both Lyft and Uber. So they’ll check lights, body, [and] tires. I don’t need to go over this. You’re hopefully literate and you can read all this stuff. Window seat, all this stuff.

Now let’s go over the other big question. Now Lyft and Uber both have the most basic platform and that’s UberX and just Lyft. And that’s the economy class and this is what changed the game. Remember it used to be a limo service for Uber cab and they launched UberX in 2012, and that made it go crazy big.

Because everyday ordinary drivers can use their cars for everyday needs. Okay. So you didn’t need a license to have a limo and so forth.

And so UberX is the most basic, and I wanted to show different Uber selections because there is a Lyft equivalent that’s almost identical in every way, down to price and types of cars. So UberX is the most common one. You can read these things.

You can have a taxi cab, or government car marked vehicle that’s worth noting, of course, you need working windows, air conditioning. So again things that will be covered in the vehicle inspection.

And car model is 2002 or newer to qualify Uber, and they’re going to be stipulations within different cities. And they’re going to have popular models Chrysler, Dodge […] all this kind of stuff.

I have a Toyota Prius which is one of the best, top three, best rideshare cars. What other good ones…Sentra is great. So that’s UberX and that’s going to be the majority of us.

Now if you have a car that can fit six people or more you are now available for Uber XL or Lyft Plus, and this is a four-door SUV or a minivan. So I have a Sienna and with independently opening doors. All right.

So a similar thing and you can look at the different popular models. So, for example, I have a Sienna and these are the different ones that can fit.

Some of these that are Uber XL can fit for UberSELECT, BLACK, and SUV. However, it doesn’t always go both ways, all right. So let’s say if you had a black SUV, you can do UberSUV, which UberSUV is the most expensive, most lux platform that Uber has.

So, for instance, MDX, Q7, Excursion, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GL class, I mean these are nice cars, and those are really, really expensive fares.

Interior, it needs to be black only, it’s all about the black, black leather or vegan leather. What is that? But here’s the tricky thing about being…if you’re UberBLACK or UberSUV, you have to have a commercial insurance.

Commercial insurance and you need to be licensed. Okay, this is not like other cars. And so UberBLACK and UberSUV have the highest income potential, however, has more stipulations. And for some cities, I’m pretty sure there is the airport permit you need, and I think that’s going to be the case for all UberX too and Lyft Regular in the near future come 2018.

So UberSELECT is also one that many of you guys can consider because you may not have a luxurious car, but you have a car that is a little bit nicer. So these would be a lot of Audis, BMW, Buick, Cadillacs. So these are the ones.

So look at this carefully because you may have a car surprising that would fit under UberSELECT, and UberSELECT is way higher than UberX.

And so even if you get fewer rides with UberSELECT which is gonna be the case, everything but over UberX is going to have fewer rides.

However, if you take the rides and you execute them well, you may be able to get paid out more even though you take fewer rides. And noticed this, to be UberSELECT you need to have a 4.75 rating which is not hard to get, you should have at least a 4.9 or higher in my opinion, and then 25 rated trips. So only the best of the best and even this I think that’s a pretty pathetically low rating.

So those are the different ones, and one final note, if you do Uber Eats or delivery, you have a really low bar 1997. So just keep that in mind.

Perhaps rideshare is not for you because in this season of life you don’t have a car that fits it, but you know what, you probably have a car that fits for delivery. And there are other apps that you can use, that you can use your bike, or walk, or motorcycle or so forth.

So hopefully, that was helpful. Those are the vehicle requirements. This will be dated the moment I publish it. So please look online [and] Google vehicle requirements for Lift and Uber, and look at the updated ones, because every year they’re going to move it forward. So, I hope this was helpful.

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