Car Qualifications for Uber – My Car Doesn’t Qualify for Uber— Can I Still Drive?
If you currently own a car that is not ‘Uber Approved‘ — then this article is for you.
My Car Doesn’t Qualify, Can I Still Drive?
The short answer to this question is yes — you can still drive, even if your vehicle does not qualify. If you are a prospective driver, you’re still able to submit an application, even if you do not currently own a vehicle that meets Uber’s standards.
For those who would like to drive for Lyft or Uber, but are worried that their application will be denied based on their vehicle, here’s what you can do.
- Begin your application so that either Uber or Lyft can begin processing your information. You can still go through the process and background check, even if your car does not currently qualify.
- As your application is being processed, look for an Uber-Approved Vehicle online
What Are My Options?
The vehicle you choose will depend on a number of factors — including your budget and personal/professional needs. At this point in time, you’re sure of one thing — you will need to purchase or lease a vehicle.
Purchasing a new car
You will be spending a lot of time in your vehicle — after all, this new position will act as your livelihood. With that in mind, you need to consider a variety of features in regards to your chosen vehicle: safety, reliability, and, of course, your budget.
Your budget will vary depending on a range of factors, including your current monthly income. Unless you have saved up a substantial amount of available cash (allowing you to purchase a vehicle outright), you’ll likely need to finance your automobile purchase through installments/monthly payments. In that case, it’s a good idea to follow this rule of thumb: you should never be spending any more than 15-20 percent of your monthly income on car payments.
Although a new vehicle will be more expensive, there are opportunities to negotiate, so don’t settle on the first vehicle you find. Compare prices of at a least three different dealerships. You can also compare vehicles online — whatever suits your buying needs. There are two ways to purchase online:
- Direct from the dealer — You can often request a quote online through a dealership’s online sales department. Be sure to ask for all the listed fees, so that you can get a more accurate idea of the total cost.
- Dealership aggregators — These are sites such as autotrader.com. These marketplaces allow you to search for the car you want, within your vicinity.
Consider using an auto loan calculator, such as the one featured at DMV.org. Check it out here.
What if I can’t afford a new / used car?
You may find more information on Xchange Leasing, here, or you can read more about Uber Xchange Leasing in our article on the company’s in-house rent program here.
Also, please keep the following in the back of your mind. For the year 2017, Uber car requirements are as follows:
- For UberX and UberXL— All 4-door cars of a certain age (generally 2002 or newer, but some cities, such as New York and Pittsburgh, require newer models)
- UberBLACK — UberBLACK only accepts certain vehicles, such as Audi A6, Jaguar XF, Cadillac XTS, etc. — and must be a 2013 model or newer.
- You must be 21+ years of age to drive.
- You must have a minimum of three years driving experience
- You must carry an in-state drivers license (depending on your area)
- You must have a clean driving record, as well as a clean criminal history (in order to pass the background check)
Leasing a Car
If you can locate a car-leasing deal with favorable conditions, it may mean less overhead risk and less money down than buying a vehicle outright — in other words, you won’t be not staking your future on Uber, or tied to your success (or failure) as a rideshare driver in terms of paying off the bulk cost of a purchased-vehicle.
In this sense, it’s important that your lease should clearly state its terms; termination clauses; and any other associated fees clearly, so that you know what you’re getting into if you decide to lease a car in order to become an Uber Driver-Partner.
However, it’s worth noting — leasing has some clear disadvantages. Notably, rental terms can often be highly unfavorable, and leasing a car can often turn into incurring extra costs (over the long-run).
In many cases, leasing arrangements force drivers to meet a pre-arranged set of payment requirements each & every month (See: Uber Xchange Leasing). Also, unlike owning a car outright, if you lease a vehicle, you possess no physical asset that you’re able to liquidate for cash in the short-term.
So, if you’re interested in driving for Uber (or any other rideshare company), leasing can sometimes be a worthwhile option — as long as your lease terms allow you to return the car without incurring large financial fees. If there are no outrageous penalties, leasing can be a good way to ‘test out’ being an Uber driver ( as well as ‘testing out the waters’ of your local market. If you find that you’re busy and receive enough ride requests, you can then look into the option of buying your own vehicle.
And remember, if you’re leasing a vehicle from a company other than Uber Enterprise Leasing or UberXchange, the same requirements outlined above still apply:
- For UberX & UberXL: 4-door vehicles post 2002 (or newer, depending on the city)
- UberBLACK: limited vehicle acceptance and vehicles must be post be 2013 or newer (Jaguar XF, Cadillac XTS, Audi A6)
Apply to Drive while you search for an Uber-Approved Vehicle
So, to review — YES, you can still apply to drive for Lyft or Uber, even if your vehicle does not meet the current requirements. Of course, before you apply, you will want to be completely certain & prepared in regards to your next course of action: specifically, either purchasing, renting, or leasing a vehicle through Uber or Lyft (or a similar rideshare-leasing provider).
While your application is being processed, take that next critical step and find the right car for you.