Minimizing Maintenance Costs And Wear And Tear When Driving For Uber Or Lyft
Besides gas, ongoing maintenance (oil changes, brake pads etc…) will be your biggest expense as a rideshare driver. That’s why it’s important to keep these costs as low as possible. To do that, you need to minimize the daily wear and tear on your car, and get the best deal possible on routine maintenance and periodic repairs. Here’s a few tips on how you can do both.
Minimizing Lyft and Uber Vehicle Wear And Tear
For the most part, keeping wear and tear to a minimum comes down to treating your car nicely. If you drive your car harshly, it will wear worse and tear more. If you drive smoothly, you’ll spend less on maintenance and repairs in the long run. You’ll probably have more content riders as well. Of course, there are certain routine items (like replacing filters or tires) that you won’t be able to avoid. However, if you follow a few simple steps, you should be able to keep any additional repair or maintenance items to a minimum.
Harsh braking and acceleration cause unnecessary wear on your pads, rotors, calipers, and transmission. To keep all of these items functioning properly for as long as possible, don’t accelerate quickly from a stop, and be sure to brake smoothly. When you’re coming to a stop, very slightly lift your foot off the brake pedal (just a little, not all the way off!), and allow the car to gently roll to a stop. This will make the stop less jerky, and help your pads last longer. When it comes to acceleration, the lower your rpm’s, the less gas you’re using to accelerate. Also, if you accelerate gradually, it’s a lot easier on your engine.
One final tip is to not park and sit with the engine on for too long. There are times (especially in winter) when you can’t avoid doing this. However, if you’ve pulled over in a standing zone to wait for a ride request to come in, turn off the car. It saves gas, and is also better for your transmission long term.
Besides your driving style, another way to keep wear and tear down is to get regular oil changes when your owner’s manual says you’re supposed to get them. A lot of people skip the intermediate oil changes in between major services. If you’re going to drive rideshare, don’t do this. Get all the recommended oil changes, and get them on time, or even a little early. This will keep your engine running smoothly for as long as possible.
In addition to oil changes, you want to check your tire pressure every couple of weeks and adjust it to the level suggested by your owner’s manual. Lastly, check your owner’s manual for the recommended mileage at which you’re supposed to change various fluids (power steering, differential, etc…). When the time comes, make sure you follow the recommendations and have the fluid changed. Also, if you know when you’re supposed to get the power steering fluid changed at 70,000 miles, a mechanic won’t be able to tell you to change it at 45,000 miles.
Saving Money On Maintenance And Repairs
To keep maintenance costs down as a rideshare driver, the first thing you want to do is find a good local mechanic.
If you don’t have one, you can give YourMechanic a try. They are a cool site that sends the mechanic to you. All you have to do is open an account, add your vehicle, and you can get an instant quote for dozens of services, and schedule an appointment. They can do an oil change, change a starter, change spark plugs, or figure out what that “Check Engine” light means. More often than not, they’re cheaper than a shop, and you don’t have to go anywhere! They can supply the needed parts, or you can supply your own parts. If you choose to supply your own parts, they even tell you which parts you’ll need to buy for them to complete the job.
Buy Your Own Parts (Lyft and Uber discounts)
Speaking of parts, when you can, buy your own parts. It can generally save you 10-20%. If you need a brake job, buy the pads and give them to your mechanic. As a Lyft or Uber driver, you can save even more money if you buy your parts from AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts.
Lyft drivers get 20% off online orders at Advance Auto Parts (as long as they give 20 or more rides per month). Drivers can order parts online for in-store pickup. Uber drivers get 15% off at AutoZone. Generally, it makes more sense to order online because both stores offer additional online promotions for various products such as wipers, bulbs, and brake items. Also, both stores allow you to enter your vehicle information online, so you can be sure you get the right parts for your car.
When it comes to tires, if you’re full time, I recommend a set with a pretty long tread wear warranty (40,000 miles +). If you have a tire shop that you’ve gone to and can give you a deal, great, If not, it’s usually a lot cheaper to shop, compare, and buy tires online.
Tirerack.com is the original online tire seller, and often has the lowest prices. You can compare different tires based on price, tread wear, rain performance, and many other features. Once you’ve chosen, you can have your tires shipped to an installer of your choice. They also sell brake pads and other accessories. If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Tire Rack or want to compare prices, you should also check out Tires-direct.com. Both stores carry a lot of the same tires, so it makes sense to check both to see who has the better price on the set you’re looking for.
Hopefully, the advice above helps you save a bit of money on maintaining your car. One final thing – If you’re looking to save money on gas, be sure to download the free Gasbuddy app, which tells you where to find the cheapest gas in your area.
That’s all for now. Drive Profitably.