If you’re an Uber driver, your car is your lifeblood. Given Uber’s regulations regarding the cars eligible to drive for the app, many drivers find themselves needing to buy new cars, or newer used cars or one of the top 11 minor car brands with incentives. With so many cars on the market today, here’s a few things shopping drivers should be focusing on.
Reliability and Safety
With how much Uber drivers are on the road, statistically, they are at a much higher risk for something going wrong. A traffic school California or NY defensive driving course can help drivers know the rules, putting them at a lower risk for being the cause of accidents. However, there are still all the other drivers on the road, and even the best drivers can fall victim to the stupidity of others. It’s important to have excellent safety features in the vehicle. That’s true for everyone, but especially for Uber drivers. Passengers need to feel safe in the car. If a driver is using a car that is known for airbags that don’t always work in the event of a collision, passengers may not feel safe.
Other than collisions, there is also the issue of vehicle failure. Of course, everyone should be careful to keep up with regular maintenance, but having a reliable car is a great start. For example, earlier models of the Prius would occasionally simply shut down in the middle of driving with no warning. The 2007 Honda Civic Hybrid frequently has an issue where the air conditioning only blows warm air. That’s less catastrophic than the first example, but on a hot day, it can feel like a huge problem to both the Uber driver and the passengers. You want to look for a car that isn’t going to suddenly start having such issues, particularly in the middle of driving. It may be wiser to buy a car that hasn’t just been released. That way, you can look at reviews from other drivers who own a car to see if there may be any nasty surprises waiting.
While you’re driving for Uber, passengers usually choose where they want to sit. Most will choose the backseat over the front. That means you want to have a comfortable backseat. Passengers need legroom. Sometimes tall people will choose to sit in the front but imagine a fare with two people over six feet tall. A backseat that is too small would feel like a punishment, which is not what you want passengers to be thinking. Before making a purchase, take a seat in the back. If you’re not tall, bring someone who is and have them sit in the back.
This is important because it’s hard to tell just by looking how comfortable a backseat can be. For example, the 2009 models of the Honda Fit and the Scion xD look very similar from the outside. They have similar specifications for legroom as well. Somehow though, three people in the back of a Scion xD don’t usually complain about legroom, while even a single person of average height can’t comfortably fit in the back of a Honda Fit. This is a difference that can only be discovered with a lot of internet research, or by making sure to sit in the back of a car you intend to purchase.
Miles Per Gallon
This is the least complicated and most obvious thing to look for in a new (or used) car. For many people, it is the most important. No matter how awesome a car is, if it gets less than 30 MPG on average, it can bankrupt an Uber driver who only drives for UberX and UberPool, where the rates are lower. Without good gas mileage, all a driver’s earnings will go directly into the gas tank. So, remember to find the best gas mileage you can possibly afford!