Uber: Good for You, Potentially Bad for Your Car.



We definitely see more Uber and Lyft drivers than Taxi drivers in 2018, and it appears to be a great profession! Drivers have the ability to make their own hours, drive in the comfort of their own car, and establish a good rating on the app as a better driver. I recently came across an article that served as a “Buyers Guide” for what to consider when purchasing or leasing a car to use when you want to start a career with Uber. There are some great tidbits of information in the article, however it is missing a HUGE piece of the car buying puzzle. Take a Look at the article and see if you can spot the issue I have been challenged with.

View the Article from Ridester.com HERE.

Although the article is advertised as “The Ultimate Car Buying Guide” for Uber and Lyft drivers, they barely skimmed the surface on a very important topic. In the middle of the article, it is mentioned that a driver should buy a vehicle that is relatively cheap to repair. What exactly does this mean? How can you determine if a car is cheaper to repair than another? Are there other factors that a consumer might need to weigh into the category of “repair costs?” This article fails to answer some of these questions and ultimately might lead to a Driver making a poor choice and going belly up. I have a few tips for anyone who wants to weigh the Pros and Cons of repair cost as cars age.

This article does  a fantastic job of showing how buying a car that is a few years old can significantly cut the price down if a driver is looking for a more economical vehicle. However, some of the vehicles on their list come with a hefty repair bill. Some of the vehicles, such as the Honda Odyssey, Listed as #1 for drivers looking to drive for UberXL actually ended up with a recall of about a million cars due to rear seat malfunction. The recall includes Vans from 2011 to 2017 which include the recommended vehicle mentioned in this article. Why is this a problem?

If a driver decides to purchase a used Odyssey based on this articles findings, and a passenger is injured due to the rear seat malfunctioning, it can not only cause injury and negatively effect the drivers rating, it could potentially cause Uber to terminate affiliation with that driver indefinitely. With this being said, even if you do not drive for Uber, its extremely important to review all details about a car before you make the decision to buy.

Here is my top 5 list of things you must check off before purchasing your new ride!

    1. Carfax – this easy to use form can show a buyer if a vehicle has had routine maintenance, any accidents, number of owners, and reported mileage. It is not free, however its definitely worth every penny if a buyer sees their new vehicle as an asset.
    2. Test Drive – The vehicle a customer buys should be both comfortable for them, and the people around them. If someone is used to driving a Prius and decides to trade in their old vehicle and buy a Suburban, they might find that something so large is not easy for them to handle and they might experience buyers remorse, or cause an accident.
    3. Take it to a Certified Mechanic- An inspection is key when buying a used car. Not all issues are visible, and it takes a trained eye to spot a problem before it happens. A trusted auto shop with good reviews and certified mechanics is a consumers best bet for an honest inspection.
    4. Review warranty/insurance options- An Uber driver that drives during peak hours is driving during extremely high risk and dangerous times. Peak times  are more dangerous due to drunk, distracted, and impaired drivers (since more of them are on the road than other times). Good insurance is very important. Once someone start driving with Uber, the warranty for their vehicle is terminated. Meaning that all repairs on commercial vehicles are not covered by a dealers warranty. A consumer will definitely need to purchase secondary warranty coverage or extremely extensive insurance to cover costly repairs.
    5. Check TSB and Recall Information- A TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) is information sent out by the manufacturer of the vehicle to inform auto repair facilities of defects that the vehicle has and how to fix those issues. A Recall is a manufacturing defect that affects the safety of the passenger, which means the vehicle has to be brought back to the dealer and fixed at no charge to the buyer  in order to prevent injury or death. Both of these are important to know about when purchasing a vehicle due to the amount of time it could take out of the drivers Day or Week to fix it, as well as ensuring the safety of their passengers. A day in the shop is one less day the driver can be earning, and a recall could indicate a life threatening hazard.

Driving for Uber accelerates the wear and tear on your vehicle. The typical driver puts about 13 thousand miles on their car in a year, however Uber drivers put, on average, a very hefty 50 thousand miles a year. These numbers mean that your costs for repairs are going to be 284% higher each year.

At the end of the day, Buying or Leasing a vehicle is an incredibly complicated process, however mechanics are here to make the process easier for the consumer. With the right tools and information a buyer can be confident in their vehicle choice and ultimately their investment in their future career with Uber.

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