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Uber Vehicle Requirements -- Will My Car Work?

By Zac Estrada | June 25, 2021

In the last decade, ride-hailing services dominated by Uber and Lyft have become popular in many situations. In cities without an abundance of taxis or convenient public transportation, they offer a quick way to get somewhere without driving yourself. Older adults without a driver's license can request a ride at various times more efficiently than community dial-a-ride services.

And since the pandemic closed in-person dining and enabled people to discover how much they liked food sent to them, delivery services like Uber Eats have also surged in popularity.

If you're thinking about being a Lyft or Uber driver or working for a delivery service, there are several requirements to participate both with the company and comply with state and local regulations.

Always read the requirements carefully on each company's website before applying, but here's a rundown of some of the most common qualifications.

The must-have vehicle requirements

Both Uber and Lyft have similar basic requirements for drivers and the vehicles they plan to use with the service. They must be a 4-door vehicle in good condition with at least five working seatbelts, including one for the driver. They must have current registration and license plates in the state they operate in and have a clean title — no salvage, rebuilt, or recovered vehicles can participate in the ride-hailing program. All of the windows in the doors are supposed to be functional, as is the air conditioning.

Every car is also supposed to be free of significant cosmetic damage, taxi branding, or other aesthetic anomalies. Window tinting must comply with any state regulations, as do decals or other aftermarket features. Cars with mismatched body panels, extensive body or interior damage, and vinyl wraps with commercial branding may be deemed ineligible, too.


If the vehicle isn't registered in your name, it must at least be covered under your insurance or associated with a policy that covers the person who will be the Uber or Lyft driver. Rental cars are typically not allowed, either. Both firms have some approved agencies — including Avis, Hertz, and Zipcar — that will offer an extended rental program or short-term lease acceptable for use as a ride-hailing vehicle. Lyft has its Express Drive service to line up those who intend to drive with cars.

Vehicle age varies among service areas, but the car typically needs to be no older than 15 years of age to use for carrying passengers, and in some cases, no older than 10. While Uber car requirements are more tied to model year and brand, Lyft goes as far to list vehicle models it doesn't allow. As of February 2019, subcompact 4-door cars like the Chevrolet Spark and Volt, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, and every mini model have been dropped from the list of eligible vehicles.

And both Lyft and Uber require proof of vehicle inspection by a licensed facility, which will also check for additional requirements for the state such as a smog check or state inspection certificate. Regular service must also be completed, regardless of how many ride-hailing cars you might get into and see the Check Engine light on.

Special requirements for other vehicle options

Most drivers and riders use the traditional UberX and Lyft services and carpool services where those are available. But both companies have different levels of service, too, and various vehicles are eligible for those services that could also net drivers more income.

Uber Comfort models must meet the UberX requirements and be larger than a compact car, precluding small hatchbacks and sedans. Uber Green cars are gas-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius or battery electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3.

Lyft XL and UberXL require larger vehicles and attract larger groups of people or those traveling from airports, train stations, or hotels. These must seat at least seven riders, meaning they're limited to SUVs and minivans like the Chevrolet Suburban or Honda Odyssey. UberSUV and PremiumSUV programs are now part of this group after a consolidation of services in 2020.

The premium UberLux and Lyft Lux services offer riders a more upscale experience in a nicer car, and therefore, cost more money with the promise of higher fares and tips for the drivers. These services typically require a vehicle such as Audi or Infiniti luxury sedans and not a compact model such as an A3. Some compact luxury SUVs such as a Porsche Macan may also be ineligible here. Many UberSelect and UberPremium users are part of this following the 2020 reorganization.

UberBlack and Lyft Black car services are mostly livery vehicles that conform to those standards for other companies. These large sedans and large SUVs are primarily made up of models such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lincoln Navigator. They must have black exterior paint with a black leather interior or black leather-like upholstery inside. Expect demand for these services to be most popular near airports and hotels and in major cities such as Los Angeles and New York.


Finally, Uber WAV (Wheelchair-accessible vehicles) must meet the requirements of an accessible vehicle, including a ramp and other facilities. Contact Uber and Lyft for the specifics of these requirements.

If your vehicle doesn't meet some of these requirements for the Uber platform for rideshare, Uber Eats might ease some of the regulations for size or the car's age. But it means you will be limited to food deliveries and not certified for passenger pickups. Consult the company with specific questions.

Driver Requirements

All prospective ride-hailing drivers also have qualifications of their own, in addition to being able to use the Lyft or Uber driver app on a smartphone. You must have a valid driver's license in the state you reside and have had that license for at least a year. Neither Uber service has an age restriction other than being the legal driving age in the state, but drivers younger than 23 years old must have at least three years of driving experience. Lyft requires all of its drivers to be at least 25.

Certain airports also have specific requirements that regulate the placement of pickup and dropoff and where the Uber decal is placed on the vehicle, for example.

Both services also require proof of residency and proof of valid insurance policy with the vehicle listed and require all prospects to submit to a criminal background check and driving record verification. Convictions of theft, property damage, fraud, terror, driving under the influence or while intoxicated, or sexual or violent crimes within at least seven years are grounds for disqualification. Too severe or too many moving violations on a driving record are also grounds to be dismissed.

On specialty Lyft and Uber vehicle services such as Comfort or Lux, certain rating thresholds are also necessary, so you'll have to ensure enough riders give the full five-star rating to avoid getting bumped from the service.

Requirements for food delivery drivers aren't as strict, though, but a valid driver's license and proof of insurance are still must-haves.