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Lyft Vehicle & Driver Requirements – What You Need To Drive For Lyft

By January 1, 2021January 25th, 2021276 Comments


    Requirements for Being a Lyft Driver

    Let’s start with the requirements of the drivers themselves. Feel free to skip down the page if you want to read the vehicle/car requirements.

    Lyft emphasizes the fact that most drivers are just ordinary people like you and me. That being said, Lyft also has safety standards and regulations to meet. So in reality Lyft is looking for any ordinary person who has a good driving record and is not or has not been a criminal. Here is a list of their requirements to become a driver:

    1. Applicants must be 21 years of age or older
    2. Applicants must have had a valid driver’s license for at least 1 year
    3. Clean Driving Record
    4. Pass a criminal background check
    5. Be insured on the vehicle you intend to drive

    This is Part 2 of 5 part series

    Quick link: Rent a car to drive for Lyft

    Part 1) Lyft Driver Requirements

    Planning to drive in New York City? Currently, Lyft and Uber aren’t accepting new drivers there. Instead, drive for Via (read our review). This company pays well and you can earn the big Via driver bonus by clicking here.

    1) Applicants Must be 21

    There is no wiggle room here. You must be 21 at the time of submitting the application. If it is your birthday next week, wait until next week to submit the application. Otherwise it will be automatically rejected.

    You cannot lie on the application about your age. This isn’t Darby’s Sports Bar. Remember, they will verify your age when they run a background check.

    2) Applicants Must have a Valid Driver’s License

    You are required to have had a driver’s license for one year. The driver’s license must be for the state you plan to drive in and the same goes for your insurance and the plates on your car.

    A common problem that occurs is that someone who is applying has not had a driver’s license in their state of residence for a year yet. That’s OK. All you will need to do is send in a copy of your old driver’s license WITH your new driver’s license. You can handle this by emailing a photo of both Drivers Licenses within Lyft’s help center.

    3) Driving Record

    Although you have to have a clean driving record, there is actually some wiggle room here.  Let’s explore what you can/can’t have on your driving record:

    1. No more than 3 moving violations in the last 3 years (seatbelts, traffic lights, fender benders).
    2. No major violations in the last three years (Driving on a suspended license, driving recklessly).
    3. No DUI’s or drug related violations in the last 7 years.
    4. No extreme infractions within the last 7 years (hit and run, felonies involving a vehicle).

    So I guess by “clean” they don’t mean sterile. A lot of people have had a speeding ticket and automatically dismiss the idea of driving for Lyft. This isn’t the case. Depending on that speeding ticket, you may still be qualified. I would be willing to wager that in the majority of cases, If you are unsure of what your record will yield I suggest applying anyway as the worst they can do is say no.

    4) Background Check

    Lyft does a pretty thorough background check on all applicants conducted through Sterling BackCheck.  Lyft dictates the following for its drivers (within the past 7 years).

    • No violent crimes.
    • No sexual offenses.
    • No theft.
    • No property damage.
    • No felonies.
    • No drug related offenses.

    Beyond this stuff in the last 7 years, Lyft also does not allow anyone who is registered on the National Sex Offender Registry and DOJ 50-State Sex Offender Registry at the time that their background check is conducted, regardless of how long ago the individual was put on that registry.

    The background check is initiated once you conduct your Mentor Session (which comes after you’ve applied). You can always confirm with Sterling BackCheck that the background check has been conducted by contacting them. Just keep in mind that it may take a day or two after the check comes through to get approved on Lyft’s back-end.

    Related article: How Lyft drivers are making hundreds of extra dollars per month

    Part II) Lyft Vehicle/Car Requirements

    Quick link: Rent a car to drive for Lyft

    Lyft’s varies by city, so the best way to know for certain is to go to their driver application requirements page and enter your city information. From there, you’ll be able to find information on the vehicle requirements for your city. 

    When I entered Minneapolis, this is what is required for my city: 

    • 2006 or newer
    • 2010 vehicles and older must have less than 150k mileage
    • 4 doors
    • 5-8 seats, including the driver’s
    • Not on the list of ineligible subcompact vehicles
    • Not a taxi or stretch limousine
    • Not titled as salvage, non-repairable, rebuilt or any other equivalent classification

    Click here for Lyft driver car rental options

    Body Damage

    Your car does not need to have a perfect body or paint. Minor scratches and dents are okay. As a general rule of thumb if the car looks like it was collided into at 5mph or less, then it should be okay. This ultimately comes down to the discretion of your mentor though.

    Hail Damage

    This question seems to come up quite often in forums. If your car looks like mother nature got drunk one night and decided to drop a truckload of fist-sized rocks on it from 5000 feet , then it likely will not pass.

    However, if the damage is minor and doesn’t alter the complete look of your car it should be fine. Again, it comes down to the discretion of your mentor.

    A/C and Heater

    Your A/C and Heater have to work well. Even if you plan to drive in Alaska, you still need working A/C 🙂

    Taxi and Black Town Cars

    All things that could remotely identify the car as a taxi must be removed. Further, the vehicle must meet all requirements listed above. If you drive or own a cab, you can’t just slap a mustache on your cab and start taking calls.

    Town-cars can still display their commercial numbers as required by law. However, when operating under the Lyft platform you are not allowed to use calls generated by Lyft to accept cash or negotiate rides. You have to give the ride on the platform in the same way as any other Lyft.

    Lyft Plus

    If you have a vehicle with seven or more seats (and seat-belts) your vehicle will qualify to receive Lyft Plus calls (six passenger seats). Lyft Plus calls have the unique ability to transport six or more passengers for 1.5x the normal rate of a regular Lyft.

    Lyft Plus vehicles must still have four doors and meet all of the requirements on age and condition as a regular Lyft vehicle.

    Vehicles that qualify should automatically be opted in to receive Plus calls. If you do not receive these calls for some reason, contact Lyft.

    Unlike UberXL, you cannot opt-in to only receive Lyft Plus calls. You will not be notified in the app whether or not the request is for a Lyft Plus or a regular Lyft.

    Click here if you’d like to see your options for renting a car to drive for Lyft

    If you haven’t started your application yet, follow this link to receive a sign-up bonus from Lyft!

    What Happens if My Car is Too Old to Drive for Lyft?

    Uber and Lyft have thresholds for the age of the vehicle you’re allowed to drive for their platforms. This varies by vehicle type and market. But what happens if you signed up with a vehicle that was within the parameters, but is now “too old” for their standards? 

    With the new year in full swing, drivers with vehicles that turned too old with the change of the year are left wondering, “When will I get kicked off the platform?”

    How will you know it’s time? 

    I’m sure many people—myself included—forget about these requirements once we’re accepted onto the platform. I don’t want to keep an eye on something like that. I’d rather get a friendly reminder before I’m just kicked off the platform for having an outdated car. 

    One person on Reddit said, “I have always gotten about 6 months of pre-reminders so far. They were telling me well in advance, then on the new year I could not log on.” 

    The original poster on that thread was who posed the question “When will Uber figure out that my vehicle is too old?” It is the new year and they have not been kicked off the platform yet. They also haven’t gotten a notification from Uber saying their time is up. 

    Some speculated that in the time off COVID-19, it might be that Uber is being more lenient than they normally would be. 

    Another stated, “March 1st. That’s the vehicle reset date. It did that to my 2004 Accord last year on that date.” 

    How to prepare

    If you do know your vehicle is about to turn “too old” for the platforms, you might want to plan ahead, especially if you plan to continue driving for Uber or Lyft. 

    The best advice would be to have a replacement vehicle ready and available. Meaning, having your inspection done on it and all of your documents uploaded so it’s a smooth transition. The last thing you’d want is having to wait for document approval and not being able to drive in the meantime.

    If you are considering buying a car, consider going electric or hybrid. Uber and Lyft have both committed toward zero emissions in the coming years. Check out our review of The 5 Best Electric Vehicles for Uber and Lyft Drivers

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I drive for Lyft with a salvage title or a salvaged vehicle?

    Unfortunately, you can not drive for Lyft or Uber with a salvaged vehicle but most delivery services will allow you to work for them.

    Is there a mileage requirement to drive with Lyft?

    No there is no mileage requirement in order to drive with Lyft.  As long as your car meets the other requirements, you can drive for Lyft with as many miles on your car as you would like.

    Can I drive for Lyft using someone else’s car?

    Yes as long as you are on the insurance card.

    Speaking of insurance, we highly recommend getting commercial auto insurance for Rideshare drivers to fully protect yourself and lower your liability.

    Have questions about your car or the driver requirements?  Ask away in the comments section!

    PS – Next up!  Once your application has been submitted, you’ll move on to the Mentor Session and Welcome Ride which is kind of like a mini-interview for you and your car.  You can opt in below and you’ll get all that information and more!  Already subscribed?  Download the PDF here.

    Getting Started With Lyft: Free PDF Guide!

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    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.