Lyft doesn’t have strict requirements regarding the cars they’ll allow. However, they must ensure all passengers’ safety, and there are specific city/state guidelines they must follow.
What Are Lyft’s Minimum Car Requirements?
Lyft has high standards for the cars it approves for its platform to ensure the safety of its drivers and passengers.
Not only does Lyft have specific car requirements, but they also abide by all city and state guidelines, so depending on where you live, you may have more requirements.
1. The Car’s Age
The car’s age requirements vary by where you live. Some cities, like Chicago and Philadelphia, require cars to be 2008 or newer, but New York City allows vehicles from 2007, and Washington DC requires cars to be 2013 or newer.
You can check your city’s requirements here to determine what age a car must be for you to drive for Lyft.
2. The Number of Doors and Seatbelts
No matter the make and model car you drive, or its age, all cars must have four doors. This makes it easier for passengers to get in and out of the car, especially since most passengers sit in the back seat.
In addition, all cars must have five seatbelts (five seats), including the driver’s seat belt. Eligible cars must also not have more than eight seat belts (eight seats).
3. Insurance and Required Documentation
You must have car insurance on the car you drive in your name to be eligible for Lyft. In some cities, your name doesn’t have to be on the registration, but you must always be the person insured to drive the car.
4. Car Inspection Requirements
The Lyft vehicle inspection ensures your car is safe, functional, and cosmetically pleasing. Drivers can have the inspection performed at a local Lyft Hub or an ASE-certified mechanic.
The Lyft inspection requirements may vary by state, but most states require a 19-point inspection, including evaluation of the brakes, lights, seat belts, and wheel. Some states also require an annual re-inspection to continue to drive for Lyft.
The inspection may also include an evaluation of the car’s exterior. Faded paint, excessive dents, scratches, or missing parts could make your car ineligible.
5. Car Seat Policy Requirements
In most cities, the passenger must provide the car seat if they plan to ride with a child that requires one. Currently, the only city that offers to match riders with drivers with car seats equipped is New York City.
If a rider doesn’t have the appropriate car seat, you can refuse the ride, but the rider will pay a cancellation fee.
Why Are Lyft’s Car Requirements Necessary?
Lyft has car requirements to ensure the safety of its passengers. Lyft promises its passengers a safe ride to their destination. If they didn’t have car requirements, there would be a higher risk of cars breaking down or unsafe cars picking riders up to take them to their destination.
Older cars that don’t function properly also pose a higher risk of accidents, putting everyone in danger. Lyft’s car age and inspection requirements minimize these risks.
The car requirements also allow Lyft to control which cars represent Lyft to maintain its image and keep its customers safe.
Lyft Service-Specific Requirements
Lyft, like Uber, has different service options, but not all cars qualify for all services. Here’s what you must know.
Standard Lyft Services
Standard Lyft services are for up to four passengers. Most newer cars (2007+, depending on the city) that pass the inspection qualify for standard Lyft services.
This category also includes the following options:
- Wait & Save rides – Only available in certain cities; this program allows riders to wait longer for a ride during busy times and pays lower fares.
- Lyft Shared – Riders can share a car if they are going in the same direction to save on fares.
- Priority Pickup – Riders can choose to pay more to get pushed to the front of the line for faster pickup
- Preferred – Riders can choose a top-rated driver in a more spacious car and pay higher rates. These riders may also be eligible for VIP service with specific accommodations. This service is not available in every market yet.
Luxury Lyft Services
The Luxury Lyft services offer nicer cars, sometimes with leather seats. The services include:
- Lux – Your car must be a high-end sedan or SUV with room for four passengers. The interior must be leather or leather-like. Common examples include BMW X3 and the GMC Yukon Denali.
- Lux Black – To qualify for this category, you must drive a black luxury sedan or SUV with leather or leather-like seats. Examples include the BMW 5-series and Cadillac Escalade.
XL Lyft Services
XL Lyft Services are for five passengers. Common cars include the Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, Ford Explorer, and Mitsubishi Outlander. The car must have four doors and enough seatbelts for all five passengers.
Black XL Services
If you want to drive for Lyft Black XL Services, you must drive a luxury SUV that seats at least five passengers. In addition, the car’s exterior must be black, and the interior must be leather or leather-like. Examples include the BMW X5 and Lincoln Navigator.
Handicap and Accessible Services
If your car can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters while making it easy for handicapped passengers to get into, you can drive for Lyft Assisted. The vehicle must be able to fit a wheelchair plus two passengers.
Common vehicle examples include the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Soul, and Honda Odyssey.
Lyft Car Requirements that Vary by State
Each state has its own criteria to qualify cars for ridesharing. Below are the requirements for each state.
If not mentioned, all cars need four doors and seat five to eight people, including the driver. Cars may also not be taxis, limos, or on the salvage list.
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington, DC
- West Virginia
Vehicles must be 2008 or newer to qualify.
Vehicles must be 2011 or newer to qualify.
Depending on the city you live in, your car requirements may vary.
If you live in Flagstaff, Phoenix, or Tucson, your car may be a 2007 or newer; however, if you live in any other city, it must be a 2009 or newer.
If you live in Fayetville (airport code XNA), you must drive a car that’s 2009 or newer. In all other cities, your vehicle can be a 2007 or newer.
All cars eligible for Lyft in California must have a California license plate.
If you live in Eureka, El Centro, San Luis Obispo, Merced, Chico, Victorville, or Yuba City, your car can be a 2007 or newer.
If you live in San Francisco or San Jose, your car must be a 2008 or newer, and in all other cities, it must be a 2009 or newer.
All Lyft cars in Colorado must have a Colorado license plate and be 2008 or newer.
All cars eligible for Lyft in Connecticut must be 2011 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in Delaware, your car must be 2007 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in Florida, your car must be a 2011 or newer.
All cars eligible for Lyft in Georgia must be 2011 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in Hawaii, your car must be 2007 or newer, but trucks are not allowed if you live in Honolulu.
If you live in Boise, you must drive a 2009 or newer car, but all other cities allow a 2008 or newer car to drive for Lyft.
Illinois is a state where many cities have different requirements.
- Bloomington – 2013 or newer
- Decatur or Kankanee – 2009 or newer
- Chicago – 2008 or newer
- All other areas – 2007 or newer
If you live in Gary, Terre Haute, or Muncie, you must drive a car that’s 2009 or newer, but in all other cities, your car can be a 2007 or newer.
All areas of Iowa require that Lyft vehicles be 2007 or newer.
If you live in Manhattan, Topeka, and Western Kansas, your car must be 2009 or newer. In all other cities, cars 2007 or newer are allowed.
Lyft drivers must have a car that’s 2007 or newer in Kentucky.
If you live in New Orleans, your car must be a 2012 or newer to drive for Lyft, and in all other cities, the car must be a 2010 or newer.
All drivers must have a car that’s 2008 or newer to drive for Lyft in Maine.
To drive for Lyft in Maryland, you must drive a 2012 or newer vehicle. Your car must also not be subject to any safety recalls.
To drive for Lyft in Boston, your car must be 2008 or newer, and in all other cities, 2007 or newer.
All cars driving for Lyft in Michigan must be 2010 or newer.
If you live in Duluth, Minneapolis/St. Paul, or Rochester, your car must be 2008 or newer to drive for Lyft. In addition, any vehicles between 2008 and 2013 must have less than 150,000 miles. If you live in any other city, your car can be a 2007 or newer.
If you live in Gulfport-Biloxi, your car must be 2009 or newer, and in all other cities, 2007 or newer.
If you live in St. Louis, your car must be 2011 or newer; Springfield, 2009 or newer; and in all other cities, 2007 or newer.
All cars eligible for Lyft in Montana must be 2008 or newer.
If you live in Western Nebraska, your car must be 2009 or newer, and in all other cities, 2007 or newer to drive for Lyft.
If you drive for Lyft in Nevada, you must drive a 2013 or newer in Las Vegas or a 2007 or newer in all other cities.
If you drive for Lyft in New Hampshire, you must drive a 2007 or newer.
All cars driving for Lyft in New Jersey must be 2008 or newer.
If you live in La Cruces, Roswell, or Taos, you must drive a 2009 or newer, and in all other cities, 2007 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in New York, you must drive a 2007 or newer car. In addition, your car must have a New York or New Jersey license plate in NYC.
If you live in the Outer Banks, you must drive a 2009 or newer car and a 2007 or newer vehicle in all other cities. The car must also have a permanent license plate.
All Lyft cars in North Dakota must be a 2007 or newer car.
To drive for Lyft in Ohio, you must drive a car that’s 2007 or newer.
If you live in Ardmore or Woodward, you must drive a 2013 or newer vehicle. In other cities, the car may be a 2007 or newer.
If you live in Portland, you must drive a 2013 or newer vehicle, Eugene, a 2008 or newer car, and in all other cities, 2007 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in Pennsylvania, your car must be 2008 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in Rhode Island, your car must be 2008 or newer.
All cars in South Carolina used for Lyft must be 2007 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in South Dakota, your car must be a 2013 or newer.
If you live in Cookeville, Jackson, or Johnson City, your car must be 2009 or newer, and in all other cities, it can be 2007 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in Texas, your car must be 2009 or newer.
All cars used for Lyft in Utah must be 2008 or newer.
To drive for Lyft in Vermont, your car must be 2013 or newer.
All Lyft drivers in Fredricksburg must drive a 2009 or newer vehicle, and 2007 or newer in all other cities.
If you live in Seattle or Tacoma, your car must be 2011 or newer, Port Angeles 2007 or newer, and all other cities 2008 or newer.
All cars used for Lyft in Washington, DC, must be 2013 or newer.
If you live in Martinsburg, you must drive a car that’s 2009 or newer and 2007 or newer in all other cities.
If you live in any of the following Wisconsin cities, you must have a car that’s 2009 or newer:
- Sheboygan-Fon du Lac area
If you live in Green Bay, the car must be a 2008 or newer car, and in all other cities, the car must be a 2007 or newer.
All Lyft cars in Wyoming must be 2009 or newer.
Lyft Changing Requirements
Keep in mind that Lyft changes its vehicle criteria often, sometimes annually. They state they have the right to change the requirements at any time, so pay attention to your city and state’s guidelines to ensure your car still meets the criteria.
Best Cars to Own When Driving for Lyft
You might think the newer the car, the better for Lyft, but it’s not just about the age.
Since your car is your office and you’re responsible for all costs, including fuel, maintenance, and repairs, it’s best to choose fuel-efficient cars that can withstand a lot of driving.
Some Popular Models to Drive for Lyft Include:
- 2014+ Toyota Prius
- 2015+ Toyota Camry
- 2015+ Honda CR-V
- 2016+ Kia Soul
Renting as an Alternative to Owning Your Car
The nice thing about Lyft is that if you don’t own a car, you can rent one and use it to make money.
But you can’t rent just any car from any rental company. Instead, you must rent a ride-sharing vehicle from one of the two programs below.
The Lyft Express Program
Express Drive is a car rental program that allows drivers to rent a car specifically to drive for Lyft.
You must rent a car for a minimum of seven days, but there isn’t a long-term commitment. You can return the car anytime after seven days.
The Lyft Express program offers:
- Pricing options – The Lyft Express program has options for all price points, and each plan includes insurance, maintenance, and roadside assistance.
- All cars are 2018 or newer and fuel efficient.
The Hyrecar Rental Service
Hyrecar is a rental service not affiliated with Lyft, but you can rent cars from them to drive for Uber or Lyft.
Hyrecar includes rental insurance and allows you to set your rental periods, extending them for as long as needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Knowing the Lyft car requirements can help determine whether it’s a good ridesharing service for your needs. Check out these frequently asked questions from others looking into driving for Lyft.
Can you drive for Lyft using a temporary registration or a paper plate?
This depends on the area. Some cities/states allow it, and others do not.
Does your car have to be registered in your name to qualify for driving for Lyft?
In some cities/states, the car must be registered in your name, but not all. For example, in some cities, you can rent a car to drive for Lyft, so the car would not be in your name. However, insurance must be in your name to drive the vehicle.
If my car does not meet the Lyft car requirements, can I reapply later?
If your car doesn’t meet the requirements, you may be able to reapply, but Lyft may make you wait six months.
Can you drive a compact car for Lyft?
Yes, as of August 2021, you can drive a compact car for Lyft.
Lyft Car Requirements
You don’t need a brand new car or fancy car to drive for Lyft, but they do have specific requirements your car must meet. The requirements vary by city/state, so pay close attention to the requirements in your area to see if your car qualifies.