Whether you’re driving a brand new jet-black luxury sedan, or a four-door that’s been in the family for years, as an Uber partner keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape is of utmost importance. You don’t just use it to get from point A to point B. It’s an essential part of how you earn money.
Preventative care and mindful driving can keep your car on the road rather than in the shop. Consider these seven tips to minimize wear and tear and save money.
Stick to the Routine Maintenance Schedule
Manufacturers often recommend repairs, checkups, and fluid changes or top offs at regular intervals, such as every 15,000 miles. Review your owner’s manual to find the specifics for your vehicle because skipping these could lead to costly repairs.
In some cases, your warranty may depend on you following the routine maintenance guidelines. However, you can compare quotes from the dealer’s shop and independent mechanics and go with the cheapest option.
Regularly Change Your Oil
Changing your motor oil and oil filter are regular maintenance requirements that deserve extra attention. Oil cools, cleans, and lubricates the engine, helping prevent potentially damaging metal-to-metal contact. An oil and filter change is relatively cheap, but if you put it off for too long and you’ll need to replace the entire engine.
Ronald Montoya, a senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com, suggests that Uber partners should use the mileage-based rather than time-based recommendations to determine when it’s time for an oil change. Don’t trust the sticker from the oil change shop either, “they’re incentivized to get you to come back,” Montoya said. Instead, check the vehicle’s owner manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Some newer cars have an oil life monitor that indicates when you need an oil change based on the mileage and how you’re driving. If yours doesn’t, check the oil’s color and viscosity. If it looks dirty or feels gritty, consider getting an oil change even if you haven’t hit the mileage marker.
Let the Car Warm Up
Montoya also suggests going easy on the car when you first start driving. Especially when it’s cold outside, it can take a few minutes for the oil to warm up and properly keep all the parts lubricated. Use the temperature gauge as a measure, when it reaches the mid-point you should be good to go. Before then, try to stay at low speeds rather than jumping on a highway and don’t rev the engine.
Check Your Tire Pressure
The air pressure in your tires can affect your tire’s lifespan as well as your car’s fuel efficiency. Look inside the driver’s side door, or the owner’s manual, to find your vehicle’s recommended PSI. Try to keep the tires inflated to that point to prolong their life and save money.
Regularly getting a tire rotation also extends their life as it allows them to wear down evenly. It can lead to a smoother ride and increased fuel efficiency as well.
Go Easy on the Brakes
Brake pads wear down over time and when only 20%, or about 20 millimeters, of pad remains it’s time for a change. If you hear a squeal when you’re breaking, that’s a good indicator that they’re worn down.
Going easy on the gas and breaks is generally a good practice, and slamming on the breaks can wear out the pads quicker than easing to a stop. Plus, riders often appreciate a smooth journey.
Park With the Parking Brake
One way to reduce wear on your transmission is to use the parking brake, also called an emergency brake or hand brake, when parking your car.
Putting the car into park and letting go of the brake pedal before engaging the parking brake puts stress on the transmission because the transmission holds the car in place. A better procedure for your transmission is to come to a stop, push on the brake pedal, engage your parking brake, put the car into park, and then release the brake pedal. This can be especially important when parking on steep hills as there’s added pressure.
Save Money on Your Repairs and Maintenance
Even if you’re not a mechanic, some regular maintenance tasks can be handled at home. Changing a car battery, headlights or brake lights, and oil are often simple jobs. You may be able to find instructions in the manual, or video walkthroughs online. If you’re not comfortable with the DIY approach, get quotes from several shops before paying for a service.
Look online for auto-related discounts and coupons to save money. They’re especially common for regular services, such as a tire rotation or oil change. The Uber Momentum could be one source for savings. Offers vary by location, but as an Uber driver-partner you might be eligible for discounts on auto glass or vehicle repairs, oil changes, gas, car washers, paint jobs, new tires, or a free vehicle inspection.