“Can I drive for Lyft with my car? Does it meet the requirements?” Scroll to the bottom of almost any post on my site and you’ll see that questions about Lyft’s vehicle requirements are more common than almost any other questions. Finding out if your car qualifies is one of the first steps toward becoming a Lyft driver, so if you think your car qualifies and you want to get started, apply to drive for Lyft here.
The guide below covers the most up-to-date Lyft vehicle requirements and I’ve done my best to mention city and state-specific requirements that might affect your area. Lyft ultimately holds the power to decide if your car qualifies or not, so use this post as a general guide to decide if you should apply to drive or not.
It’s important to note that Lyft offers several different services, each with different vehicle requirements. Learn the difference between Lyft, Lyft Plus, Lyft Line, Lyft Premier, and Lyft Lux and then use this article to see which service your vehicle qualifies for.
General Lyft vehicle requirements
- 4-door car that is year 2005 or newer
- California: 2004
- Austin: 2004
- Atlanta: 2008
- Washington, D.C.: 2006
- Kentucky: 2007
- Las Vegas: 2009
- Miami: 2007
- Minneapolis – St. Paul: 2007
- New Orleans: 2009
- Pennsylvania: 2007
- Portland: 2007
- Seattle: 2007
- Must be a 4-door car, truck, minivan, or SUV
- Must have personal insurance, at least the state minimum
- Manual (standard) transmission is OK
- No major cosmetic damage
- Must pass a vehicle inspection
- Driver must pass a background check and driving record check
- Driver must be listed on vehicle’s insurance policy
How to apply to Lyft when you don’t have a car
You might run into an issue during the application process if you don’t have a car, because the application forces you to input vehicle to complete the application. Many potential drivers don’t have a qualifying car, and plan to drive with a Hertz, Enterprise, or other type of Lyft rental. You can get caught in a loop: You can’t apply to Lyft without a car, and you can’t get the rental without being an approved driver.
To successfully apply without a car, apply to the Lyft Express Drive program. It’s a program that allows you to rent a car to drive for Lyft, so the application assumes that you need a car. It will allow you to fill out basic information and do a background screening before you get a vehicle.
Lyft Plus vehicle requirements – Minivans and SUVs for groups of 5 or more
Lyft Plus is the Lyft service for groups of riders five or more. Lyft Plus costs 1.5x the price of a regular Lyft, so a vehicle that qualifies for Plus can has higher earning potential than a regular Lyft car.
- Must seat 6 passengers
- Same model year requirements as regular Lyft
- Lyft Plus drivers receive requests for both Plus and regular rides. You can’t be a Plus-only driver.
If you car qualifies for Plus it will be automatically enabled to receive Lyft Plus requests. If you think your car qualifies for Plus but you’re not getting Plus requests, email Lyft and ask to be added to the Plus lineup.
Lyft Premier vehicle requirements
Lyft Premier is a higher-end Lyft service for customers who are willing to pay more to get a ride in a nicer vehicle.
- Must seat 4 passengers
- 2009 or newer
- Luxury vehicles from these brands: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz
- Other vehicles qualify: View the full list of Premier-eligible vehicles
Lyft Lux vehicle requirements
Lyft Lux is Lyft’s high-end service launched to compete with Uber Black. It’s the most expensive service, so it has the potential for higher earnings than any other Lyft service.
- 2011 or newer
- Black exterior
- Premium interior: Leather or leather-like material only. No cloth interiors.
- Driver must have an average rating of 4.7 or higher.
- Full list of qualifying Lux vehicles.
Restrictions: Cars that don’t qualify for any Lyft service
- Full-sized vans (12 or 15-passenger vans like Ford Transit and E-Series, GMC Savana)
- Taxis and other commercially marked vehicles
- Salvage title or rebuilt title
Will your vehicle pass the Lyft inspection?
When you get your car inspected for Lyft, a certified mechanic will check for the following:
- License plates: Current and valid
- Tires: Need sufficient tread. On a US penny, tread must reach Lincoln’s head
- Windows: Free of major cracks, no cracks in driver’s field of vision. Windows must roll up and down
- A/C and heat: Must be present and functioning
- Wipers: Functioning and in good condition
- Lights: All must function. Headlights, turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights
- Horn: Must function
- Seat belts: All must be present and functional
- Seats: Front seats must move forward and backward
- Body: Free of major damage or dents
- Tailpipe/muffler: Must meet state standards
Read more about the Lyft vehicle inspection to see the inspection form.
What the Lyft vehicle requirements mean in the real world
Does reality match up with Lyft’s stated standards? For the most part, yes, the standards apply in real life, if you’ve taken lots of Lyfts or Ubers, you might have noticed that not every car is perfect. Here’s how you can expect the standards to apply in real life.
How much body damage can my car really have?
Lyft says that your car can’t have major cosmetic body damage, but what does that mean in the real world? In the end, whether your car’s damage is too severe is the decision of the person inspecting your car. When I began driving, they told us that fist-sized dings or dents were ok, but that anything more isn’t acceptable. In the real world, most inspectors are ok with scratches and dings, but a massive dent or a piece of your car drooping/sticking out/obviously broken won’t be accepted.
What about the other standards. Is there flexibility?
Lyft makes no exceptions on model year requirements. For standards like tires/windows/lights/AC & heat, there’s not a lot of room for interpretation. You might be able to slip by with broken AC or a non functioning feature or two if the inspector doesn’t look closely, but in the long run your passengers will notice and you’ll get low ratings. It’s better to fix your car now then to get hired only to get fired after your passengers complain about your car.
Does your car qualify for Lyft?
If you’ve read the standards in this post and you’re still not sure, the only two things you can do are to email Lyft or apply to drive for Lyft and find out during the application process. There’s no perfect online tool that can tell you for certain if your car qualifies or not. The only way to be certain is to apply and find out.
If you need to buy a car that qualifies for Lyft, start searching here: