How Uber and Lyft Drivers Prepare Their Car for Winter
It has unfortunately the time of year where Uber and Lyft drivers (mainly in the North and Northeast) need to worry about the winter (about a foot of snow is on the ground in Denver). Before it gets too cold (too late Denver), there are a number of things you can do to prepare for the winter and beat some of the crowds at the local auto store:
The easiest thing to do to prepare for winter is to check your tire pressure. As it gets colder, the tire pressure should decrease a few PSI and also your tires leak. Its best to check and pump them up before the colder weather set in because it sucks to pump air into your tires when its 20F outside.
The most important thing on your car is your tires. You can have a beat up Honda or an AWD SUV, but it doesn’t matter if you have worn out tires or the wrong tires. If you are driving in weather under 40F, you need to get all-season tires. Cars in many parts of the country come with summer tires and are not meant for driving under 40F and in snow (like in North Texas). The reason it comes with summer tires is that they perform better than all-season tires in the rain and in the dry. Cars in the North and Northeast generally come with all-seasons and states in the middle have options for both. If you are doing extended driving in the snow, I would recommend getting winter (snow) tires for city and highway driving. Winter (ice) is better for hard pack snow, like in the mountain or more rural roads.
Now, not all tires are made equal. Some tires are better than others, even though other specifications are the same. Even two tires that is the same brand and model line can be drastically different. The best place to find out how good your tires are is on TireRack.com. This has been my go-to website for the last decade for shopping for tires.
There are two ways they rate tires: by customer reviews/ratings and also their own performance test. The customer reviews and ratings generally list and rate many more tires so you should be able to find the rating for your tire. Click the link above, then try to find out what type of tire you have. It is probably easiest to look at the model and size of your tire, then search for it on TireRack. Once you have the type of tire, then go to the link above, then click on the category, then change the size of the tire to make sure you can see your tire model. I usually read the TireRack test report and see what they have to say about the tire.
I normally just buy the highest rated tire in the category I want. I always go to Ultra High-Performance of whatever tire I want. Keep in mind that because its high performance, it has better grip but shorter tire life. I would rather make that tradeoff.
Windshield Wiper Fluids
The only fluid I check is the windshield wiper fluid. This is really important especially in the middle of the winter. I normally get this kind because it prevents water from sticking to your windshield:
I normally get the premixed stuff because its just easier and comes in two flavors:
Winter Car Accessories
- All season mats – I covered this in my previous post (10 items every Uber and Lyft Driver Needs in their car) but all season mats are necessary in the winter. It makes cleaning the floor of your car super easy.
- Ice Scrapper/Snow Brush – this is only for those who live in cities that can get below freezing. It usually takes about 20 minutes to melt ice from a windshield with the car running, but an ice scraper can do it in a minute. It is a must have, but only for drivers in the northern states. I now carry a tiny one year round in case I forget to put the larger one in my car. A warm credit card from your pocket can work in a pinch but don’t expect it to stay warm for long.
- Snow Shovel – There are a few different types of snow shovels. There are portable ones just for the car, but I normally use a full sized shovel from a hardware store. Below is a small shovel, which should be adequate for a few inches of snow. If its anything near a foot, it will take you an hour with even a full sized shovel.
- If you don’t normally use your trunk, it may be wise to add some extra weight to the back of the car, especially for rear wheel drive cars. This can increase the grip of your tires in the snow. Cinder blocks or thin concrete slabs are good options and can help you get grip to get out of parking spots with snow.