Lyft Vehicle Requirements: What Can You Drive for Lyft?
What cars are eligible to drive for Lyft? What can’t I drive for Lyft? This is one of the most common question asked by Lyft applicants. Understanding Lyft vehicle requirements and knowing what to drive for Lyft is an important step in becoming a Lyft driver. Your personal vehicle is the most expensive asset you use on Lyft and if your vehicle doesn’t meet the Lyft vehicle requirements, you can’t drive on Lyft and may need to buy or borrow another car.
If you think your car qualifies to drive for Lyft, you can use my referral link to sign up for Lyft and get a signup bonus:
The below post is an updated list of Lyft vehicle requirements that explains the ins and outs of which vehicles can drive for Lyft and which vehicles do not qualify for Lyft. There are also various state requirements that dictate how old and how many miles a vehicle can have to drive for Lyft. The Lyft vehicle requirements are subject to change without notice.
Different Tiers of Lyft Rides
It is important to know that Lyft offers multiple tiers of their service. Different car qualifies for different tiers, which can increase your earnings potential. Here are the different tiers of Lyft rides:
- Regular Lyft – This is a single pickup and dropoff. You are paid by time and distance with any applicable Prime Time Pricing
- Lyft Plus – This is a ride request for 5 or more passengers. Only drivers with vehicles that can fit 7 or more passengers including the driver will see these requests. It pays more than a regular Lyft ride
- Lyft Premier – This is a ride request for premium vehicles. Click here to see the list of Lyft Premier Vehicles
- Lyft Lux/Lux SUV – This is a ride request for luxury vehicles (nicer than premium vehicles). Lux SUV is a ride request for Luxury SUVs. Click here to see the list of Lyft Lux Vehicles
Lyft Vehicle Requirements: What Cars are Eligible?
These are the Lyft Vehicle requirements for a Regular Lyft ride. Lyft vehicle requirements for Lyft Plus, Lyft Premier, and Lyft Lux/SUV are further down in this post.
- Meet your city’s vehicle age requirement (see below under state regulations)
- Have at least four doors, not including jump doors.
- Offer five to eight seats, including the driver’s.
- Valid registration and insurance
- Clean Title (no salvage, rebuilt titles)
- No major body damage
- Clean interior free of stains and rips
- Automatic or manual transmission
- Gas, Diesel, or E85 engine
- In-state registration
- In-state insurance with your name as a listed driver
- Must pass state safety inspection (if applicable), Lyft vehicle inspection or both.
How to Apply for Lyft If You Don’t Have A Car?
You may have an issue signing up for Lyft if you don’t have a car that qualifies for Lyft. In the application process, you can continue your application with an rental through Lyft’s Express Drive Program. It will allow you to complete the application without entering your car details.
You can also put in details for any car to get through the application process. They typically run the background check and driving record check first before forcing you to put in your car registration and insurance. You can at a minimum get approved to drive on Lyft before finding a suitable vehicle to drive on Lyft.
To start your application with Lyft, use the below referral link to get a signup bonus:
Lyft Plus Vehicle Requirements – 7 Passenger Minivans and SUV
Lyft Plus is a tier of Lyft service that can accommodate 6 passengers. Lyft Plus rides are on average 1.5 times more than a regular Lyft ride. Lyft Plus drivers will receive both regular Lyft and Lyft Plus requests. The Lyft ride notification will show what type of Lyft ride it is. However, many Lyft drives who have Lyft Plus eligible vehicles say that Lyft Plus rides are far and few in between. Most of the Lyft Plus rides are requested on Friday and Saturday nights and very few during the week.
If you already have a minivan or SUV that can seat at least 7 people (including the driver), then feel free to try out Lyft Plus. I would not recommend a potential Lyft applicant to go out and buy a 7 seater vehicle to drive on Lyft since the extra expense and maintenance cost of a Lyft plus vehicle is not offset by higher earnings.
Below are the requirements for Lyft Plus Vehicles, in addition to regular Lyft vehicle requirements:
- Must seat at least 7 people with 7 seat belts (including the driver)
There are some vehicles that can seat 8 or 9 people, including the driver. These vehicles are also eligible for Lyft Plus.
Vehicles that can seat 10 or more passengers are considered commercial vehicles and do not qualify for Lyft Plus.
Lyft Premier Vehicle Requirements – Upscale Vehicles
Lyft Premier is a level of service that has nicer cars than regular Lyft. These rides are typically twice as much as a regular Lyft rides. Lyft Premier requests can be very sparse throughout the week. Lyft drivers can opt to only receive Lyft Premier rides.
Below are the Lyft Premier Vehicle Requirements, in addition to regular Lyft vehicle requirements:
- Must be 2009 or newer
- Cars from a luxury brand such as: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Hyundai, Infinity, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Tesla
- Cars that are on this list: Click here to see the list of Lyft Premier Vehicles
Not all cars from the above brands qualify for Lyft Premier so you need to look closely at the list. For example, Hyundai is on the list, but only two qualify for Lyft Premier. Also, there may be additional model year requirements based on the make/model of your car.
Lyft can change these requirements at any time so be careful if you own a 2009 vehicle. They may change the requirement to 2010 next year, making you in-eligible for Lyft Premier.
If you are to purchase a car for Lyft Premier (I do not recommend this strategy), purchase something 2010 or newer in case Lyft changes the requirements. You can take a look at my Lyft Premier post that breaks down everything Lyft Premier:
Lyft Lux Vehicle Requirements – Luxury Vehicles
Lyft Lux is Lyft’s highest tier in terms of quality of vehicles and drivers. It is about three times as expensive as a regular Lyft ride. While the earning potential is high, Lyft Lux ride requests can be very sparse. Lyft Lux drivers can receive Lyft Lux, Lyft Premier and regular Lyft ride requests.
Below is the Lyft Lux Vehicle Requirements:
- Must be 2011 or newer
- Black Exterior
- Leather interior
- Driver must have a 4.7 or above rating
- Cars that are on this list. Click here to see the list of Lyft Lux Vehicles
Lyft Lux SUV Vehicle Requirements
Lyft Lux SUV is for drivers who own Lyft Lux vehicles that can seat 6 or more passengers. This tier has the same Lyft vehicle requirements as Lyft Lux, but requires a vehicle that can seat 6 or more passengers.
In order to be eligible for Lyft Lux SUV, your car must be in the below list of vehicles with any option that can seat 6 passengers:
- Acura MDX
- Audi Q7
- BMW X5
- Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV
- Chevrolet Suburban, Tahoe
- GMC Yukon, Yukon Denali, Yukon XL
- Infiniti QX60, QX80
- Land Rover LR4, Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Range Rover Velar
- Lexus RX-L, LX, GX
- Lincoln Navigator
- Mercedes GL, GLS, R class
- Tesla Model X
- Toyota Land Cruiser, Sequoia
- Volkswagen Atlas
- Click here to see the full list of Lyft Lux Vehicles
Which Cars Do Not Qualify for Lyft Vehicle Requirements?
Below are cars that don’t qualify for any level of Lyft service:
- 2 door cars
- Cars that don’t have at least 5 seats (like the old Volkswagen CC that only had 4 seats)
- Cars with a rebuilt or salvage title
- Large passenger vans that can carry 10 or more passengers (these are considered commercial vehicles that may require a CDL license in some states)
- Commercial vehicles with commercial plates
What about the Lyft Vehicle Inspection?
Before you can use a car on Lyft, Lyft requires a vehicle inspection from a certified mechanic in some locations. Lyft will send you information on where to get the inspection during your Lyft driver application process. In some states, there are specific locations to go while in other states, you are given a checklist for a certified mechanic to fill out.
The Lyft Vehicle inspection will inspect these items:
- Mirrors (side, rear view mirrors)
- Lights (headlights, tail lights, turn signals)
- Windshield Wiper
- Windshield Spray
- Functioning Climate Control (Heat, AC)
- Seat Belts
- Exterior condition (body damage, missing parts, etc)
- Current registration
These are the items that are part of a normal state safety inspection.
What are Common Questions about Lyft Vehicle Requirements?
There are many questions surrounding these rules. All of the above rules are fairly black and white and Lyft do not deviate from the above rules.
What if my car is old but still very nice like an old BMW?
Lyft does not make any exceptions on how old the car can be. Typically, the age requirement is a state regulation and Lyft does not have any control over this requirement. If the car is too old based on the state regulations, you will not be able to use it on Lyft.
How Much Body Damage is Too Much?
When I was a Lyft Mentor, we were told that damage smaller than your fist wouldn’t count as major body damage, given that all the body panels were present on the car and not peeled away from the frame of the car.
If there is a Lyft inspection, they will judge whether or not there is too much body damage. Even if it gets approved to drive on Lyft, it may get delisted from Lyft if a passenger claims that your vehicle is in poor condition. You will then need to prove that your car is of sufficient condition to be on Lyft with pictures. It may require you to fix the damage on your car before being able to use the car on Lyft.
Do I need a Clean Title?
Most cars have clean titles. A Clean title is a car title that is free from any branding. A typical brand on a car title is either salvage title or rebuild title. While Lyft doesn’t initially check title status when your car is approved on the platform, Lyft runs regular checks on your VIN number to ensure that the car has a clean title. If you have a car that has a brand on your title, eventually Lyft will find out. It may be a few months or a few weeks, but Lyft will find it. I hear from may drivers that their car was removed from Lyft because it had a branded title. Some drivers are not aware there is a brand on their title.
The most reliable way to find out if there is a brand on your title is to run a CarFax report on your own vehicle. Your car title may look clean, but your car may have had a brand on the title in another state before. CarFax have a Title Guarantee in that if they say the car has a clean title, they will pay for your car if it does not have a clean title.
In some states, it is possible to “Title Wash” the car so that it has a clean title. Some states have very loose rules on title brands so they can go to that state and “wash” the title. CarFax checks registrations from all 50 states so they will know if a certain car has ever had a brand on their title. If the car has ever had a brand on the title, it cannot be on the Lyft platform. This is mostly due to higher liability and safety risk for their passengers.
Is there any exceptions to the above rules?
Lyft do not make exceptions to the above rules. If it doesn’t pass inspection, it can’t be on the Lyft Platform. If it doesn’t have a clean title, it can’t be on the Uber platform.
What are the Local State Lyft Vehicle Requirements?
Click the below link to see what the Lyft Vehicle requirements are in your state:
- Illinois | Chicago
- Louisiana | New Orleans
- Minnesota | Minneapolis/St. Paul
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York City
- New York State
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Oregon | Portland
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area
- Washington | Seattle, King County, & Tacoma
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
If your car doesn’t qualify, you can rent a car on Express Drive to drive on Lyft, but it is very expensive.
What if your car doesn’t meet these requirements?
You will not be able to drive on Lyft, You may be approved to drive on the Lyft platform, you won’t be able to drive on Lyft since you don’t have a vehicle that meets their requirements. You can rent a car on their Express Rental program or through other companies such as Hyrecar and Maven.
Do I Really Need In-state Registration
In most states, you don’t need to have in-state registration. The car can be registered and insured in a neighboring state. For example, Rhode Island and New Hampshire cars can drive in Massachusetts. However, you will need in-state registration in Washington State, New York City, Nevada and California.
Does The Vehicle Need to Be Registered in Your Name?
No, the vehicle does not need to be registered in your name. Your name doesn’t need to be on the car title either. Your name needs to be listed as an approved driver on the personal insurance policy. This allows you to drive your parents’ car or your friends car, as long as you are listed in their policy.
Is there a requirement on vehicle condition?
Lyft will only allow cars that are in good condition, free from major exterior and interior damage. Most inspections will forgive exterior damage is smaller than your fist, but if you have body damage, you may need to get it fixed before driving on Lyft. Dented bumpers are ok, but half bumpers are not ok.
The interior needs to be clean with functioning seat belts. I have personally failed a few applicants with extremely dirty interiors. You don’t want to be driving passengers around with a dirty interior anyway so before the inspection, pay $50 to have an interior detail. Just vacuuming out your entire car will go a long way to making it look clean. If there are stains in the cloth, you may pass the inspection, but your reviews will reflect the condition of the car. It is best to pay for an interior detail to clean stains from cloth seats. You will get a higher rating and you won’t have to worry about the inspection.
What is the Lyft Insurance Requirement?
You need to have in-state insurance with your name listed as a driver that satisfies the state minimum liability limits. Lyft requires you have personal auto liability insurance but doesn’t require you to have collision or comprehensive insurance. If you have an accident on Lyft and you do not have collision insurance, Lyft will not insure you for damage to your own car, so beware. Lyft insurance will cover based on your personal insurance policy.
In some states, you can have insurance in a neighboring state, along with a registration from a neighboring state.
Are You Still Unsure about the Lyft Vehicle Requirements?
Ultimately, there is only one way to find out and that is to sign up for Lyft. You can use this link to sign up for Lyft and they will initiate your background check and driving record check at the end of the application process.
You can also leave a comment below and I can try my best to answer any questions you may have about your vehicle.