The Car Maintenance Schedule Every Rideshare Driver Should Follow

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As a rideshare driver, your car is your everything.

It’s your most important business asset and your source of income.

So if something were to happen to your car, not only would you have to come up with cash to pay for a repair, but you could also lose out on $100’s or $1,000’s in income as you sit on the sidelines waiting for your car to be drivable.

We want you and your car to be together for as long as possible, with as few breaks as possible, so we’ve put together the ideal maintenance schedule for rideshare drivers.

Why should I follow a car maintenance schedule?

As a rideshare driver, a car breakdown can be a catastrophic event.

And I say this from experience.

When I was a full-time driver, I had a breakdown that took me off the road for nearly 2 weeks.

That meant $2,500 in repair expenses for me AND a loss of at least $2,000 in income. But the most painful thing about the situation was that it was avoidable if I had just been on top of my car maintenance.

After that experience, I began doing the following maintenance schedule.

Weekly Checks

Tires: Check all 4 of your tires for punctures, gashes, scuffs, or bulges. Also, ensure no steel cord is visible at all. If you see any issues, it might be time for a tire change.1,2

Tire pressure: As rideshare drivers, we’re out on the road constantly, so our tire pressure can rapidly decrease. Take a moment to check your tire pressure once a week to make sure they are inflated properly. Compare your tire pressure to what is recommended in your owner’s manual. If you don’t have your owner’s manual, don’t worry. Google it! 1,2

Body and bumper damage: It’s incredibly easy to get a few bumps and scratches without knowing it when you drive 8 – 12 hours a day, often in congested areas. So once a week, or more, have a quick walk around your car to inspect for any new damage, including bumps and scratches. Check closely for any signs of rust as well.

Brake lights and headlights: This one’s especially important for late-night drivers. Park your car in a safe spot, turn your headlights on and ensure all bulbs illuminate. To check your brake lights, back up to a wall, press and hold your foot brakes and use side and rear mirrors to see both brake lights reflected by the wall. 3,4

Dashboard warning lights: This is an easy one. When you start your car, simply check your dashboard for warning lights. If you see one pop up, you can simply check your car manual for any lights that come on. If you don’t have your car manual, or even if you do, you can always Google your specific issue as there is almost definitely someone that’s asked about the light on a forum somewhere. Don’t fall into the habit of ignoring these lights! 5

Leaking fluids underneath the vehicle: Use a flashlight to look under your car for power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, anti-freeze or anything else that could be leaking.6

Windshield wiper fluid: There’s nothing more annoying than getting caught without windshield wiper fluid! That’s why it’s a good practice to check your wiper fluid every week and ensure it’s at least half full. 7

Oil level: Most mechanics and dealerships will recommend oil changes as specified in your car’s owner’s manual which usually falls somewhere between every 2,000 and 6,000 miles.  So as a rideshare driver, check your oil levels every week to ensure they don’t need to be topped off or changed any sooner than that. 7

To check your oil levels, make sure that your engine is cool. Then, take the dipstick out and wipe it off with a rag. Put the dipstick back in and then pull it out and see if the oil levels are where they should be. If they aren’t, you may have a leak which you should get checked out by a pro.7

Pro Tip: Always check your engine lights everytime you drive and do your best to take care of any issues as soon as possible. Check out this article by Synchrony that explains how you should deal with engine lights.

Every 3,000 Miles

Oil Change: Depending on your vehicle, you’ll probably want to go ahead and change your oil every 3,000 miles. You could stretch this a bit farther, but it’s safest to try to change your oil at 3,000 miles unless your owner’s manual says otherwise.9

Check belts and hoses: Your car’s belts and hoses are crucial to keeping your car on the road. So, you’ll want to check them out regularly to see if they need to be replaced. If your hoses appear to be brittle, are worn or are bulging, you will need to get them replaced. If your belts are frayed or worn, then you will need to have your belts replaced. 17

Air filter: Your air filter keeps harmful substances from getting into your engine, so If it’s damaged or dirty, these substances can enter your engine and cause all sorts of problems. Check to ensure that it’s not dirty or blocked. If so, you’ll need to have it replaced.11

Brake pads, rotors, and fluid: Your brake pads, rotors, and braking fluid make up your braking system, and if your braking system isn’t working correctly, you might have a few issues. Every time you change your oil, take a quick look at your pads, rotors, and fluid to ensure there are no issues. 12

Every 6,000 miles

Tire Rotation: Tires last longer if they’re evenly worn down, but your front tires typically get worn faster. That’s why it’s important to get your tires rotated frequently to prevent needing to replace them faster than you’d like and costing you more money.10

Spark plug and wires: Ensure that your spark plugs and wires are still in good working condition. These usually only need to be changed every 30,000 miles or so, so you’re likely going to be in good shape.14

Replace your cabin air filter: Replacing a cabin air filter is probably one of the easiest things you can do to keep your car comfortable. Most vehicles make the cabin air filter easily accessible, and replacing it is as easy as opening a box. The cabin air filter may not be critical to your car’s operation, but it’s easy, it makes the ride more pleasant, and it’s a repair you’ll never have to pay someone else to do.18

Windshield wipers: There’s nothing passengers hate more than hearing a nice, constant screech from your window wipers.Don’t wait until you can barely see through your windshield to check and change your windshield wipers. Constantly check your wipers to ensure they aren’t getting overly worn. Wipers can last as few as 3 months, so it’s important to keep a constant eye on them. 19

Every 15,000 miles – Find a Good Mechanic

At 15,000 miles you’ll want to make sure that you have your battery, serpentine belt, timing belt, and wheel alignment checked among other things, so it’s best to find a great mechanic and take your car in for a full inspection.17

A good mechanic is like having a good doctor.

A trustworthy pro can be the difference between your car lasting just 100,000 miles and 300,000 miles, so don’t take this task lightly.

Ask friends and family, check Yelp and other review sites, and make sure you do your due diligence.

Even with all the love and care, there is still a chance the car might not cooperate and you get stuck with an unexpected bill. With the Synchrony Car Care™ credit card you can get promotional financing to help make those huge bills more affordable. Click here to learn more.

Sources:

  1. How often should i check my tires Affordable Auto Service
  2. How to Properly Check and Fill Tires Cars.com
  3. How to Check Your Car Brake Lights YourMechanic
  4. Checking headlamps and lights How a Car Works
  5. How to Check for Faulty Dashboard Lights YourMechanic
  6. How Often Should You Check The Fluid Levels In Your Car? Matt Castrucci Honda
  7. How Often Should I Check My Car’s Fluid Levels? Affordable Auto Service
  8. How Often Should You Check Your Engine’s Oil? Cars.com
  9. How Often Should You Change Your Oil? Angies List
  10. How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires … and Why It’s Necessary U.S. News
  11. How Often Should You Change the Engine Air Filter? Cars.com
  12. How Often Should You Get Your Brakes Serviced? General Automotive Service Center
  13. How Long Does a Serpentine/Drive Belt Last? YourMechanic
  14. Not sure when to change spark plugs? Look for 6 signs Firestone
  15. How often should I test my battery AAA
  16. Tire alignment Tire Buyer
  17. Everything You Need to Know About Belt Maintenance and Repair Actiongatortire.com
  18. Do I Need to Change the Cabin Air Filter in My Car? Angies List
  19. Replacing Wiper Blades: When is the right time? NAPA

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