Car care and safety tips for rideshare drivers and more

Driving for a rideshare company means you are going on a road trip every day. Having your car prepared for travel is one of the best things we can do for our safety and to be successful as drivers.

Best Roof Box has an article that covers so many great topics like the right way to check the oil in your car, safety items we all should carry, and more. Even though the article is geared towards those taking a road trip with their families, there is still plenty of great information we can apply as rideshare drivers.

Monday: Are you driving for the rideshare or delivery app that pays the best?

What are your car wash options?

Keeping your car cleaned both inside and out is an important part of being a Rideshare Driver.  Riders notice when your car is clean and they really notice when a car is dirty. They may not say anything while riding with you but they will definitely let you know with their rating.  

Doing your own car washes is obviously the most economical. The problem is many drivers live in urban areas without access to a hose and a power outlet for a vacuum. 

Filling up your car at a gas station and then adding on a car wash where available can work but too often the gas station car wash is low quality and over time will scratch your car’s clear coat, lowering your car’s resale value. Wash your car in these car washes at your own risk. 

Taking your car to a dedicated car wash location is more expensive but does provide a better result. There are two types: cloth, and touchless options. I prefer locations that offer a touchless wash. Search for a place that offers a monthly fee for unlimited cleaning inside and out. Howstuffworks explains the difference between these two. I Googled my favorite spot and checked their reviews before making a commitment. 

The final option is a mobile car wash service. This is the most expensive option with prices starting at $49.00 per wash or more. They bring everything – including the water – making it very convenient. These companies often do oil changes for an additional fee so this may be the perfect option for you.

Remember that whichever method you choose, the costs can all be tax deductible.  Please make sure you keep good records throughout the year. 

Friday: You were just involved in a car accident, what do you do?

50 car maintenance hacks

We are all looking for ways to save money. As rideshare drivers, one of the biggest expenses is car maintenance. Even though we can write these expenses off of our taxes, no one wants to spend more than they have to.

One of these easiest ways to save money is to do the work ourselves. Home Hacks offers up to 50 car maintenance hacks that anyone can do. They include using hand sanitizer on frozen car door locks, nail polish on a chipped windshield, Coca-Cola on rusty rims, and more. Most are easy remedies to many of the problems we all face. Even though these hacks are inexpensive, remember that anything you purchase for this purpose is tax-deductible.

Monday: Tax prep time

If your car needs a paint job, consider vinyl

Until recently, painting your vehicle was the only option we had to make a scratched up car look new again. However, vinyl covering is a new option to consider.

Vinyl USA has a great article that lays ot the pros and cons of using this new technology. You may be surprised as to how this could replace painting our cars in the near future.

Monday: A quick look 2021 cars for rideshare

How to care for your car’s leather interior

Having a car with a leather interior is a luxury. If you want the leather to hold up during all of the wear and tear it receives from rideshare, you have to take care of it.  

Because leather is a natural material, it is subject to fading and cracking from the sun. To avoid this, you need to routinely condition the leather to keep it looking like new. GoldenEagle has a list of 5 steps to follow:

  1. Vacuum – Vacuum your seats to remove any loose dust and dirt before conditioning
  2. Apply a leather cleaner – Spray your preferred leather cleaner onto your seats and use a soft-bristled brush to gently agitate any problem areas. The most common spots are the creases and places where skin or hair routinely comes into contact with the leather.
  3. Wipe dry – Use a clean, dry microfiber towel to wipe away any excess moisture. The seats will remain somewhat damp to the touch unless they have been coated. Allow up to 24 hours for the seats to dry depending on your climate
  4. Apply a leather conditioner – Apply your preferred leather conditioner generously and evenly. Avoid letting it pool up in a single area to make sure you have even coverage. A good leather conditioner will keep the leather moist which prevents cracking, while also providing UV protection to maintain the color. After application, allow 4-6 hours for the seats to absorb the conditioner.
  5. Wipe dry – Using a clean, dry microfiber towel wipe off any excess conditioner and then wipe until fully dry.

Spending a few minutes every 3-6 months is the best way to ensure your car’s leather holds onto its luxurious look 

*Previously posted on Aug 5th

Tomorrow: Uber Premium began on August 20th

The top 3 car care tips for the coming seasons

Keeping our cars in top shape is important year-round. However, when it comes to fall and winter there are some specific considerations to take into account.

The Automotive Training Center suggests the following:

  1. Replace your windshield wipes – Fall thunderstorms and snow storms are known for putting your wipers through their paces.. Switching out your wiper blades for a new set, especially if the same pair has already served you for several seasons.
  2. Change your oil more frequently – If you’ve got long road trips, or just tend to drive shorter trips more often in the summer, your oil change frequency needs to adjust accordingly. Follow your manual’s summertime maintenance schedule for your car which can be found inside its owner’s manual.
  3. Check your tires – As temperatures dip so does the pressure as a result of the cold temperatures, . This makes monitoring pressure levels paramount. Using your vehicle’s onboard monitoring system is great, but you also want to use a manual gauge to check the pressure at least once a month during hotter weather.

Following these tips will not only help to keep your car running without issue through these coming months

Tomorrow: How to care for your car’s leather interior

What’s in your trunk can affect your star rating

We all know that keeping the inside of your car clean and clear of clutter has a positive impact on your star rating. However, the trunk of the car is often overlooked!

I recently took an Uber and was carrying a few bags with me after some grocery shopping. The driver popped the trunk for me to place everything inside. When I saw the condition of his trunk, I was immediately uncomfortable. Rumbling in the trunk was what looked like a dirty infant car seat, a roll of paper towels that had come unrolled, a couple of used face masks stuffed in the corner, and dusty and dirty trunk mat. I reluctantly placed my bags back there after tying them closed.

First impressions matter! The inside of the car itself was clean but for the entire trip I kept thinking about my groceries and how I was going to have to immediately wash everything as soon as I got home. 

We’ve all been busy dealing with the effects of Covid-19.  You may have decided to go back to driving and did a full cleanup of the inside of your car but don’t forget about your trunk! The star ratings game can be a tough one. I nicely told him about his mess in his trunk and that I was a driver too and was only trying to help him. He took the feedback well. I did give him 5 stars and a tip but some riders will not be so understanding!

*Previously posted on June 5th

Tomorrow: The importance of a daily routine

What to consider when tinting your car windows

Many new cars now come with tinted windows, especially luxury models. However, even if your car didn’t come with tinted windows, you can always choose to add this feature

Outside of giving your car an enhanced aesthetic appeal, there are other benefits to tinting. According to Ultimate Window Tinting, it can help protect you and your car’s interior from UV rays from the sun, darkens your vehicle to hide valuables, and helps to prevent glass from shattering in an accident or break-in. Angieslist.com says the cost for this upgrade can range from $99 to $400 depending on what you choose.

When choosing a film, you first have to consider the percentage of VLT or visual light transmission. How dark you can go will vary from state to state and AAA is a great resource to figure this out. Be sure you do this homework to prevent an unwanted ticket.

Once you have decided how dark to go, your next step is to choose a film type. Utimate Window Tinting lists the following options:

Infrared film tinting – Infrared films are long-lasting, and block about the same amount of UV rays as other tinting treatments do. One advantage of infrared tinting is its high visibility level, which is a great fit for states with strict tinting laws.

Metallic film tinting – This tinting treatment can make your car’s exterior look sleek and shiny. One major drawback to this option is that it tends to block wireless signals, meaning that you or your passengers may not be able to rely as heavily on your smartphone or GPS while driving. We don’t recommend this for rideshare.

Carbon film tinting – Carbon films offer similar advantages to metallic films, but without the problem of signal blockage.

Tinting coats (Not a DIY Option) – Some businesses offer the choice of spraying a coat of tint onto the car windows. This treatment is one of the most durable options; however, it is also one of the most labor-intensive, and can be costly.

If you want to take your car up a notch, this could be the right choice for you!

Tomorrow: Help for rideshare and delivery drivers from the Beana App

What do you look for when buying a dash camera for rideshare?

Everyone is talking about dash cameras for their cars, especially rideshare drivers. It is a great way to protect yourself by proving you were not at fault in an accident, proof for Uber or Lyft of an unruly rider who chose not to wear a mask or is acting inappropriately, evidence of your actions if you were pulled over by the police and so much more.

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to buying a dashcam, so what are some of the features that you may want to have?

Price – DashCam models can start out at $50. and move on up to more than $400,. but some of the features you may want as a rideshare drive can be found in the $200 range. 

Easy installation – No one wants to read a book or need a computer science degree in order to install your camera in your car and the app on your phone.

Video quality – 720p is pretty standard but you might want to consider 1080p which would allow you to zoom in on a face or license plate. Some models in the upper price range are now offering 4k but that is more of a luxury than a necessity. 

Parking Mode – We all have to leave our cars unattended from time to time. This mode will automatically start recording the moment it senses a vibration.

Dual Cameras – You also want a model that has a camera facing forward to record any kind of traffic incidents you may encounter and one that is rear facing to catch the activities of an unruly rider. 

Wireless streaming  – This is a nice to have feature because it allows you to view footage from your camera without having to remove a memory card. 

Dash cams can be found at many of the big box stores or online. For this kind of purchase I like Costco because of their excellent return policy, and they never charge a restocking fee! However, they do require you to pay a membership fee.

*Previously posted on 7/20/2020

Tomorrow: What to consider when tinting your car windows

Top 3 places to buy your new tires online

It’s going to happen – you are going to have to replace your car tires. Often people choose to go to some of the well known retailers like Costco, Big O, Goodyear and more. However, purchasing them online may now be the best way to go!

Car Talk has chosen 6 online retailers based on price, selection, customer service and fast delivery.  Of those 6 I have listed their top 3 below with some information about each one.

Tire Rack -According to Car Talk, “Tire Rack is simply the king of online tire retailers. Their site is an amazing resource of everything you could possibly want to know about tires.” This is my go to for new tires. Even though they are an online retailer, I usually place my order over the phone. I have found their service reps to be very helpful and full of product knowledge.

Discount Tire Direct – ”If Tire Rack is Coca-Cola, you could think of Discount Tire Direct as RC Cola. It got its start the same way Discount Tire’s advantage over Tire Rack is that while it does ship directly to your house, it also manages a number of stores in convenient locations around the country that can handle the mounting and balancing duties.”

Amazon.com – “Amazon.com is relatively new to the tire business, but it’s quickly making some headway. On the plus side, if you have an Amazon Prime membership you get free shipping, which is kind of a big deal with tires. Selection is sort of a plus for Amazon, too, although we say that with a caveat. Like everything else on Amazon, it’s a caveat to the emptor.”

As with any big purchase, do your homework. Don’t just shop by pricing but check ratings, reviews and compare. If you make an informed decision you will likely be pleased with your purchase.

Tomorrow: Tinting your car windows