How Toronto Uber Drivers can cheat themselves out of $1,000’s per year

By September 7, 2017Maintenance, Ridesharing
Car maintenance for Uber drivers

One thousand dollars. Think about a thousand bucks, and how you’d feel if you suddenly lost them. This is often the penalty for neglecting a routine vehicle maintenance schedule. It’s hard to predict exactly how much keeping up with maintenance will save you in the long run, but an annual, four-figure kick in the pants is a good mental starting point.

As a rideshare driver in Toronto trying to make a buck, you’ll be city-driving during busy times. This means a lot of stop and start. Missing an oil change by a few hundred kilometers isn’t going to explode into a $1,000+ mechanical issue, but let’s talk brakes and tires for a moment.

The costs of improper maintenance hits ridesharing drivers harder

Depending on your ridesharing strategy and availability, you could clock 200-2,000km per week of city or suburbia driving. Some Toronto Uber drivers do 10 hours a week, some do 60 or more. Either way, you’ll be using the brakes a lot. If you’ve failed to maintain either your tires or stopping equipment, even small fender benders can run you over $1,000. (These Globe & Mail snippets explain why: $1,700 ding, $2,200 dent)

This doesn’t include the money left on the table while the car’s at the shop. A good day in Toronto can net hundreds for a seasoned Uber driver.

For city drivers, here are some common wallet-killing car issues:

  1. Potholes, failure to address wheel misalignments = damaged shocks and suspension (easily can hit $1,000)
  2. Erratic stop-starts, failure to replace transmission fluid and overheating = blown transmission (way over $1,000)
  3. Bad brakes, leads to increase chance of fender bender, typically north of $1,000 to fix.
  4. Bumpy roads increase odds of neglected windshield chips turning into cracks. A full windshield replacement can run well over $2,000
Maintenance schedule meme

The bad noises always win in the end.

Adjusting your maintenance schedule for Uber driving

Keeping on top of this is simple, in theory. Budget your maintenance costs based on your vehicle and by knowing your average kilometerage per week. Many Uber drivers use apps like TripLog or Stride Drive to track their stats. This is useful for tax season as well, but be aware many apps are geared to the American market… so YMMV 😉

Anyway, once you’ve figured out your average weekly kilometerage, use your vehicle’s recommended service schedule, found in the user manual. General guides like this one or this one are nice, but for all that is good and holy, use your vehicle’s specific schedule (most manuals for newer cars can be found online)!

Example: adjusting a maintenance schedule for urban ridesharing conditions

Okay, let’s say you ending up driving for Uber four days a week, 6-8 hours a day, at roughly 150km per day. You have a 2015 Mazda 3. According to the manual, you qualify for the ‘Schedule 2 fixed oil’ maintenance routine (apparently, Mazda treats ‘severe driving’ and ‘living in Canada’ the same. Interesting).

So: 600km per week against the manual’s 8,000km oil and filter change means you’re due every 13-14 weeks, which is slightly more often than the baseline four month interval. Same goes for brake fluid inspection, tire rotation and tire pressure. Disc brakes are due at 10 months instead of 12.

And this assumes you only use your vehicle for Uber.

Summary: don’t gouge your own paycheque!

It really, truly pays to be on top of your maintenance schedule. This applies double to Uber or Lyft drivers who depend on their vehicle’s health for income. Spending the cash to prevent a huge repair bill is always a smart investment. Happy roads, and drive safe.

The folks at RepairMatch wrote this article. We’re an official Uber partner in Toronto, providing ridesharing drivers and regular folk alike with access to a super convenient, easy-online-booking service for the city’s top-rated mechanics and detailers. If you’d rather not deal with searching for shops and calling them up to schedule your maintenance, we’re open 24/7 – schedule an oil change at 1am if that floats your boat!

Currently, we offer online booking services for:

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