This is a guest post courtesy of Diana Steele, owner of Van Isle Glass in beautiful Victoria, BC.
If you are thinking about becoming a driver for a ridesharing company like Uber or Lyft, it’s worth knowing how to be prepared for the most common problems you’ll have with your car.
You may think that the problems a ridesharing driver faces are the same as regular drivers, but that’s actually not true—your driving habits will very likely be different from normal car owners.
All of the common problems you’ll face will have to do with the fact that you will be driving your car much more often than a regular driver. You will have to deal with the same breakdowns and mechanical problems that taxi drivers and car rentals face as a result. Here are the four most common car problems for ridesharing drivers and how to fix them quickly.
Battery & Alternator Problems
When you are a rideshare driver, you’ll be driving a lot. Odds are, you’ll find yourself driving over roads and highways that are not the smoothest. The combination of rougher driving and more frequent driving creates a bad combination for your car battery and alternator.
The shaking and rattling can wear down your alternator belt and battery connections to the point that they break and cause the battery to lose its charge. The frequent use can cause numerous problems that cause your engine to sustain high temperatures for long periods of time, and maybe even overheat. The heat will shorten the battery’s lifespan and exacerbate any problems the battery will have due to faster age or wear and tear.
There are a few ways to fix a dead battery on the side of the road quickly, if the problem is just with the battery: you can have jumper cables or a booster pack in the car to get it recharged.
You can also teach yourself some basic engine mechanics to be able to tell if your battery or alternator has loose connections and belts that you can fix yourself. If the alternator belt is broken, you can give the battery a boost but you will need to get it replaced at a shop as soon as possible to prevent the battery from draining again.
However, if the battery is completely dead and unable to hold a charge you may be in bigger trouble. You can try a few emergency battery revival strategies, but if they do not work you will need to have the battery replaced.
Worn & Flat Tires
Another common problem when you drive your car more often is that your tires wear out much faster, and you are more likely to develop a flat tire. Your tires can become flat either due to age or wear and tear, by developing a leak, or because the tire was punctured suddenly. Depending on the extent of the leak or puncture, you can fix it at the side of the road by yourself. if the leak is too large or the tire completely fell apart so you aren’t able to fix it, you can replace it with a spare until you can purchase a replacement.
To fix the tire yourself, you just need to find where the leak is. Fill the tire with air either at a gas station pump or with your own portable tire inflator, and start feeling around the tire with your hand to catch the air leaking out. You can then use a tire puncture sealant and follow the instructions to seal up the leak. If the tire becomes flat again, there’s either another leak or the problem is too serious to be fixed and you will have to replace it with a spare.
To help prevent your tires from developing a flat, make sure you keep your car well maintained: have your tires rotated every scheduled service appointment and have it inspected to make sure the wheels are properly aligned and there are no other mechanical issues that can cause your tires to wear out faster.
Windshield Cracks & Chips
Another problem with driving more frequently, and on rougher roads with debris lying around, is having your windshield chipped or cracked. Although flying debris is only one of many potential causes of a cracked windshield, it is possible for you to fix some smaller cracks or chips yourself with a windshield repair kit that you can purchase and keep in your car.
However, some cracks and chips may be too large to safely repair with your own kit. In that case, you may still be able to have it quickly fixed by a mobile windshield repair service — they drive out to your location, fix it if they can and go on their way. If the damage is too large to be safely repaired you will need to have it completely replaced.
Worn Brakes & Brake Failure
Similar to problems with your tires, frequent use can also cause your brakes to wear out faster or to fail. Brake failure can be caused by several things:
- Overheating due to being used too much in a short span of time — this can be fixed by simply not using them until they cool down
- Your brake fluid is empty or leaked away causing the hydraulic brake system to fail — this can be fixed by topping up the fluids or having the leak repaired at a shop
- There is a mechanical defect in your braking system — this is more serious and usually causes manufacturers to issue mass recalls to have fixed at a service centre
The first two issues you may be able to repair yourself at the side of the road with some backup brake fluid and a little bit of time. However, if the brake fluid was empty due to a leak you will need to have it checked and fixed at a shop as soon as possible.
About the Author:
Diana Steele is the owner of Van Isle Glass, a Victoria glass shop celebrating 20 years in the glass business this year! With her combined background in teaching, sales & marketing she fully understands the significance of exceptional customer service & quality workmanship. While Diana is focused on her business, she is also a proud community-minded, supporter. She attributes her success to her passion for being part of local business, her love of working with people and to her exceptionally talented and hardworking team!