Make Sure Your Used Car Wasn't a Rideshare First

There's a lot to be said for buying a used car; there are also enough jokes about buying a used car to put anyone on edge. Your next used car could always have a past life you need to know about. With the rise of ridesharing, we need more transparency than ever.

Although we don't know for certain, one guess puts about 1 million Uber drivers in the United States, and that's not counting drivers who work exclusively for other companies, such as Lyft. Many of those drivers stop participating within a year, but no matter what, that's a lot of non-primary cars on the road. When rideshare drivers get out of the game, vehicle histories won't show that they're essentially taxis. Instead, because those drivers are independent contractors, a Carfax report will simply state the car was for personal use.

Even if the outside of a former rideshare car is kept in nice condition, there are ways you can spot one while you're shopping. The first clue is the mileage — a recent model with 50,000 miles on it is a big red flag. While it's possible to get a good used car with that kind of distance on it, the demands of a rideshare car are very different than highway commutes or cruising. Starting and stopping too much, as well as idling, can create mechanical trouble down the line fast.

Other ways to spot a rideshare car include the condition of the back seat, which may show stains, rips, or simply more wear than the front; sticker residue on the windows; and airport permits on display. You may want to get in touch with the car manufacturer with further questions if you're still considering the purchase, but make sure you're prepared for issues that aren't necessarily on the label.