• canaanmanley

A Hidden Cost of Being a Delivery Driver

Updated: Jan 10

This year has really put a strain on most of us. Some, like me, have been furloughed for a portion of the year. I was also laid off toward the end of the year, and others again like me felt that sting. The job market hasn’t been terribly strong, but there are options out there. You may have seen the signs on doors of restaurants and fast food joints for delivery options. Uber Eats, Door Dash, and Grubhub are three of the more popular options that will deliver food from the restaurant directly to your door. They have seen a growth explosion this year due to the COVID-19 panic that stopped most dine-in options in almost every state in the U.S. While using the service for food delivery is a good option, you may have thought about driving for one of all of them to deliver food as a side gig. It can be a great option to make some income either as a part-time or full-time option, but doing so may have a hidden cost you might not have thought of: extra vehicle maintenance.


How Much Can Extra Maintenance Cost Me?

Let’s make an assumption that you have something reasonable on gas before you sign up to be a delivery driver. How about a 2005 Honda Civic with a 1.7L engine and automatic transmission? It’s pretty fuel efficient, it shouldn’t wear a set of tires out too fast, and isn’t atrocious on insurance. Being a delivery driver on the side or perhaps full-time shouldn’t make any of those start costing you an arm and a leg. Insurance is debatable, so you’ll have to check on that.


There is one thing that may start to cost you more than you realize, and that could be routine vehicle maintenance. Engine oil changes, transmission oil changes, brake fluid and coolant replacements, etc. It all adds up the more you use your vehicle for deliveries, especially in stop and go traffic all day many days per week.


There are definitely some options to mitigate the cost, or not allow the costs to get out of hand. You could go the frugal way, which means buying the lowest cost oils, fluids, and filters with changing everything on the short side of the mileage range. You may be able to find a middle ground with a better brand and slightly better filters. Or you could extend the mileage between changes with supreme fluids and filters from AMSOIL.


In order to make an informed decision on a maintenance strategy, you first need to establish the baseline option. That will be with the lowest cost oil, filters, and fluids. These should be used with the lower end of the mileage recommendations, so think of them with the old tagline “3 months or 3,000 miles”.


This is when each oil / fluid should be changed for daily stop & go driving:

· Engine oil & filter – 3,000 miles

· Automatic transmission fluid & filter – 30,000 miles

· Brake fluid – 30,000 miles

· Cooling system – 60,000 miles

· Power steering fluid – 60,000 miles

· Air filter – 15,000 miles


What does each change cost with the lowest cost option?

Engine oil & filter – 5w-20 4 quarts Oil = $10.75 total + $5.50 for the filter ($16.25)

Automatic transmission fluid – 6.2 quarts ($27.00 total) + $10.00 for filter

Brake fluid – DOT 3 brake fluid ($3.00 for 12-oz bottle)

Cooling system – ~5 quarts or 2 gallons ($15 total)

Power steering fluid – $6.00 for 12-oz bottle

Air filter – $9.00


Now knowing how much each fluid and filter will cost to change, and when to change each, you can start to determine how much being a delivery driver will cost you in maintenance. The mileage you travel every time you drive will vary, so we’ll select 200 miles per day as your average for this example. Assuming you drive 5 days per week delivering, that will cover 1,000 miles every week. Roughly 4,000 miles per month, 52,000 miles every year, etc. It adds up pretty quickly. Now with a target mileage per week, we can really start to determine how much the minimum maintenance is going to eat into your profit.


Every month you need an engine oil and filter change. Really, it should be every 3 weekends, but realistically not many of us are that committed. Once a month is a good plan. That’s $16.25 every month, or $195 per year. Every 3.5 months you need a new air filter, so that’s $27.00 per year. Twice a year you need to service the transmission at $37.00 a pop, and the brake fluid should be changed twice every year for a total of $6.00. Lastly you only need to replace all the engine coolant once at a cost of $15.00 and the power steering fluid at $6.00. The grand total of one year of minimal maintenance is $323.00.


Taxes may vary by state and country, so adjust these prices as needed. We’re also assuming that you’re going to do all this work yourself, that you have all the tools, and have the space to do this. If not, keep in mind that a simple oil change can cost upwards of $50.00. Each of these services can double or triple the cost of the materials. You may end up spending $1,000 per year if you have a favorite service station or neighborhood oil change outlet that you frequent.


How Can I Reduce Maintenance Costs Every Year?

With a baseline determined, we now need to find a better program, if possible. The minimum maintenance includes the lowest cost of everything from oils, fluids, and filters. What if you could spend a little more on the fluids and filters, and spend less time doing to changes? Would the effort pay off financially in the year? We’ll have to do the math to find out.


AMSOIL is one of the best, if not the best, synthetic oil available. Everything you need for your Honda Civic is available from their website, and they will delivery exactly what you need directly to your door. Their products offer superior protection to the bargain brands, and that extra protection allows you to run longer before needing to change the fluids.


Using AMSOIL Synthetic Oils, we can change the maintenance costs like this:

· Engine oil & filter – 25,000 miles (filter at 15,000 miles + oil change)

· Automatic transmission fluid & filter – 30,000 miles

· Brake fluid – every 2 years

· Cooling system – 150,000 miles

· Power steering fluid – 60,000 miles

· Air filter – check at 25,000 miles


What does the annual cost change to?

Engine oil & filter – 5w-20 5 quarts Oil = $66.50 + $38.00 for the two filters ($104.50)

Automatic transmission fluid – 6.2 quarts x $17 per quart ($105.40 total) + $10.00 for filter

Brake fluid – DOT 3 brake fluid ($8.00 for 12-oz bottle)

Cooling system – ~5 quarts or 2 gallons ($47 total)

Power steering fluid – $10.00 for 12-oz bottle

Air filter – $21.00


Annual cost = $326.90


You may be shocked to see that the difference between the minimal bargain brand and AMSOIL Signature Series products in a year is just $4.00. Let that sink in a for a minute. That’s the difference of one gourmet coffee from a local coffee shop in a year. You should also notice that the frequency of changing the fluids decreases with AMSOIL synthetic oil. The engine oil will last 25,000 miles, and you just have to replace the filter and one quart of oil around 15,000 miles. One oil change every six months instead of every month saves a lot of time. The brake fluid exchange can be done every 2 years, the cooling system can be done about every 3 years, and you just check the air filter at the 6 month oil change mark. If it needs replacing, you replace it. If not, put it back in and keep driving.


Can I Actually Decrease Maintenance Cost with Better Products?

You might think that the $4.00 difference is definitely worth your effort and time when you consider how much less work you have to put into all of the fluid changes to keep your Honda Civic running healthy. Would the deal be even better if you could drop the prices up to 25% off the listed retail price? You actually can with the AMSOIL Preferred Customer program. It offers up to 25% off retail pricing, free shipping on orders over $100, other bonus offers throughout the year, and it’s just $20 for a 1 year membership. If you want to order ahead of time on products, a 6-month membership is just $10. Your membership can save you some extra money that can be put in other places to make driving even more fun.


Delivering for Uber Eats, Door Dash, or a handful of other services is one way to make a few extra dollars or help transition to an entrepreneurial effort on your own time. Keeping your vehicle in top shape is a must if it is going to be a primary factor in making an income. One of the best ways to do that is keeping the fluids full with premium fluids from AMSOIL. They offer superior protection and are backed by a warranty. You probably won’t get that same guarantee from the bargain brand. If you’re not sure what maintenance strategy will work best for your vehicle, contact us for help. We can set you up with a winning strategy to make sure you earn maximum profit in your first year of driving. We are your local AMSOIL dealer, and are here to help keep your vehicles and power equipment running smoothly.


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