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Sacramento County Says It’s Illegal to Work on Your Own Car in Your Own Garage
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This type of common auto repair is no longer permitted at home in Sacramento County.

Residents of Sacramento County might want to think twice before heading to their garage to do a car repair. According to a heated discussion at the Grassroots Motorsports forum, the zoning laws of Sacramento County include an anti-vehicle-repair code. The decree forbids car owners from doing major repairs on their vehicles in their garage.

The lawmakers have split the auto repair activity into two buckets: major and minor, Jalopnik reported.  

Brake part replacement, change of oil and filter, repair of flat tires, minor tune-ups, lubrication and “other similar operations” are listed as “Minor automotive repair,” meaning homeowners are permitted to perform these activities, as long as the car is registered to a resident of the house


However, for anything beyond the listed activities, the code suggests heading to the nearby licensed mechanic, because it would be listed in the category of “major automobile repair or maintenance.”   

Painting vehicles or vehicle parts is also in the ‘major automobile repair’ category, presumably meant to fend off illegal paint booths in backyards.

The code also states that residents performing a minor car repair should not use “tools not normally found in a residence.” The vague explanation of this part of the code has especially infuriated gearheads and car enthusiasts. Jalopnik writes: “How exactly do you define “tools not normally found in a residence?” A socket set? A torque wrench? A brake drum puller? This feels like a rule that’s dangerously open to interpretation with pretty minimal supporting evidence.”

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Despite the code’s intention to prevent illegal backyard chop-shops, a lot of members of the Grassroots Motorsports forum are concerned this law will hurt car enthusiasts. One member of the forum was among the first to fall victim to the code, claiming they were issued a $430 fine for violating the decree.

The code enforcement of the Sacramento county website justifies the law in place as beneficial for the environment and the economy.

“The chemicals involved in major automobile repair can pollute our neighborhoods and endanger the health and wellbeing of our residents,” reads the statement. “Furthermore, this kind of activity increases vehicle traffic and the visual impact can negatively impact property value.” 

What do you think about this type of municipal code? Is it helping or hurting homeowners? Let us know in the comments section.


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