Sacramento County Is Saying It’s Illegal To Work On Your Car In Your Own Garage



This set of codes in Sacramento County is rough news for California residents. It was brought up in the Grassroots Motorsports forum and has brought attention to the fact that basically almost any auto repair you do on your property is illegal.

The Sacramento Zoning Code states that any “minor vehicle repair” or “minor automotive repair” is legal at a residence. It’s described that “minor automotive repair” is anything that:

– Brake part replacement
– Minor tune-ups
– Change of oil and filter
– Repair of flat tires
– Lubrication

And that would seem fair, except for the fact that what follows is a bit confusing. It goes on to say that it is unlawful for any person to engage in, or permit others to engage in, minor vehicle repair or maintenance in any agricultural, agricultural-residential, residential, interim estate and interim residential zones under any of the following circumstances:

– Using tools not normally found in a residence;
– Conducted on vehicles registered to persons, not currently residing on the lot or parcel;
– Conducted outside a fully enclosed garage and resulting in any vehicle being inoperable for a period in excess of twenty-four hours.

So that then leaves residents with the question: how do you define “tools not normally found in a residence?”. It’s pretty open-ended and up for interpretation.

The second point is in place to prevent people from running off-the-books repair shops, which makes sense but what if you’re working on a friend’s car?

And the third point basically means you can’t do anything unless you have an actual garage and also have the project done in one day, which we all know sometimes isn’t possible.

And that being said, although “minor automotive repair” if done accordingly with the above guidelines, is legal, “Major Automotive Repair,” is not. And a user in the forum, nimblemotorsports, mentioned that he’d already received a $430 fine for working on his car in his garage.

And to reiterate, this isn’t an HOA issue or apartment complex being fussy. This is an entire county. The reason given for such codes is that “The chemicals involved in major automobile repair can pollute neighborhoods and endanger the health and wellbeing of residents. Furthermore, this kind of activity increases vehicle traffic and the visual impact can negatively impact property values.​”

That being said, there has to be a compromise with keeping the aesthetics of the county and cleanliness without essentially banning all DIY work.