So much for your project car

If you’re a shadetree mechanic, there are places where you have no access to the tree:

We’ve seen strict vehicle regulations set forth by Homeowners Associations fairly regularly, but a discussion currently taking place at Grassroots Motorsports has brought to light a block of anti-vehicle-repair code from the County of Sacramento, California. In a nutshell, the ordinance prohibits car and homeowners from performing complex repairs on their vehicles, in your own garages.

An excerpt from the zoning code reveals that residents of the county are permitted to perform “minor automotive repair” at their respective domiciles, so as long as they are working on a car which is registered to someone who lives there. However, the code also states that the repair must be minor (which is defined as “brake part replacement, minor tune-up, change of oil and filter, repair of flat tire, lubrication and other similar operations”) and cannot be performed outdoors if the repair would leave the vehicle inoperable for more than 24 hours.

This is not, apparently, an HOA-styled neighborhood-aesthetics issue:

The code enforcement website, however, explains that the law is in place for environmental and financial reasons:

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

For a minute there, I was half-expecting a Prop 65 invocation, because DOT 4 brake fluid causes cancer or something.


  1. fillyjonk »

    12 August 2019 · 10:23 am

    What this may result in is dudes, instead of fixing their cars, just leaving ’em up on blocks in the yard. (In fact, that might be a dandy form of protest).

    I don’t care about dudes fixing their cars; I care about the dude with the poorly-tuned diesel dually smoking out the whole neighborhood while he leaves it idling in his drive.

  2. McGehee »

    12 August 2019 · 12:13 pm

    Sacramento County was bound to go full Pyongyang sooner later.

  3. jsallison »

    13 August 2019 · 6:29 pm

    Lawton in general is not a fan of cars on blocks. You’ll be getting nasty grams from city services if the tires aren’t in contact with the ground for more than a couple of days (and inflated, not flat). Guess having a grease pit and electric lift in your garage is right out.

  4. CGHill »

    14 August 2019 · 8:21 am

    If the garage is big enough to accommodate a lift and a grease pit, how are they to know? Have they started actually reading building permits?

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