Jalopnik news item of interest to some of us:
Sacramento County Says It’s Illegal to Work on Your Own Car in Your Own Garage
There’s an interesting discussion happening over at the Grassroots Motorsports forum right now, and presumably at many other places off-line. It’s about laws in Sacramento County stating, essentially, that almost any auto repair you do on your property is illegal. . .
The code states that conducting “minor vehicle repair” or “minor automotive repair” is legal at a residence, and defines “minor automotive repair” as:
Brake part replacement
Change of oil and filter
Repair of flat tires
Other similar operations
And while you can do those things at residences. . .
. . . 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:
1. Using tools not normally found in a residence;
2. Conducted on vehicles registered to persons, not currently residing on the lot or parcel;
3. Conducted outside a fully enclosed garage and resulting in any vehicle being inoperable for a period in excess of twenty-four hours.
Here we have some issues. 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.
Number two is clearly there to prevent people from running off-the-books repair shops, but what if you’re working on a friend’s car? And number three means you can’t do anything unless you have an actual garage, and whatever you’re doing you better get it all wrapped up inside of one day, which, as most of us who’ve dealt with one stubborn, time-sucking, hard-to-reach bolt know, is not always possible. . .
Read the whole thing. Even when I did something as minor as an oil change, I always used the side yard or the driveway; there was never room in the garage. I do remember using the garage to adjust the valves on my little ’81 Toyota Corolla wagon. Is a feeler gauge a tool “normally found in a residence”?
I know that modern automobiles, with all their computerized gizmos, are increasingly hard for the average owner to work on. But there is still a lot that the mechanically-inclined can do. Last I heard, my brother was still doing brake jobs in his driveway. Fortunately, he doesn’t live in Sacramento. But California claims to lead the nation, and I guess they do, if you count obsessive regulation. Lots of home-owners’ associations already forbid more than Sacramento does. So is the Shade-Tree Fix-it Man doomed?
Don’t tell Merle Haggard:
[Also posted on the Hillbilly at Harvard blog. Hat tip: Instapundit.]/LEJ