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Some DIY Car Repairs Are Illegal in Sacramento

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If you live in the County of Sacramento, California, you might want to be wary of where you perform do-it-yourself auto maintenance. According to The Drive, this county has an ordinance that prohibits vehicle owners and homeowners from performing certain car-care items in their personal garages.

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What the code allows and forbids

Per the zoning code’s wording, it prohibits you from performing “major automobile repair or maintenance” either inside or outside of a personal garage. The code does allow you to complete a handful of auto repairs in your garage, as long as the vehicle you’re working on is registered under the name of someone who lives there.

The code uses the term “minor automotive repair” to prescribe which auto repairs you can legally perform in your garage. The list includes the following service items: minor tune-up, oil/filter change, repairing a flat tire, brake part replacement, and car-part lubrication.

Where the lines blur

At first glance, the zoning code seems pretty clear on what types of car repairs you can and can’t do. A closer look, however, reveals some vagueness.

For starters, the code uses the phrase “and other similar operations” when it lists the acceptable car-care tasks you can DIY. In addition, the zoning code also bans repairs that involve the use of “tools not normally found in a residence.”

These two vague phrases make DIY auto care a gray area for Sacramento County residents. Per The Drive, it means that county officials could categorize any maintenance task not explicitly mentioned in the above list as “major automobile repair or maintenance,” which would qualify as a finable code infraction. According to a recent discussion on the Grassroots Motorsports forum, one Sacramento County resident was cited with a $430 fine for this type of code breach.

Concluding thoughts

If you live in this specific area of Cali and commonly perform DIY auto maintenance, you might want to be more cautious of which tasks you complete in your garage. If you want to be on the safe side, though, service your car at a dealership, to make sure you avoid transgressing your county’s vague zoning code.

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News Sources: The Drive, Grassroots Motorsports Forum