DIY “major” car repairs are illegal in Sacramento

Did you know it’s illegal to do some auto repairs yourself in Sacramento California? It seems more and more that California is taking away some liberties. If you remember a few years back California released some laws limiting what all modifications that can be done to a car’s exhaust.

Now Sacramento county took it one step further. The code states that doing any work on a car that’s more than what they consider minor automotive repair is illegal. (Disclamer: We are not lawyers so if you have further questions you should contact a law professional.) They define minor automotive repair as,

Minor adjustments, service, and repairs to automobiles or other passenger vehicles. Examples include but are not limited to: radiator, transmission, muffler, and brake repair, lubricant shops, diagnosis and tune-up, smog inspection, auto glass repair and installation, automotive seat covers and re-upholstery, tire sales and service, and car washes.. Shall not include body and engine work as defined in “Major Automobile Repair.” (See Section 7.3 of the Zoning Code)​​​​.

Code Enforcement Sacramento

While it seems they’ve updated the code since caused an uproar a little over a year ago most of the verbiage is still a little vague. For instance, it says that you can do minor service to the radiator but rebuilding the radiator, which probably means replacing, is illegal.

You can perform services on the transmission but you aren’t allowed to rebuild the transmission. Any major automotive repair is prohibited. The law defines major automotive repair as,

​​​Major body and engine work and repairs to automobiles, other passenger vehicles, or boats.  Examples include but are not limited to:  Rebuilding of radiator, transmission, and other major machine shop, body rebuilding, and painting. (See Section 7.3 of the Zoning Code)​

Code Enforcement Sacramento

In addition, you aren’t allowed to work on a friend’s vehicle. If the vehicle isn’t registered to the home where it’s being worked on it’s illegal. Do you use tools like an air compressor, an air impact wrench, or a torque wrench? If so by law it’s unlawful for you to perform any auto repair.

The law states that ,

It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in, or permit others to engage in, minor vehicle repair or maintenance 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; and,
Conducted outside a fully enclosed garage or accessory structure and resulting in the vehicle being inoperable for a period in excess of 24 hours. (See Section 3.2.5, Table 3.2 (I) of the Zoning Code)

Code Enforcement Sacramento

If you have automotive tools that aren’t considered to be “tools not normally found in a residence” you aren’t allowed to use them while repairing a car. Otherwise, you could be in some hot water. While the county states that they are doing it for pollution and for the health of its residents it seems a little extreme. What are your thoughts on this matter? Let us know below.

Zoning Codes | Auto Repair | GearHeads

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