BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/18/10 4:55 p.m.

Apologies if this is a beginner's question but I'm not sure what I have to search for so I can't really find it.

Anyway, in the larger cities in Germany you tend to find workshops where you can rent a bay or a lift by the hour (often with tools if needed). It's a pretty good service if you have no garage or not enough room in your garage to work on your car and/or local bylaws forbidding this. I've never seen this service offered in the UK but then people aren't that bothered if your neighbour works on his car out in the road.

Do people offer this sort of service in the US at all? And if so, what do I have to look for on Craigslist/Google or in the Yellow Pages?

Background - we have to get some problems on my wife's 93 Cherokee fixed. Some of it is stuff I won't touch (a/c system, for example) but some of the other issues I know I can fix and I'd rather do it myself. Trouble is, landlord doesn't really want us to work on her car in the garage we share with them and HOA doesn't like cars parked outside, let alone worked on outside. Which means I either need to farm out all the work or I need to find a place where I can do some of the work and just farm out the stuff I don't want to touch.

Timeormoney New Reader
3/18/10 5:06 p.m.

I have no idea, but would love to be able to rent a garage while in school.

LaGoeMotorsports None
3/18/10 5:10 p.m.

In the San Francisco Bay Area these exist. I don't remember the name off hand but there is one in San Francisco for all those without garages. Many people just share the cost of a shop between each other so the cost is minimal. Hope that helps

-Cory LaGoe

LaGoe Motorsports

Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/18/10 5:20 p.m.

Renting a workshop space is rare and expensive. Most areas don't mind you working on your own car unless you have 15 greasy engines piled in your front lawn. However, HOA's are terrible to deal with if you're a home mechanic. Avoid whenever possible. They should not be able to complain if you confine the work to your garage, keep the noise down after dark, and don't do any painting other than a brush or spray can. Can't park in your own driveway? I've heard of places like that, hope this is a short term home for you. Just work inside the garage with the door closed (inconveinent but possible) and they should be none the wiser...

shadetree30 New Reader
3/18/10 5:30 p.m.

When I was in the service often the Navy Exchange would allow you to rent bay space. Car had to be insured, etc., I never got to take advantage of it because we were deployed so much...

For that matter (see the Buick thread) I'm currently working on a succession of cars beside my house. So do my neighbors and nobody bothers anybody.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/18/10 5:30 p.m.

Yeah, definitely a short term home (no work for me in Vegas). I don't think the HOA would mind if I worked on the car inside but it's a double garage and the landlord has the other space as we currently only rent the guest part of that house.

The guy how owns the house actually got himself elected as president of the HOA because he was so fed up dealing with them but that means he can't really go about flaunting the rules. Which means that his/our house is the only occupied one in the development that doesn't have a car parked outside it.

Once Ann & me live together properly, we'll definitely be looking for non-HOA places with a garage. I just want to fix up some of the Cherokee's issues (like a speed wobble it's had since she bought it about 10 years ago) before we have to travel to wherever we may end up. Which may well be half across the country.

Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/18/10 5:50 p.m.

Speed wobble? I think thats a common issue with those. Poke around and you'll get an answer. See also "Death Wobble / Tank Slapper"

digdug18 Reader
3/18/10 11:00 p.m.

I know in philly atleast I have looked and have not come across such a dinosaur as a garage that you can rent to tools. Like posted above, the closest I've seen is for the military, every base, even the small ones have atleast 1 or 2 bays with a fulltime mechanic. The mechanic can tell you how to work on your own car, and help to diagnose problems, but won't work on your car.His fulltime job is to basically run a tool room, where you can use the tools for free. You just give them your license, until you turn all the tools back in.

Its a good idea, if there was such a thing would be hard pressed to make money, or atleast I think. Though a non-profit might work.


BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/19/10 1:39 a.m.
Gearheadotaku wrote: Speed wobble? I think thats a common issue with those. Poke around and you'll get an answer. See also "Death Wobble / Tank Slapper"

Yep, I found out about it being a common issue after someone mentioned it on here . I'll start investigating from that angle, even though some of the common reasons (lifted car) don't apply.

mtn SuperDork
3/19/10 2:08 a.m.

I'd recommend finding a local forum and posting up "Hi, I'm new, and will need a place to work on the car" and seeing what you get.

gjz30075 New Reader
3/19/10 7:12 a.m.

What I've done, in the various places I've lived, is to scope out the local car washes and use their bays during off hours for simple mechanic stuff.

I have no need to do this today but in the past, it worked fine. Not sure how it'll work in today's world.

jrw1621 Dork
3/19/10 7:30 a.m.

I suspect that OSHA and EPA regulations are what keep this kind of business (rent-able workspace) from happening. I know for indoor and outdoor boat storage the rules keep getting tougher for what work you can actually perform yourself on their grounds.

oldtin Reader
3/19/10 8:13 a.m.

There have been a few clubs/auto storage facilities that have started popping up - some with bays and lifts. Around Milwaukee there's a group of MG folks who have done this - they charge something like $50/month. Most are more like a couple hundred.

Death wobble - if it's already installed, steering stabilizer is worn (shock absorber on the tie rods). If you don't have one - it will fix or minimize it. Skip the jeep part - aftermarket will last longer.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/19/10 8:39 a.m.

I'll look into clubs/workshop facilities properly once we figured where we'd end up. Thanks for the suggestions though, at least that way I know where to look.

@oldtin - I'll check if it's got a steering stabilizer or not, but I'm not 100% convinced that the shake is coming from the front end. When I drove the Jeep I thought it probably came from the back; although given that it shakes worse when the tyre pressures are a little off I think it might be the front as some people mentioned that that's one of the triggers for the 'death wobble'.

hotrodlarry Reader
3/19/10 8:40 a.m.

What about renting a self storage unit? I know one guy that keeps his stock car in one I'm not sure what the rules are about anything like that, but he pulls the car out if anything major needs to be fixed and wheels it back in when he's done.

digdug18 Reader
3/19/10 9:40 a.m.

I've got a storage unit, the rules are even stricter then an HOA, you aren't allowed to do anything there. And they most places lock the gate at 9pm, so even if you have a code to get out from inside after 9pm, you can't. Fun Fun Fun...

Yeah, If you find a old garage, you might be able to do a 4 way split with some other people in the area or something, provided their are 4 open bays, but otherwise, i dunno.

Locally, the vocational/tech high school runs night programs, teaching auto mechanics and auto body among other things. Alot of people seem to pay the $250 for the 15 week session, every wednesday night from 6pm-9:30pm to work on their cars. The lifts, and tools are all there, you can get alot done.


BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/19/10 9:46 a.m.
digdug18 wrote: ILocally, the vocational/tech high school runs night programs, teaching auto mechanics and auto body among other things. Alot of people seem to pay the $250 for the 15 week session, every wednesday night from 6pm-9:30pm to work on their cars. The lifts, and tools are all there, you can get alot done.

Would that program be open to anybody who's living in the area then? That would be worth it to me just for the learning experience, I really like doing bodywork type stuff but I'm not very good at it, so auto body night classes that would allow me to fix up the wife's ride would be a good thing.

spitfirebill Dork
3/19/10 9:47 a.m.

Glad this came up. For years I have thought about something like this. My chance for a business of my own. There is even a partially abandoned shopping center nearby that would be perfect. There's even enough room for my in door shooting range and a "men's" hobby shop. I figured a big problem would be people stealing your tools. Then of course the insurance people would probably not allow it. Its not in the city so no zoning issues.

If I only had a big pair.

oldtin Reader
3/19/10 9:48 a.m.

typical death wobble you'll feel it straight through the steering wheel. If the wheel isn't the main feedback point it's probably something else.

BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
3/19/10 10:00 a.m.

From memory - it's been almost a year since I drove it - you get a slight wobble through the wheel but the main shake comes through the body.

My thinking is that I'll start simple, get the tires pulled off and the rims checked to determine if they're true, then get the tires put back on and balanced properly. I don't think it's the tires themselves as it's been doing it with the previous set of tires as well. It starts shaking somewhere around 65mph so something's got to be turning at this sort of speed to show up the imbalance.

That said, the tires certainly influence it - my wife's not very good at checking tire pressures but pretty good at driving around on tires in desperate need of some air and I know the shake gets worse if the tires are down on pressure.

If it's not the tires, wheelbearings etc then it's time to start tracking it back through the drivetrain and suspension. According to Ann it's done that almost since she bought it but it's been getting worse lately.

RossD Dork
3/19/10 10:00 a.m.

Look up garage condos. We have a couple in our area and it appears to be a generic term. It would be a bring your own stuff kind of situtation so you'd be getting lucky to find a lift or tools already in one.

miwifri New Reader
3/19/10 10:51 a.m.

After 15 years of using an outbuilding for cold storage through cold winters I finally organized, insulated, paneled and heated the thing for year round work space. Man, this is heaven. Friends are sure to want to use it.

itsarebuild New Reader
3/19/10 11:06 a.m.

i looked into starting a rent by the hour garage back when i lived in an apartment. 30 minutes with an attorney fixed that. seems to be a pattern between fun/ common sense ideas failing and attorneys being involved.....

ultraclyde Reader
3/19/10 12:23 p.m.

Yeah, I ran that concept around the block a couple times until I thought about Johnnie dumbass dropping a car on himself on property I owned. Not enough waivers invented to dodge that bullet in this country

pilotbraden New Reader
3/19/10 1:02 p.m.

There is a place in Ferndale (north side of Detroit )that rents garage/industrial space by the month. I believe you get locking area to keep your tools and equipment.

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