This installment hardly qualifies as intellectual wordsmith worthy. I know this, but recently my Southern gal surfaced and I used this term in a conversation with a woman who was born and raised up north. She was bewildered.
So I asked my hillbilly friend if she’d heard this word before and she hadn’t either. This left me wondering if what I thought was a Southern thing was actually a black thing. A few clicks, a bit of reading, and here we are. It’s neither, really.
From the urban slang dictionary:
Shadetree mechanic: A hobbyist mechanic who works on their own vehicles, often in their driveway. (Perhaps underneath a tree providing shade.)
When I was a kid, they often worked on the vehicles of folks in the neighborhood as well. They tended to know cars, and well, but lacked the requisite commitment and business sense to open a “proper” garage.
Well as it turns out, these guys are a dying breed. Cars and trucks are being designed differently now and most people simply take their vehicles to the dealer for service.
Autotrader has a good article on the death of the shadetree mechanic:
This is a term that will be completely removed from our lexicon in the near future, and in my opinion, it’s too bad.