California Vehicle Buy Back Program
The Bureau of Automotive Repair's Consumer Assistance Program offers vehicle retirement to California vehicle owners wanting to sell their vehicles to the State of California.
The Vehicle Buy Back Program buys used vehicles from CA motorists. The program offers a flat $1500 to income eligible applicants, and $1000 to others.
CA Vehicle Buy Back Requirements
A. Smog Check Required - You may obtain a smog check at any time. You do not need to wait for your vehicle's registration renewal period. Visit a smog station and ask for a smog check that will be used to apply for the California vehicle retirement program.
B. Your vehicle must not have a tampered emission system(s) and its smog check failure must not be due solely to an ignition timing adjustment or gas cap functional test. If the check engine light or malfunction indicator lamp is on, it is considered a smog check failure. A vehicle will qualify for the buy back program if its check engine light is illuminated.
C. Vehicle must be running - In order to qualify for the State's vehicle buy back program your vehicle must be in running condition and able to be driven to an approved dismantler.
D. Registration not lapsed - Vehicle registration cannot have lapsed for more than 120 days in the last 2 year period prior to the date of CAP application.
E. Title must be in your name - The vehicle must be registered to you (you must have a title issued in your name) and cannot be undergoing an initial registration in California.
Download the full list of vehicle buy back eligibility requirements.
Not all vehicles will qualify for California vehicle retirement program. Please read the requirements carefully before submitting your application, either in person, by mail or online.
The goal of the vehicle buy back program is to encourage the removal of older vehicles from California in order to replace them with newer less polluting transportation, in the forms of cleaner emission vehicles, electric cars, bike lanes, and mass transit.
You must first obtain and mail in a CAP application to the Bureau of Automotive Repairs. Upon receiving approval you will be directed to a CAP authorized dismantler to turn in your vehicle and receive payment.