California Cash for Clunkers Program – 2020 Vehicle Retirement Information

Want to sell your car to the State of California? 

The State of California’s “Cash for Clunkers” car buyback program is operated by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Learn more about the program and how to retire your California vehicle in the detailed information below:

The State of California vehicle retirement program (also known as BAR or CAP Program) is available in all locations across California with the goal to promote clean air by removing older vehicles that are currently operating on California highways and roads. In addition to the CAP operated by BAR and run by the California state government, there are also local vehicle retirement programs in a few select areas via local air districts.

The 2020 California car retirement program CAP (Consumer Assistance Program), is accepting new applications again.

Note: The time required to process your request and receive payment is estimated at approximately 6 to 8 weeks once they receive the application.

If you need payment quickly, local California car buyers are buying both running and non-running cars and will pay you within 2 or 3 days.

We understand this can be confusing but we have tried to organize the information below to answer your questions and help you select your best option. If you find this page helpful please share it via social media to help other California residents learn about the CA vehicle retirement programs available.

Is your car eligible for BAR buyback?
Follow these guidelines for help:

Latest Update February 1, 2020


Question 1. Operating
Does your car start without a jump and is your car running and driveable?

Yes
To sell your car to the State you must be able to drive it to a local dismantler.

No
Since your car is not eligible for BAR please click here for information on selling to a local car buyer.


Question 2. Registration

Is your car currently registered in California? :

Yes
The vehicle must be currently registered with the DMV with a valid, unexpired registration sticker
OR have all fees paid to the DMV and have a registration that has not been expired more than 120 days.
In order to be paid to retire your vehicle it must have been continuously registered in CA for the past 2 years.
(Note: The registration must not have lapsed for more than 120 days during those two years).

EXCEPTION: The vehicle may also be eligible if proven to have been primarily driven in California for the last two years and not have been registered in any other state or country in the last two years. Evidence in form of auto repair invoices or insurance payments is required to meet this exception.
If you need a temporary operating permit (TOP) to drive an unregistered car for one day to the dismantler location learn more here.

No
Since your car is not eligible for BAR please click here for information on selling to a local car buyer.

Question 3. SMOG

Has Your Car Failed a Smog Test?

Yes
Your vehicle must have failed its most recent Smog check inspection.

No*
Since your passed a Smog inspection your car is not eligible for BAR. Please click here for information on selling to a local car buyer. See exceptions below:

*EXCEPTIONS:
Income Level
Are you considered low income? If so you can sell your car even if it passes SMOG. To qualify for low income benefits you must provide full household income as noted on this income verification form.

1997 and older vehicles:
Is your car model year 1997 or OLDER? You should research the local air district programs.


Question 4. Timing of Payment

If based on this information you are eligible to sell your car to BAR you should have one last consideration which is timing of payment:

Payment in 24 to 48 Hours
Corporate Buyers: Check payment within 24 to 48 hours.

If you need quick payment you may want to consider selling to a local car buyer that will buy your car and provide free towing. Corporate car buyers pay quickly, usually within 24 to 48 hours once you agree on price.
Corporate buyers make offers based on market values and are not using government tax revenues to purchase cars so their offer will probably be less than the $1,000 incentive offered by BAR.


Payment in 6 to 8 weeks
State BAR Program: Process from start to finish should take approximately 6 to 8 weeks.

The State of California program offers both a paper application or online application which should be processed within 30 days.

After approximately thirty day application processing period if you are approved you will receive a letter with the information on where to drive your car for retirement. Based on this information it is probably safe to assume this process will take anywhere from 45 to 60 days on average to receive your payment from the date you submit the BAR form.

 


After reviewing the above considerations most car sellers will find they fall into one of the following six scenarios:

1. You Failed a Smog Test and want to sell your car via BAR. Learn more

2. You Passed a Smog Test but are considered low income and want to sell your car via BAR. Learn more

3. You Failed a Smog Test are considered low income and want to repair your emission system.Learn more

4. You live in certain Air Districts and have an older car (usually 1995 and older) and want to retire your car. Learn more

5. Your car is not eligible for the BAR program and you may want to speak with a local car buyer that will be interested in buying your car.

6. Your car may be worth more than the BAR program is offering and you want to speak with a local car buyer to check the wholesale market value of your car before you sell it to state for $1,000 or $1,500. Note: most non-running cars are valued at scrap price so this would not be a concern.


2020 CAP Form

Access the 2020 State of California Department of Consumers Affairs Consumer Assistance Program application form (PDF file) or apply online for faster results.

Para obtener una solicitud en español, llámenos al 800.952.5210


What does California consider “low income” ?
If you are not sure what is considered low income you can check the income table to see if your household income is considered “low income” for the purposes of this program. To qualify for the low income benefits you may also need to provide income verification.

Vehicle Retirement

Selling a Vehicle for Cash

State of California BAR program

If you want to speak to someone about the program or check on your application call 1-866-272-9642. Para obtener unasolicituden español, lláme a BAR al 866.272.9642.


Has your vehicle FAILED the latest Smog Check Test?
The State’s recently enhanced Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) was developed by the ARB in consultation with BAR and provides $1,000 per vehicle and $1,500 for low-income consumers for unwanted vehicles that have FAILED their last Smog Check Test.

Here are the basic requirements for cars that have FAILED SMOG TEST

  • Vehicle must be driveable (Note: If your vehicle is not driveable or doesn’t meet the other requirements listed below you may wish to contact a private California clunker car buyer that will buy your car and provide free towing)
  • $1,500 to applicants that meet low income requirement (See income chart below)
  • $1,000 to applicants that DO NOT meet the low income requirements (See income chart below)
  • Applicant for reimbursement must be the Registered Owner or Joint Registered Owner
  • Vehicle is NOT a new California Registration
  • Vehicle ownership is not currently being transferred to a new owner
  • Vehicle is registered to individual not a business or charity
  • If a “Salvage Vehicle” then must be registered with Salvage Title
  • Vehicle must have been continuously registered in CA for past two years
  • Vehicle must be currently registered in CA
  • Vehicle must be a Car, Van, Truck or SUV weighing less than 10,000 pounds
  • Applicants are limited to one vehicle retirement per 12 month period or two vehicles per 12 month period if retired vehicles are jointly registered to applicant and another party

The vehicle must also meet certain Vehicle Equipment Requirements and Vehicle Operational Requirements.

Vehicle Equipment Requirements

  • All doors
  • Hood lid
  • Dashboard
  • Windshield
  • At least one side window glass
  • Driver’s seat
  • At least one bumper
  • Exhaust system
  • All side and /or quarter panels
  • At least one headlight, one taillight, and one brake light

Vehicle Operational Requirements

  • Vehicle must be driven to a CAP-contracted dismantler under its own power.
  • Vehicle engine starts readily through ordinary means without the use of starting fluids or external boost batteries.
  • Vehicle drivability is not affected by any body, steering, or suspension damage.
  • Vehicle is able to drive forward a minimum distance of 10 yards under its own power.
  • Interior pedals are operational.

You must be able to drive the car to one of the approved dismantlers.

If your vehicle meets the requirements you can download the application.

Has your vehicle PASSED the latest Smog Check Test ?
The State’s recently enhanced Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) was developed by the ARB in consultation with BAR and provides $1,500 for low-income applicants that are willing to retire unwanted vehicles that have PASSED their last Smog Check Test.

Here are the basic requirements for cars that have PASSED SMOG TEST

  • Vehicle must be drivable (Note: If your vehicle is not driveable or doesn’t meet the other requirements listed below you can get a free quote from a local California clunker car buyer that will buy your car and provide free towing)
  • Applicant must meet low income requirement (See chart below)
  • Applicant for reimbursement must be the Registered Owner or Joint Registered Owner
  • Vehicle is NOT a new California Registration
  • Vehicle is registered to individual not a business or charity
  • If a “Salvage Vehicle” then must be registered with Salvage Title
  • Vehicle must have been continuously registered in CA for past two years
  • Vehicle must be currently registered in CA
  • Vehicle must be a Car, Van, Truck or SUV weighing less than 10,000 pounds
  • Applicants are limited to one vehicle retirement per 12 month period or two vehicles per 12 month period if retired vehicles are jointly registered to applicant and another party

The vehicle must also meet certain Vehicle Equipment Requirements and Vehicle Operational Requirements listed above.

You must be able to drive the car to one of the approved dismantlers. Please see the list of approved dismantlers for closest location.

If your car is not driveable or doesn’t meet the other requirements listed below you may wish to contact a private California clunker car buyer.

How are Low-Income Consumers Determined ?
Wondering what income level is considered low-income ? Household income that is less than or equal to two hundred twenty -five percent (225%) of the federal poverty level, as published in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. To calculate your eligibility take the income number for your household size below and multiply by 2.25. Your total household income must be equal to or less than the amount you calculate to be considered low-income for this program. To qualify for the low income benefits you may also need to provide income verification.

View the current Federal Poverty Guidelines here.

You can visit ARB’s Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program website. For information on CAP, visit the website or call BAR at (866) 272-9642 or visit www.smogcheck.ca.gov.

Download the current BAR vehicle requirements checklist.

 

Local California Air Quality District Buyback programs

Sell your clunker to a local California air district VAVR program.

Local programs are available only in areas where a local air district has established a program. Visit the California Air Resources Board to locate your local air district.

Has your vehicle PASSED the latest Smog Check Test?
If your vehicle has PASSED its most recent Smog Check, or if your vehicle is not subject to Smog Check, you may be eligible for a local air district VAVR program.
The following Districts are currently administering vehicle retirement programs.

  • Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District – 1997 vehicles and older. District includes the northeast portion of Los Angeles County. For more information, visit the Antelope Valley AQMD or call 1-800-717-7624.
  • Bay Area Old Car Buy Back and Scrap Program – 1-855-343-7314 1996 and older vehicles
  • San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District – 1995 or older cars, pick-up trucks or vans– For more information, visit the San Luis Obispo County APCD or call the Car Buy Back Program at (800) 717-7624.
  • Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District – 1994 or older – For more information, visit the Santa Barbara County APCD or call the Car Buy Back Program at 805-961-8814.
  • Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District – 1997 and older vehicles – For information, visit the Mojave Desert AQMD or call the Car Buy Back Program at (800) 717-7624.

The State of California and the Air Resources Board (ARB) do not administer VAVR programs. The ARB is responsible for developing the regulations that provide guidelines to local air districts that optionally choose to administer VAVR programs.

Vehicle Repair

Cash for Emissions Repairs in California

If your vehicle has a FAILED SMOG TEST and applicant meets the low income requirement (See table above) applicant may be eligible for up to $500 towards emission repairs to attempt to make vehicle pass SMOG TEST. To get more information about repairs call 866.272.9642 for more information. Para obtener una solicitude n español, lláme a BAR al 866.272.9642.

If your car is not driveable or doesn’t meet the other requirements listed below you may wish to contact a private California clunker car buyer. Download the current BAR requirements for repair assistance.

2020 California BAR Program – Vehicle Retirement

Goal of the program
The goal of the BAR program is to provide a cash incentive to retire older, polluting cars. The BAR program payout is a capped at $1,000 ($1,500 low income) and is an incentive based amount not based on the true market value of your car. If your car can’t pass emissions then this cash incentive is provided to help those that might need down payment assistance to replace the retired vehicle and discourage California drivers from driving cars that increase the pollution levels within California.

DISCLAIMER: Please Note these are all voluntary programs and terms may change at any time. Information provided here is to the best of our knowledge and is provided as a free resource to site visitors. Programs mentioned above are subject to change and to termination due to funding constraints.

Did you find this information HELPFUL? Do you know someone that might like to know about this site? If so would you please consider SHARING it with your friends and followers on Social Media?

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn