Vehicle Retirement Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

What is the Consumer Assistance Program?

The Bureau of Automotive Repair’s (BAR) Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) offers eligible consumers repair assistance and vehicle retirement options to help improve California’s air quality by reducing motor vehicle emissions.

Participation is based on meeting eligibility requirements and the availability of funds each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).

What does the vehicle retirement option offer?

The CAP vehicle retirement option offers eligible consumers a financial incentive to retire their operational vehicle at a BAR-contracted auto dismantler.

What is the benefit of vehicle retirement?

Retiring higher polluting vehicles from operation helps California meet emissions reduction goals.

How to Apply

How do I apply for vehicle retirement?

To apply for vehicle retirement, complete the following steps:

  • Step 1: Check your income eligibility – Use the income eligibility calculator to determine your income eligibility and incentive amount. Have your gross household income information available to complete the calculator.
  • Step 2: Review eligibility requirements – Eligibility requirements are based on the incentive amount you are applying for. Review all eligibility requirements for either the $1,000 or $1,500 incentive prior to applying.
  • Step 3: Apply online - After you submit your online application, a confirmation notice will be displayed. The notice includes your CAP ID number and other important information. Print or email the confirmation notice for your records.

Can I submit an application by mail instead of applying online?

If you are unable to apply online, you may call the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Consumer Information Center at (800) 952-5210 to request an application be mailed to you. Please note, applying online may result in faster processing.

Should I submit documents verifying my household income with my application?

If you apply for the $1,500 incentive, you may be required to provide documentation verifying your household income before your application can be processed. A notice will be mailed to you if documentation is required.

To help avoid potential delays and expedite the processing of your application, you may submit this documentation after submitting your application. Visit the Household Income Eligibility Guidelines page for a list of acceptable documentation options and instructions on how to submit your documents.

How can I check the status of my application?

To check the status of your application, use our online status check tool. Have your CAP ID number and vehicle license plate number available.

Where do I find my CAP ID number?

If you applied online, your CAP ID number is listed on your online application confirmation notice.

If you submitted your application by mail, your CAP ID number is provided on a notice that will be mailed to you after your application has been processed.

Application Review and Processing

I submitted my application, what can I expect?

Within four to six weeks of BAR receiving your application, the application and all supporting documentation will be reviewed to verify it is complete. To complete your application, you may be required to provide additional documentation or information.

If additional information and/or documentation is required to complete my application, how will I be notified?

If your application is incomplete, a notice of deficiency will be mailed to you. The notice will identify the information and/or documentation you are required to submit before your application is considered complete and can be processed.

What is the most common reason an application is determined to be incomplete/deficient?

If you applied for the $1,500 incentive, your application is considered incomplete until you provide acceptable documentation verifying your household income. NOTE: BAR cannot determine program eligibility until income is verified.

How long does it take to process an application and determine eligibility?

Within four to six weeks of receiving your complete application, BAR will review the application and all supporting documentation to determine eligibility.

If my application is denied, how will I be notified?

If your application is denied, a notice of ineligibility will be mailed to you. This notice will include all eligibility requirements that were not met.

What are the most common reasons an application is denied?

  • Vehicle requires a Smog Check inspection – BAR will review smog check records to verify the vehicle’s Smog Check inspection history.

    Smog Check requirements are based on the incentive amount and eligibility requirements option:

    $1,000 incentive – The vehicle must have failed its most recent Smog Check inspection.

    $1,500 incentive (Option 1) – The vehicle must have failed its most recent Smog Check inspection.

    $1,500 incentive (Option 2) – If subject to the Smog Check Program, the vehicle must have completed a Smog Check inspection (pass or fail) within 180 days prior to applying.

  • Vehicle registration fees are past due – BAR will review Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) records to verify the vehicle’s registration status. If the vehicle’s registration sticker is expired at the time of application, the applicant must pay the outstanding registration fees to DMV. Applicants may contact DMV for registration options, which may include registering the vehicle as Planned Non-Operation (PNO).

  • Vehicle title reflects a lienholder(s) –The vehicle title must be issued in the applicant’s name. If the vehicle title includes a lienholder, contact DMV or visit www.dmv.ca.gov for information on how to remove the lienholder from the vehicle title.

  • Vehicle has not been continuously registered in California for the previous two years – To ensure BAR maximizes the air quality benefits from retiring older, higher polluting vehicles from California’s roadways, applications are limited to vehicles that have been registered and driven in California for at least the two prior years.

  • Vehicle has a “junk” status – Vehicles registered with DMV as “junked” are already considered retired and removed from California roadways. Therefore, they are not eligible to participate in CAP.

  • Applicant is not the registered owner of the vehicle – The name on the application must match the name on the applicant’s driver license, the vehicle title and registration, and any other required income documentation. Any variations in a name may cause the application to be denied.

  • Applicant recently retired a vehicle through CAP – BAR will review participation records to verify that the applicant has not retired a vehicle as a sole owner or two vehicles as a co-owner during the 12-month period preceding the date of the application.

If my application is denied and I resolve the denial reason(s), do I have to re-apply?

No. If you have documentation proving you resolved the denial reason(s) indicated in your notice of ineligibility, you may mail it to BAR (Attention: CAP, 10949 N. Mather Blvd, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670) for re-evaluation purposes. Documentation must be submitted within 30 days from the date of your notice of ineligibility, as participation is limited to the availability of funds each fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).

If I submit documentation for re-evaluation purposes, how long does it take BAR to review the documentation and re-evaluate eligibility?

BAR typically reviews documentation submitted for re-evaluation purposes within two weeks of receipt. Upon completion of the review, an updated determination notice will be mailed to you.

If my application is approved, how will I be notified?

If your application is approved, a letter of eligibility will be mailed to you. The letter will include information on your approved incentive amount and instructions on how to retire your vehicle at a BAR-contracted auto dismantler.

Retiring Your Vehicle

Where do I take my vehicle to be retired?

You must take your vehicle to a BAR-contracted auto dismantler to retire your vehicle. After you receive your letter of eligibility indicating your application is approved, schedule an appointment with the dismantler.

To find a dismantler near you, visit our dismantler page, refer to the list of dismantlers provided with your letter of eligibility, or call (866) 272-9642.

What documents do I need to provide the dismantler?

You must provide the dismantler the following documents:

  1. The original letter of eligibility.

  2. The vehicle title. NOTE: If you do not have the original title, or if the title has been altered or issued by a state other than California, contact the dismantler for further instructions.

  3. The vehicle registration card.

  4. Your valid driver license or other government-issued photo identification.

Do all owners listed on the vehicle registration need to be present at the dismantler site to retire the vehicle?

If any of the registered owners cannot be present, they must complete a DMV Power of Attorney form to appoint a designee.

The designee is required to provide the dismantler the following:

  1. A valid driver license or other government-issued photo identification.
  2. A DMV Power of Attorney form (REG 260) completed by the registered owner(s).
  3. A copy of the vehicle owner’s valid driver license or other government-issued photo identification.

Where can I obtain DMV forms?

DMV forms are available at www.dmv.ca.gov, at any DMV office, or by contacting DMV at (800) 777-0133.

I am unable to retire my vehicle before the expiration date indicated on my letter of eligibility. Can I still participate?

If you do not retire your vehicle on or before the expiration date, you will need to reapply. Participation is based on meeting eligibility requirements at the time you reapply and the availability of funds each fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).

Will the dismantler accept my vehicle if it is not drivable?

No. The vehicle must meet all of the following equipment and operational requirements:

  • The vehicle is driven under its own power to the BAR-contracted dismantler site.
  • The vehicle’s engine starts readily through ordinary means without the use of starting fluids or external booster batteries.
  • The drivability of the vehicle is not affected by any body, steering, or suspension damage.
  • The vehicle is able to drive forward a minimum of 10 yards under its own power.
  • The interior pedals are operational.
  • All of the following must be present: 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, and at least one headlight, one taillight, and one brake light.

When will I receive the incentive for retiring my vehicle?

After your vehicle passes the required equipment and operational inspection, the dismantler will issue a check made out to the registered owner(s) indicated on the letter of eligibility.

Can the dismantler give me a ride home?

No. You are responsible for arranging your own transportation home.

Have more questions?

For more information, call (866) 272-9642. Agents are available to answer calls Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding state holidays.