California Vehicle Buy Back Program

vehicle buy back
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. 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.

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.

Contact the California State Bureau of Automotive Repairs at (866) 272-9642 to have an application mailed to you or Download CAP Application here.

The process time for consumers wanting to sell their car, truck, SUV or van to the State is 4 - 6 weeks. Download the online California Buy Back Program Vehicle Retirement application in order to apply now or use the BAR's new online application system. Participation in CAP programs is limited to the availability of funds.


There are additional requirements which you may read by downloading the CAP Vehicle Buy Back Application Requirements.


CASH FOR CAR SERVICES - You may want to contact an authorized vehicle reseller or dismantler for immediate cash now.

Vehicle resellers buy cars for cash regardless of vehicle condition or registration status, and offer very competitive quotes.® Dealer Affiliates - California used car dealers who purchase buy back vehicles on the spot.

Cars 'N Trucks - Serving Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara counties.
(818) 939-8390

G & S International - Serving all counties in California - including Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Barbara.

Southern California (818) 287-8583
Los Angeles County (323) 319-6635
Orange County (714) 332-6350
Central California (805) 201-9069
Northern California (661) 239-6944

CenCal Cars - Serving Fresno, Kern, Tulare, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, and Stanislaus counties.
(559) 903-8550

CA Authorized Resellers - Top Dollar Paid for cars in any condition. We offer 24-hour tow service & pay cash for cars, trucks, vans, SUVs and RVs, running or not.

  • 1. WE MAKE AN OFFER - Give us a few details about your vehicle and which part of town it's in, and we’ll make you an instant offer by phone. Forget the hassle of searching for a buyer and then haggling the price.
  • 2. WE TOW FOR FREE - Once you accept our offer we'll schedule a convenient time to pick-up your vehicle, often the same day.
  • 3. WE PAY YOU CASH - Get paid cash on the spot! We show up, you get paid. It's simple. If you prefer, we can also pay by check via USPS. The choice is yours.

View in: Desktop / Mobile