California Cash 4 Clunkers Program

California Cash for Clunkers Program

The State of California vehicle retirement program CAP or BAR program works to promote clean air by removing old, junk, clunkers in California.

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.

To learn more about the program and how to get rid of your vehicle in the State of California, read the information below.

The 2021 California CAP (Consumer Assistance Program) is accepting new application again for their car retirement program.

However the lead time to process your request and receive payment for your vehicle is about 6-8 weeks at present.

If you need to get rid of your car and receive payment quickly, there are local California buyers who are looking to purchase both running and non-running cars.

The lead time is 2-3 days.

Finding the best way to get rid of your junker can be confusing so we are going to list the options in this article so that you can make the best choice for you.

BAR Buyback

Is Your Car Eligible for BAR Buyback?

Vehicle Operation

To sell your car to the State of California, it must be running and drivable without a jump start. You must be able to drive it to a local dismantler.

If your car is not running, drive-able or does not turn on without a jump, the vehicle is not eligible for the BAR buyback program.

Please click here for more information on selling to a local car buyer.

Registration Requirements

The vehicle must be registered with the DMV and must have a valid, unexpired registration sticker. If you have an expired registration, all fees have to be paid to the DMV and the registration must not be more than 120 days past expiration.

The one exception is that the vehicle was 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 must be provided in the form of auto repair invoices or insurance payments.

If you do not meet the above mentioned BAR car registration requirements, you cannot sell your vehicle to the state.

For vehicles that are not eligible, Please click here for more information on selling to a local car buyer.

SMOG Testing

In order to be eligible for BAR, you vehicle must have failed its most recent Smog check inspection.

If it failed the Smog test, there are still several rules about the condition of the vehicle and they can be found here.

The only exception Smog testing is to see if you qualify for low income benefits or if your vehicle is from 1997 or older.

If you are not sure what is considered low income in the State of California, see the income table on their website here.

If your car passed its recent Smog test, then it is to BAR eligible.  Click here for more information on selling to a local car buyer.

If you car has FAILED a Smog test, here are the basic requirements:

  • Vehicle must be drive-able (if the vehicle is to NOT driveable or does not meet other requirements listed below, you can sell your to a private California clunker car buyer that will pay cash and pickup your car for free).
  • 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
  • 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
  • The following vehicle equipment items are required: all doors, hood lid, dashboard, windshield, at least one side of window glass, a driver's seat, exhaust system, all side and quarter panels, at least one headlight, taillight, and break light.

If you car has PASSED a Smog test, here are the basic requirements:

  • Vehicle must be drivable (if the vehicle is to NOT driveable or does not meet other requirements listed below, you can sell your to a private California clunker car buyer that will pay cash and pickup your car for free).
  • 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

Payment Timing

If you are eligible for the state BAR program, once the application is processed and approved (which takes 30-60 days), payment usually arrives in 6 – 8 weeks.

The State of California program offers both a paper application or online application.

Before filling out the application, we recommend you complete the California BAR Consumer Assistance Program Vehicle Requirements checklist to make sure you will qualify.

If you are looking for quick payment or your vehicle does not qualify for BAR, you may want to consider selling to a local buyer that will buy your car cash and offer free towing.

Your car may also be worth more than the BAR program is offering and you want to check the market value of your car with a local buyer – if this is the case, learn more here.

If your vehicle is NOT eligible for the State of California requirements for BAR, you may wish to contact a private California clunker car buyer that will buy your car cash and provide free towing.

 

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