Vehicle Buy Back Program FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions - Vehicle Buy Back Program

Yes. The Air District currently operates a completely voluntary Vehicle Buy Back program that pays $1,200 for an operating and registered 1997 or older vehicle that has passed a smog check. Vehicle dismantlers contracted by the Air District will qualify and scrap the vehicles.
Diesel vehicles up to 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight are eligible for the program.
The purpose of the Vehicle Buy Back program is to reduce air pollution by taking older, more highly polluting vehicles off the road. If a vehicle can’t be driven because it isn’t registered or doesn’t pass a smog check, it isn’t on the road emitting air pollution. Therefore, only vehicles that are roadworthy, registered, and have passed their biennial smog check inspection can meet this requirement and qualify for funding.

If your vehicle has recently failed a smog check or does not meet the Vehicle Buy Back program requirements, you can contact the California Bureau of Automotive Repair’s Consumer Assistance Program at 1-866-272-9642.

The Consumer Assistance Program provides financial assistance for people who would like to retire or repair their vehicle when it fails the smog check inspection.
The vehicle may still be eligible if DMV records show that it has been registered in the Bay Area for the past 2 years. For more information, contact the dismantlers, who are able to access the DMV data for previous owners. You can find the dismantlers’ contact information on the Vehicle Buy Back program main page.
The Air District reviews the Vehicle Buy Back program annually and, based on demand, funding availability, and other variables, may make changes to the program, including expanding the model years that are eligible to participate in the program. Updates and changes will be posted to the program’s website.
Yes. Salvaged vehicles can be accepted by the Vehicle Buy Back Program. The dismantler may request additional documentation to verify the extent of damage(s) and ensure that it meets program guidelines.
If your vehicle does not meet the Vehicle Buy Back program requirements, you can contact the California Bureau of Automotive Repair’s Consumer Assistance Program at 1-866-272-9642.

The Consumer Assistance Program provides financial assistance for people who would like to retire or repair their vehicle when it fails the smog check inspection.
The dismantlers who coordinate the program on behalf of the Air District will answer all general questions, verify your vehicle’s eligibility, and schedule eligible vehicles to be brought to one of their sites. You can find the dismantlers’ contact information on the Vehicle Buy Back program’s main webpage.

If you have additional questions that can’t be answered by the dismantlers or a complaint about the dismantlers, you may contact the Air District’s Vehicle Buy Back Program staff at 415-749-4994.

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Last Updated: 3/10/2022