What is the Consumer Assistance Program?

What is the Consumer Assistance Program?

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) helps to improve California’s air quality by assisting qualified consumers in repairing or retiring their vehicles. The statutory authority for CAP is found in section 44062 of the Health and Safety Code and is implemented through regulations adopted by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR). Vehicle owners who meet eligibility requirements are offered the following:

  • Payment for the voluntary retirement of their vehicle ($1000 or $1500) at anytime for any reason
  • Financial assistance of up to $500 for emissions-related repairs for vehicles which failed their required biennial (every other year) Smog Check inspection

Participation in CAP programs is limited to the availability of funds.


How do I qualify for CAP?

CAP offers consumers two options:

  • Vehicle Retirement: Approved applicants can receive payment for the voluntary retirement of their vehicle at a CAP authorized dismantler. The consumer’s vehicle must pass both visual and operational inspections at the dismantler to be eligible to receive the payment. Income eligible applicants will receive $1500; all other approved applicants will receive $1000.
  • Repair Assistance: Approved applicants are eligible to receive up to $500 towards emissions-related repairs to assist their vehicles to pass their required biennial (every other year) Smog Check inspection. Repairs must be performed at authorized Gold Shield stations. Gold Shield stations are facilities which are licensed by BAR to perform Smog Check repairs and have entered into an agreement with the State of California to perform CAP repairs.Repair Assistance applicants must meet income requirements to qualify to receive financial assistance towards emissions-related repairs. An Income Eligibility Table can be found on the CAP application. Consumers whose total household incomes do not exceed the maximum annual, or monthly gross household income, as shown in the table may be eligible. Approved applicants are required to make a co-payment in the amount of twenty dollars ($20) to be applied toward the diagnosis and repair of their vehicles.

How do I apply? You must first submit an application. Do not have any repairs done to your vehicle until you are notified that your application has been approved. If you applied for repair assistance, you will receive an approval letter and a list of participating Gold Shield stations. If you applied for vehicle retirement, you will receive an approval letter and a list of contracted dismantlers.

Where can I get an application?

You can obtain the CAP application (click to download the application) online or by calling the Department of Consumer Affairs Consumer Information Center at 800-952-5210.