With some of the strictest vehicle emissions standards in the Nation, many motorists in California are aware that sooner or later, their vehicle will be required to have a biennial (every other year) Smog Check inspection.
Let’s say your registration renewal notice indicated that your car needed a Smog Check, you took your vehicle to a Smog Check station and your vehicle failed the inspection. Emissions-related repairs can vary and may be costly. What is a consumer to do? Check out the Repair Assistance option under the Bureau of Automotive Repair’s (BAR) Consumer Assistance Program (CAP).
CAP was designed to help improve California’s air quality and assist in the effort to ensure vehicles meet the State’s emissions standards. Eligible consumers may receive financial assistance up to $500 towards certain emissions-related repairs. Since 2000, BAR has administered the program on a first-come, first-served basis, depending on availability of funds.
The requirements for the repair assistance program are as follows:
- The vehicle must have failed its “biennial” Smog Check inspection.
- The vehicle must not have a tampered emissions control system.
- The vehicle must be currently registered with the DMV with a valid, unexpired registration sticker OR have all fees paid to the DMV and not have a registration that has been expired more than 120 days.
- The vehicle registration must not have lapsed for more than 120 days during the two consecutive years preceding the current registration expiration date.
- The vehicle must not be undergoing a transfer of ownership, initial registration, or re-registration in California.
- The vehicle must not be registered to a business, fleet, or non-profit organization.
- You must be the registered owner with title issued in your name.
- You must have a household income that is less than or equal to two hundred twenty-five percent (225%) of the federal poverty level, as published in the Federal Register by the United States Department of Health and Human Services
- You must not have previously received assistance for the same vehicle through CAP.
To highlight the benefits of the program, the Bureau of Automotive Repair and the California Department of Consumer Affairs developed a short video featuring an actual consumer who participated in the Consumer Assistance Program.
For more information about CAP and to download an application, please visit www.smogcheck.ca.gov.
Don’t forget. Check the license! Before taking your vehicle to a Smog Check station, it is important to verify that the station is licensed. To verify a license, click here or go to www.bar.ca.gov and click the “License Search” button on the main page.