What is the Consumer Assistance Program Or CAP?

Obtain Smog Check Assistance from CAP

The Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) provides financial help to drivers whose vehicles cannot pass their biennial smog check. Qualified drivers can receive up to $500 in emissions-repairs assistance.    

CAP gives you two options: vehicle retirement and repair assistance.

Vehicle Retirement


Rather than have mechanics repair your vehicle, CAP will pay you to retire your vehicle. You must meet the following requirements to meet this option:

  • You must be the registered owner
  • You must pay required registration fees.
  • Vehicle failed biennial smog check inspection.
  • The vehicle's emissions-control system shows no signs of tampering.
  • The vehicle must not be in the process of being sold or in the initial stages of being registered in California for the first time.
  • The vehicle is not registered to a non-profit organization or business. 
  • The vehicle must have failed a smog exam no later than 180 days after the expiration date of the current vehicle registration.
  • You must apply no later than 180 days after the expiration date of the current registration.
  • The vehicle must have been continuously registered as an operable vehicle in California for two years immediately preceding the current registration expiration date.
  • The vehicle must be a passenger vehicle or light-duty truck.
  • The vehicle must pass a visual and operational check.

Repair Assistance


CAP will help pay for auto repair costs. Under this arrangement, you can only take your vehicle to a Gold Star station for repairs. These repair facilities are approved by the state of California as licensed emissions testing centers. 

Before you can apply, or even consider applying, you must first meet the following qualifications:

  • You must be the registered owner.
  • You must pay all registration fees with the CA DMV.
  • Vehicle failed biennial smog check. 
  • While under inspection the vehicle's emissions-control system shows no signs of tampering.
  • The vehicle must not be in the process of being sold or in the initial stages of being registered in California for the first time.
  • The vehicle is not registered to a non-profit organization or business. 

Household income determines the amount of money received for repair assistance.

Apply for CAP

To apply, complete a Consumer Assistance Program Application. You can request this application by calling (800) 952-5210. If you have questions about CAP or need help in finding a mechanic, call (866) 272-9642.

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