Old Car Buy Back Program

Download Old Car Buy Back Program fact sheet in English (PDF) or en español (PDF).

Cars and trucks are the major source of smog pollution in Santa Barbara County, and older vehicles cause much more air pollution than newer ones.

This program is designed to take older vehicles off the road; a licensed auto dismantler will permanently destroy (i.e. crush) cars and trucks voluntarily retired under this program.

The District will pay $1,000 for your older vehicle if it meets the requirements below.

This voluntary accelerated vehicle retirement program is sponsored by the District. It is not operated by the State of California. Your participation is entirely voluntary.  Incentives will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the available funds are exhausted.

Eligibility

The following requirements must be met.

  1. The vehicle must be either a gasoline-powered or diesel-powered passenger car, light or medium-duty pickup truck, or van, model year 1993 or older with gross vehicle weight not to exceed 10,000 pounds.
  2. The vehicle must have a current California registration as an operable vehicle to an address or addresses in Santa Barbara County and have been so registered for at least 24 consecutive months prior to the date of sale to the District.
    1. A vehicle may also be eligible if the owner of the vehicle placed the vehicle in planned non-operational status for a total of no more than two (2) months during the continuous 24 month registration period, occurring at least three (3) months prior to the date of sale to the District.
    2. A vehicle may also be eligible if the registration has lapsed for a period not to exceed 180 days during the previous 24 months and all appropriate registration fees and late penalties have been paid to the DMV, provided that the vehicle is registered for at least 90 days immediately prior to the date of sale to the District.
  3. Smog Checks must be performed as required by the DMV in order for the vehicle to be considered registered. The following smog requirements must be met:
    1. The vehicle is not operating under a Bureau of Automotive Repair smog check repair cost waiver or economic hardship extension.
    2. The vehicle has not failed a smog check within 61-90 days of the next required smog check.
    3. A vehicle within 60 days of its next required smog check must take and pass smog check inspection test prior to the date of sale to the District.
    4. The vehicle has not been tampered with.*    Diesel-powered vehicles model year 1988 and older and gasoline-powered vehicles 1975  and older are not required by the DMV to pass a smog check in order to be registered, therefore they do not have to pass a smog check to be eligible for this program.
  4. The vehicle to be retired must be driven to the inspection station site under its own power and must pass a functional and equipment eligibility inspection as outlined below:
    1. All doors will be present and at a minimum the driver’s side door will be operable in a two door vehicle.  For a four door vehicle, the driver’s side door and one rear door will be operable.  (Doors are considered operable if they can open and close without the use of ropes, wire, tape, or other materials not part of the original design of the vehicle).
    2. The trunk lid will stay closed without the use of ropes, wire, tape or other materials not part of the original design of the vehicle.
    3. The hood will open and remain closed utilizing a functional latching mechanism without the use of bungee cords, straps, ropes, wire, chains, or other materials not part of the original design of the vehicle.
    4. The dashboard will contain warning lights and gauges (except clock and tachometer) as originally supplied by the manufacturer or functionally equivalent  aftermarket replacements.
    5. Windshield wipers will be present and operational.
    6. The windshield and rear window will not contain any holes, or holes covered by tape or any other external component that impairs the driver’s vision or were not part of the original design of the vehicle.
    7. The driver’s seat must be present and the seat back won’t be reinforced or supported by add-on components such as blocks, boards, or rope in order to be functional.
    8. Interior pedals controlling the brake, clutch and accelerator will be present..
    9. The vehicle will have bumpers, fenders, exhaust system and side and quarter panels as supplied by the manufacturer or aftermarket parts equivalent; these components won’t be damaged to the extent that operability of the vehicle is impaired.
    10. The vehicle will not contain any holes in the floorboard or any holes penetrating through the body into the passenger compartment, not originally designed by the vehicle manufacturer.
    11. Headlights, tail lights, and brake lights will be present and operational.
    12. Driver’s side window and opposing side passenger, and other side windows will be present and not supported by any add-on component not part of the original design of the vehicle.
    13. No obvious indications that the vehicle is not operated on a routine basis for extended periods of time.
    14. Turn signal lights will be present and operational.
    15. Driver’s side window and opposing side passenger window will be operational.
    16. Rear-view mirror and left-side mirror will be present and operational.
    17. The vehicle will have interior door panels as supplied by the vehicle manufacturer or aftermarket equivalent.
    18. The vehicle body won’t contain any holes that exceed two inches in length at the widest point.
    19. The engine will start using a keyed ignition system.
    20. The vehicle will idle without the use of the accelerator pedal for a minimum of ten seconds.
    21. Vehicles with automatic transmissions will be shifted into forward gear with the brake pedal applied.  The engine will remain operating without the use of the accelerator pedal for a minimum of ten seconds.
    22. The vehicle will be driven forward and in reverse for a minimum of 25 feet under it’s own power.
    23. Under it’s own power, the vehicle will be driven forward for 100 feet starting at 0 mph, and will completely stop at the end of this test using it’s braking system.  The vehicle will travel the first 60 feet of this test with five (5) seconds.
    24. The engine doesn’t shut down subsequent to keyed ignition start.
    25. The engine doesn’t whine, grind, clank, squeal, knock, or backfire.
    26. The brake pedal doesn’t drop to the floor when attempting to stop the vehicle.

Purchase of Qualified Vehicles

Qualified vehicles are available to be viewed and purchased by members of the public for a period of ten (10) days from the date of qualification into the program.  After the ten (10) day period expires, the vehicles are dismantled.  To inquire about currently available vehicles, please contact any of our three regional dismantlers:

  • Steelhead Recyclers: 891 S. Kellogg Ave, Goleta    –  (805) 683-8557
  • Perry’s Auto Wrecking: 613 S. Avalon Rd, Lompoc    –  (805) 736-6719
  • Black Road Auto: 1500 Black Rd, Santa Maria  –  (805) 346-2779

How to Get Started & Who to Call

  • Call 805-961-8814 for general information, or call one of our regional dismantlers listed above for specific questions and vehicle inquiries.

If Your Vehicle Fails Smog Check

If your vehicle has failed its Smog Check inspection, contact the Bureau of Automotive Repair Consumer Assistance Program regarding vehicle retirement at (800) 952-5210.