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Old Car Buy Back

Old Car Buy Back Program 

Para obtener más información sobre este programa en español, haga clic aquí o llame a este número: 800-717-7624.

The SLO County APCD Old Car Buy Back program will pay you $1,250 to voluntarily retire your 1997 or older car, pick-up truck or van.   

Motor vehicles produce more than half of the air pollution in San Luis Obispo County.  Removing older, high-emitting vehicles from the roadways helps clean up the air.

To qualify for the buy back program, vehicles must be operational and registered in San Luis Obispo County; additional eligibility requirements apply - see full list below.  To find out if your car qualifies, you can visit the Old Car Buy Back website: www.oldcarbuyback.com/slo.php or call the Old Car Buy Back Hotline: 800-717-7624.

The SLO County Old Car Buy Back Program is implemented for APCD by a private, professional contractor, who will use your vehicle and registration information to determine eligibility. If eligible, you will be directed to a local auto dismantler who will scrap your car or truck. The contractor may request preliminary information from you to screen your project for eligibility before requesting the full eligibility documentation. 

Old Car Buy Back Hotline: 800-717-7624

Vehicles submitted to the buy back program are held for a minimum of ten days before scrapping to allow interested parties an opportunity to inspect and purchase the vehicles. A list of SLO County APCD’s most recently accepted vehicles is available here. If you are interested in purchasing any of the listed vehicles, please call the buy back hotline at 800-717-7624.

If you decide to buy or lease a new vehicle, consider a plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle! The California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project offers rebates up to $4,500 for individuals that get a new qualifying vehicle. For more information, please visit CleanVehicleRebate.org/SLOEQ or call 866-984-2532. 


Old Car Buy Back Eligibility Requirements

Your vehicle must meet the following requirements when it is driven to the vehicle dismantler:

  1. The vehicle must be a 1997 or older gasoline powered, or 1992 or older diesel powered passenger car or light duty truck that includes, but is not limited to, a pick-up truck, sports utility vehicle (SUV), or van up to 10,000 pounds gross vehicular weight rating.
  2. The vehicle must be currently registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as an operable vehicle and shall have been so registered for at least twenty-four consecutive months prior to the final date of sale to the Old Car Buy Back Program, to an address or addresses within the SLO County APCD jurisdiction.
  • A vehicle may also be eligible if the vehicle was placed in planned non-operational status per Vehicle Code Section 4604, et seq., for a total of sixty or fewer days during the continuous twenty-four month registration period and occurring at least ninety days prior to the date of sale to the Old Car Buy Back Program.
  • A vehicle may also be eligible if the registration has lapsed for less than one hundred and eighty-one days during the previous twenty-four months and all appropriate registration fees and late penalties have been paid to the DMV, provided that the vehicle is registered for at least ninety days immediately prior to its date of sale to the Old Car Buy Back Program.
  1. The vehicle must have a clear California title with no liens.
  2. The vehicle must be driven to the vehicle dismantler site under its own power.
  3. The vehicle cannot be operating under a smog check repair cost waiver or economic hardship extension.
  4. The vehicle must pass the most recent biennial smog check required by California DMV in order to be considered eligible for participation in the Old Car Buy Back Program.
  5. If a vehicle is within sixty-one to ninety days of its next required smog check inspection, the vehicle is not required to have a smog check inspection; however, if a smog check inspection is performed in this time frame, the vehicle must pass the inspection.
  6. If a vehicle is within sixty days of its next required smog check Inspection, the vehicle must take and pass the smog check Inspection without receiving a repair cost waiver or economic hardship extension. Owners of vehicles requiring smog check Inspections will be required to submit documentation issued by a licensed smog check station demonstrating compliance with this requirement. The documentation must be submitted to the vehicle dismantler performing the functional and equipment eligibility inspection.
  7. Determination of an individual vehicle's registration history shall be based on registration data for that vehicle, obtained from DMV records. If DMV registration data provide inconclusive results for an individual vehicle, then copies of the applicable vehicle registration certificate may be used.
  8. The vehicle must pass a functional and equipment eligibility inspection at the dismantling facility with the following requirements:
  • All doors shall be present and in place;
  • The hood shall be present and in place;
  • The dashboard shall be in place;
  • Windshield shall be present and in place;
  • The driver's seat must be present and in place;
  • Interior pedals shall be operational;
  • One bumper and all side and/or quarter panels shall be present and in place;
  • Vehicle drivability must not be affected by any body, steering, or suspension damage;
  • Exhaust system shall be present and in place;
  • One headlight, one taillight, and one brake light shall be present and in place;
  • One side window glass shall be present and in place; and
  • The inspector shall complete the following functional eligibility inspection and shall reject the vehicle if the vehicle fails to complete the following test: Insert key, vehicle engine shall start using keyed ignition system. In addition to the keyed ignition switch, ignition or fuel kill switch may be activated if required to start engine. The vehicle must start readily through ordinary means without the use of starting fluids or external booster batteries. The vehicle shall be driven forward for a minimum of 25 feet under its own power. The vehicle shall be driven in reverse for a minimum of 25 feet under its own power.

Information updated November 30, 2022.