Low-income Napa County residents who own vehicles that have failed smog tests may be eligible to receive $500 to $1,500 to pay for repairs or to retire their cars.
The California Bureau of Automotive Repairs offers the assistance as a way of improving air quality by helping finance repairs for older, higher-emissions vehicles, or by getting them off the roads.
Last year, 154 vehicles in Napa County were retired through this program, spokeswoman Cristina Aguilar wrote in an email.
To be eligible for the program, residents must have an income level that’s less than 225 percent of the federal poverty level, and own a vehicle that failed its most recent smog check. Vehicles must undergo smog checks every two years.
The program started in 2000, and is funded through smog abatement fees and vehicle registration fees, Aguilar wrote.
Failure allows residents to receive $1,000 to $1,500 to retire their cars, or $500 to pay for emissions-related repairs. They must be the registered owners of the car and the vehicle must be registered as operable.
The car has to be driven to a dismantler that contracts with the state Department of Consumer of Affairs. The contract dismantlers closest to Napa County are in Fairfield at 4659 Airbase Parkway or in Richmond at 1015 Market Ave.
Vehicles eligible for retirement include passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans weighing 10,000 pounds or less. They have to pass a visual inspection that includes having all doors, the hood lid, dashboard, windshield, driver’s seat, a bumper and a side window, exhaust system, every side panel, and a headlight, taillight and brake light.
The car’s engine has to start, its pedals have to work, and it needs to be able to drive at least 10 yards. Owners are able to retire only one car per year as the sole registered owner.
Owners can’t get repair money more than once on the same car, and can’t tamper with its emissions system. No car is eligible for either repairs or retirement if it’s undergoing an ownership transfer, or going through its initial registration or its re-registration.