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CA Smog check spitball....CAP qualifications?

Hey car guys,

I tried to find answers on, and other related sites, but I need pro/experienced feedback. If you don’t have SOCAL smog CAP knowledge/experience, please feel free to skip this post, as it may be long and boring, heheh.

Bought a 1999 Saab 9-3 back in May for a steal. Since the tags were good thru July, I PROcrastinated til Aug 1st filing the transfer/tag renewal. I paid my fees, and was given a “smog inspection required at a test only facility” notice. Due to injury/no work/no money the car has sat untested til now. My trusted mechanic says due to check engine light->5 OBD codes–>$1200+ to get rid of the light and pass smog. Way beyond my means right now.

I looked into the CAP program, which offers $500 in smog repair with a low co-pay ($20-100). Sounds great, but this one part worries me:

“The consumer assistance program is also not available if your vehicle registration has expired past 3 months or if your in the process of buying or selling a vehicle.”

I’m afraid they’ll deny me CAP qualification by saying I am either “in the buying process” (since this smog check in sale/transfer related) OR because my tags expired back in July, more than 3 months ago.

I might squeak thru if I can argue (successfully) that since I’ve paid my reg fees and have paperwork saying I’m “registered” thru July 2013, it’s not “fully expired” AND that since I’ve owned the car for 6 months, its not really a “new purchase”.

If that doesn’t work, my only other option is to sell the car in Yuma and try my luck with another used car.

Does anyone know (from experience) if my car would be denied CAP repair? It says that its only available for BIENNIAL smog checks, does that mean I can’t qualify even if I’m due for biennial AND transfer smog check testing at the same time?

Any experienced feedback is welcome. I would just call the DMV and BAR (Bureau of Automotive Repairs) but I’m afraid that merely asking the question might flag my car for denial, and it takes a MONTH to get CAP approval, which is a long wait if I’m just wasting my time with a car I can’t park or drive anywhere.

Thx a bunch for reading this novela, and for any insight.

SOCAL, CAP, BAR, Smog Inspection, Test-Only Facility . . . What The . . . ?

Just Curious, All This Crap Just To Buy License Plates ? Is This In The United States Of America ?


SOCAL = southern california (if ya didn’t get that one, the rest will NOT make sense to you)
CAP= consumer assistance program
BAR = explained above

Lot of hassle for a used car registration, very poorly managed system enforcing a very beneficial anti-smog campaign. I can tell when cars from other states are in front of me w/o even looking at the tags…just the fumes make me high/burning eyes, lol.

If the car is not registered to your name, I doubt you will get any assistance. You can try. Find the BAR number online and call them. I have done it in the past and they are helpful.

And there is no data that shows the CA smog test has taken polluters off the road.