Car Registration Renewal in the Philippines

8:30am - Emission testing and insurance

Equipped with photo copies of my OR and CR I'm at 8:30 in the morning at an emission testing center close to the main LTO compound in Quezon City. The "test" is quick and easy and, at least for old Diesel vehicles like mine, only consists of a measurement of the light absorption rate in the exhaust gas. The Pajero passes without problems. The test costs around PHP 500.

All emission testing centers I've seen so far also are in the insurance business, which is convenient because insurance is always bought for a year and usually expires together with the registration. The default insurance which is required by law just covers bodily injuries, no damages to property and costs just around PHP 1.000 for a year.

The certificate you get for a passed test contains a digital photo of the testing employee working at the car. I am not totally sure about the motivation behind this, maybe before testing centers were just printing out the certificates without actually testing anything.

8:50am - Mechanical Inspection

The mechanical inspection takes place at the LTO. In Quezon City this is a separate compound, north of the main LTO buildings.

First of all, one of the stencil boys transfers engine and chassis numbers onto a form. In case you cannot imagine how this is done, I have some photos of how it's done and the result here.

Next I hand the form with the numbers together with OR, CR (each with one xerox copy), insurance paperwork and emission testing certificate to the person behind window A.

Some time later the cashier at another window calls my name and I pay 50 Pesos, getting all the papers, and one more, back. Next I drive around the building into the inspection hall. Here's a queue of cars and I wait until it's my turn.

This is my second visit here, the first time there really was somebody checking if all my lights are working and even wanted to see the two early warning devices (one red, one orange) you are required to have in the car here.

This year I actually have these, but nobody is interested in checking anything today. Instead I'm simply waved through and just stop to get the form stating I passed the inspection. Not the way it's supposed to be I guess…

9:20am - LTO Main Building

One traffic light and 2 u-turns on East Avenue later (the two buildings are adjacent but in the wrong order…) I struggle to find a parking spot at the LTO. I get lucky and creatively park at the exit - once back out on the street it would have been traffic light and u-turns again. Finding a parking spot here is actually always the worst part of the experience.

I know already where to go, but there's also a lot of uniformed people you can ask if necessary. In front of the building is an information desk, the lady there checks my paperwork and points me to a certain window where I submit everything and move on to the seating area in front of the cashiers window. A short wait later my name is called and after paying close to PHP 3.000 I get my new Official Receipt. At the next window, where you would usually get stickers for number plates and wind screen, they instead stamp "NO sticker available" onto the OR. What a disappointment.

10am - Done :)

I was really surprised how well this went, starting out relatively early in the morning definitely didn't hurt. Also it certainly helped that it was already the second time and I knew where to go in which order.

Official Receipt
Certificate of Emission Compliance

Update, 2016

Meanwhile we moved to the province, and here things are a little different.

Nowadays I just do the emissions testing, and there I pay for everything, including the registration and insurance in advance. A few days later I drop by to pick up my new OR and insurance papers. I don't know how this works and why there isn't even a fake mechanical inspection like they did in Quezon City necessary, but it for sure is very convenient and time saving ;)