Pinoy Driver

LTO Vehicle Registration and Renewal Process

All vehicles (brand new or second hand) should be registered in a Land Transportation Office (LTO) to make the ownership valid. This is what you call ‘vehicle registration.”’ Since this is a legal process, documentations are needed to prove the ownership of the vehicle. Aside from the papers that need to be submitted, there will definitely be fees to be paid as well before getting your vehicle registration.


Documents needed for registration

Below are the documents that you should prepare before you go to an LTO regional branch. These documents are obtained when you buy any brand new or used car from a car dealership company.

  • Original copies of registration certificate (CR) – when renewing
  • Latest official receipt from the dealer (OR)
  • Purchased compulsory third party liability (CTPL) insurance

Bear in mind that the required CPTL of LTO is at least Php950.00. If you are not sure that the OR-CR of the second hand car you bought is genuine, you can have it authenticated at the LTO Property Section, East Avenue, Quezon City. By doing this, you will be assured before paying any registration fees and will have the confidence to do the registration too.

Schedule based on plate number

If you are doing the initial registration or renewal of registration, then you should get familiar with the schedule of LTO based on the digits on your plate number. In the event that you bought the vehicle in a second hand motor dealership, you’ll have to retain and continue using the designated plate on it. Just like any other government issued identification number (SSS, Pag-ibig, PhilHealth), plate numbers are unchangeable. This rule is indicated in the amendments of Batas Pambansa Blg. 43: An Act Providing Number Plates to Owners of Motor Vehicles and Trailers.


See the table below to know when is the right date to go for your car registration.

Plate Number’s Last Digit Monthly Schedule
 1  January
 2  February
 3  March
 4  April
 5   May
 6  June
 7  July
 8  August
 9  September
 0  October


2nd to the Last Digit of Plate Number Weekly Schedule
 1, 2, & 3 1st to 7th working day
 4, 5, & 6 8th to 14th working day
 7 & 8 15th to 21st working day
 9 & 0 22nd until last working day

To set an example, if your plate number is AJN078, you need to register your vehicle on August between the dates of 15 – 21.


Emission test

Before you go to your scheduled date, your vehicle should undergo an emission test first. You should go to the head of the emission testing center to pay for the emission testing fee, which is around Php410.00. The test usually lasts for an hour or an hour and a half. It often include stencil procedure on your car’s engine, which is sometimes free. The test usually includes a stencil (which is sometimes free) which is one of the renewal and registration requirements in LTO.


Presentation of documents

After doing the test, it’s now the time to present your documents to continue with the registration. The registration fee is Php1, 974.00. Make sure to follow the scheduling matrix above to avoid paying for a late registration penalty fee of Php200.00. If you plan to register or renew in a different regional branch, do expect an additional fee of Php100.00 for the change of location.After doing all the legal procedures above, your vehicle is now registered and is good to hit the road again. Enjoy the trip and drive safely!






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Smoky Exhaust: Types, Causes and Fines

Smoky exhaust or popularly known as smoke belching in the Philippines is a type road violation. Smoke belching has always been scrutinized in the country not only because it causes air pollution (according to a study, almost 65% of pollution is coming from smoke belching), but also it now contributes to some road accidents. Also, emission of smoky exhaust causes a lot of health diseases mainly on respiratory system and later on can translate into cancer. This is why emission test is part of vehicle registration renewal; to determine if the vehicle is creating harmful level of smoky exhaust or not.  Another goal of emissions testing is to cut down smoke pollution that are harmful to all living things, with particular focus on improving air quality.


Emission test


Emissions testing checks the levels of hazardous materials that escape from a motor vehicle with a combustion engine.  The government has prescribed that gasoline-fueled vehicles should not emit more than 3.5 percent CO (by volume) and 600ppm (particles per minute) HC to be given a certificate of emissions compliance. Diesel-powered vehicles must not exceed 2.5K for natural aspirated engines and 3.5K for turbocharged diesel engines. Motorcycles must meet a 4.5 percent CO standard, while the HC limits have not been set.


What does the color of your exhaust mean?


Passing the emission testing doesn’t really depends on how thin or thick you smoke is, instead it looks at how dangerously polluted the fumes are on the smoke. The typical color of vehicle smoke is white but there are other smoke colors that you should be aware of. You can also identify the problem in your car by just using the colors listed below.


Smoke Color Causes
White and thick
  • Overheated engine
  • Blown head gasket
  • Cracked engine block
  • Burnt engine
  • Clogged air filter
  • Fault in the sensors, fuel injectors, fuel pressure regulator
  • Bad turbo charger
  • Problem with transmission fluid
  • Faulty transmission vacuum modulator
  • Burning oil
  • Oil leak in the combustion chamber

Fines and penalties for smoke belching

There are a lot of cases in which a vehicle passes initial emission testing, but later on be arrested for smoke belching since smoke emission changes through out the use of the vehicle. If you will be unluckily accused of smoke belching on the road,  do not be scared right away. Before surrendering your plate to the traffic officer, an on the spot test will be done first. A device called opacimeter will be used to examine the vehicle’s exhaust.  If the vehicle fails the test, you need to surrender your license plate to the officer. All confiscated plates will be turned over to the Land Transportation Office (LTO). To get  your plate back,  you must first obtain an Emissions Clearance certificate (just like in the initial registration) from an LTO-accredited testing center. To do this, go to LTO and present the Emission Clearance certificate and then pay the appropriate fine for the violation. Fines are as follows:

  • First offense – Php 1,000.00
  • Second offense – Php 3,000.00
  • Third offense – Php 5,000 plus a seminar on pollution management


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Here’s All You Need to Know About The LTO Medical Requirements


LTO has always required drivers to submit a Medical Certificate along with other documents such as application form and eye test result if they are applying for a driver’s license (e.g. student permit, non-professional, professional.) This is to ensure that the driver is mentally and physically fit since driving is considered as a physical and mental activity. Not only first time applicants are required to submit this, but also those who are applying for a renewal or replacement of license. Aside from the medical certificate, a negative drug test result is also included in the medical requirements.


How to get a medical certificate?


A certificate will be issued once you are finish with the medical exam. Medical examinations are done from an LTO accredited or government physician and government clinics or hospitals. Usually, LTO accredited clinics are just around the vicinity of the LTO office. There are times that these clinics are closed or unavailable. If such case happens, you can take the medical exam instead from a different clinic, just make sure that it is also LTO accredited. This medical exam usually costs around Php500.00 but still depends on the clinic you are going to take it. The certificate is valid within fifteen days from the date it was issued.


What should the medical certificate state?

The medical certificate should confirm that the applicant is:

  • mentally and physically fit for driving
  • drug free
  • not color blind and has good eyesight or needs correction glasses
  • able to hear clearly or needs a hearing device

Aside from what was mentioned above, all other existing diseases/medical conditions or disabilities should be declared such as:

  • high blood pressure
  • stroke
  • visual disturbances (glaucoma or cataract)
  • limb problems
  • dementia
  • diabetes

Make sure that you let the physician know all medical conditions you have as of the present since these conditions might affect your capability to drive safely.

Department Order No. 2015-014 has revised some guidelines for renewal of license. Within the department order, applicant’s medical certificate should now show the name, address, Professional Tax Receipt (PTR) number and Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) number of the Physician who did the exam if the applicant has the following disabilities:

A. Orthopedically Impaired

  •    For upper limbs: amputated left or right arm with prosthesis
  •    For lower limbs: amputated left or right leg with prosthesis
  •    Post-Poliomyelitis: with one paralyzed leg either left or right

B. Partially blind

C. Speech and Hearing Impaired

D. Free from highly contagious diseases (for PDL applicants)

Passing of fake medical certificates (forged, duplicated, or processed from a non-licensed physician) are not tolerated by LTO. According to the department, no one shall be allowed to have a license or even renew license using a fake certificate. If any license will be issued by accident, it will be immediately recalled by LTO and proper case shall be filed.


Are foreigner’s required to present a medical certificate?

Like any other Filipino applicants, foreigners are also required to submit a medical certificate even if they have dual citizen license. Foreigners need to submit a medical certificate issued by any licensed physician practicing in the Philippines.


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How to get an MTOP (Motorized Tricycle Operator’s Permit)

MTOP (Motorized Tricycle Operator’s Permit) is a necessary document for one to be qualified to use and operate a motorized tricycle for any livelihood purposes. Whether for a local delivery or transportation business. If you’re planning to use a motorized or electric tricycle for business or livelihood then you need to get a MTOP first and foremost. MTOP has a validity of three (3) years and local application fees vary for different cities and towns here in the Philippines.

QUALIFICATIONS you need to apply for a MTOP (Motorized Tricycle Operator’s Permit)

  • Must be a Filipino citizens
  • Partnership or corporation whose capitalization is sixty percent (60%) Filipino owned


MTOP Requirements:

  • Community tax certificate
  • Certificate of registration from LTO (original and photocopy)
  • Proof of purchase or official receipt of purchased tricycle unit (original and photocopy)
  • Barangay clearance that indicates residency
  • Certificate or letter of reference from TODA
    Photocopy copy of driver’s licence
  • Two (2) copies of 2×2 colored ID picture


Where to Apply?

MTOP application can be conducted at any Franchising and Regulatory Board office nearest your local town or city.


STEPS and PROCEDURES in order to get a MTOP

  • Go to local Franchising and Regulatory Board office nearest you and present the list of requirements
  • Present the motorized or electric tricycle unit to Traffic Management Group (TMG) at local municipal or city hall
  • Proceed to Franchising section of Business Permit and License office and present all the required documents
  • Wait for all your fees and charges to be assessed
  • Go to the License division of the Treasurer’s office and pay all required fees
  • Claim your MTOP and sticker


Fees and Charges:

Fees and charges Amount in Php
MTOP filing fee 50.00
Inspection fee 20.00
Permit fee 75.00
Franchise fee (paid once every 3 years) 300.00
Fare adjustment fee 50.00
Regulatory fee (paid annually) 100.00
Provisional permit fee (paid every 3 months) 75.00
Total 670.00


Take note that these charges vary in other Municipalities, so to verify the exact fees and charges you may need to got to or phone the nearest local Municipal Hall where Franchising Regulatory Board usually is located.




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Getting a Driving Instructor and Choosing a Driving School

Filipino young bloods who want to learn how to drive are usually taught by an elderly relative of the family. In most cases, people who has money to spend opt to go to a driving school and make advantage of a driving instructor. A driving instructor is a person who is hired by a person who is learning how to drive and wants improve his driving skills in order to get a driver’s license. They manage the driving theory lessons, teach the driving students about the right traffic rules, and inform student drivers about safety driving procedures. Driving lesson charges vary  depending on the type of instructor, car to be used, and the duration of driving lesson. But is it really worth it to get and pay for a driving instructor? Let this article help you decide what type of driving lesson and when to get a driving instructor.


Types of driving instructor


Below are three types of driving instructors

  • Employees – these are instructors that work for a driving school or any educational organization such as a college, tertiary institute, the military, etc.
  • Franchised or licensed instructors – these are instructors that were able to buy licensed franchise and has the right to have a company’s logo in their car to make their job legit even if they are not directly working for the company
  • Independent instructors – these instructors own more than one car. They could work as partners or even hire other instructors to work or franchise their business.


The types mentioned above have different charges and may differ as well on the driving lesson packages that they offer. It would be better to directly contact the company or instructor to get quotes. Contact numbers are usually posted in their websites and social media accounts.


Factors affecting the price of driving lesson



If the car to be used for the lesson is an old model, expect the fee to be less expensive. But if it’s a newly released unit, of course the would be more expensive. Bear in mind that the current price of gasoline is also factored into consideration. If it’s high, the instructor may charge more to compensate the gasoline to be used during the entire duration of the lesson.



The law of demand and supply applies in every business and so in driving lessons. If the demand is high, the pay is also high and then vice versa. Also companies changes their rate to match the other competing companies. But there are cases that companies tend to file bankruptcy as well in this business because of the lack of students coming in.


Local demographics

If a large portion of population doesn’t have enough money to pay for a driving lesson, instructors automatically lower their fees to meet the needs of their market.


Skill and reputation

This is the most common qualifier for instructors. Instructors who have already set good reputation in the business can maintain their prices or even demand for more since they have a steady stream of students. On the other hand, if the instructor is just starting out, then they need to promote their business  further to get student learners to enroll.


Considerations for choosing a driving instructor

Every student driver wants to make sure they choose the best driving school and instructor while not neglecting their budget at the same time. But you really get what you pay for, and considering the hazards involved in driving, I suggest you don’t cheap out on your driving lessons. Below are qualities that you should consider.

  • Driving school has good reputation
  • Make sure the school have well maintained vehicles
  • Check if they have polite and patient instructors
  • Lastly see to it that they invest in training and learning to improve their service


Cheap driving schools in Manila


Listed below are the cheapest driving schools in Manila according to LTO. For list of prices, you can just check their website or social media accounts.

  • A1 Driving School
  • Polaris Driving School
  • Socialites Driving School
  • F1 Driving School
  • Smart Driving School
  • Honda driving School


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Brake fade: What are the risks and how does it develop

All car brakes at a certain time will experience overheating when in use which results in a degraded braking power. If not confronted properly this may leave you out in a hazardous situation that’s why it’s a good thing to know how it happens and what are the causes.

What is brake fade?

Brake fade or braking system fade is the degradation or complete loss in stopping power of vehicle’s braking system. This is due to sustained and repetitive application of the brakes which results into deterioration of both drum and disc brakes.


Brake fade is one of the leading cause of road crash here in the country especially with truck vehicles as they are more susceptible to have brake fades due to heavy the load they carry.


How does it fade?

Braking system fade is the result of overheating brake pad. This means all vehicles that have brake pads rubbing against a brake rotor which transforms the vehicle’s kinetic energy into heat has the tendency to develop braking system fade.


Best practice to minimize brake fade

When Towing Another Vehicle

Imagine you are driving downhill while pulling a  500kg trailer(trailer is without brakes). If your vehicle weighs around a ton it only means that your braking system will have to shoulder about fifty percent more load. This results into excessive overheating of your brake pads that results into a faster braking system fade than usual.


Now an even worse case scenario is when you’re pulling another vehicle. This is a typical case in the Philippines where you see a regular vehicle towing another vehicle. Bear in mind that if that vehicles that are usually towed are the ones that had a break down so this means that it’s an unbraked trailer because it’s engine is off. Doing this will surely result in a faster fading of your brakes system.


When towing another vehicle make sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Make your brake system is in good condition. Proper scheduled maintenance will do that for you.
  • Drive in a slow pace of not more than 30kph
  • Refer to the loading limit of the towing vehicle that you plan to use


When driving downhill

Modern vehicle’s braking system are not particularly designed to withstand continuous applied brakes. So f you are driving downhill bear in mind the following to reduce brake fade:

  • Maintain a constant speed or reduce your speed
  • Don’t drive on neutral gear as you won’t be able to maintain constant speed without using your brakes frequently
  • For manual transmission vehicles you can put your gear between one to four. This would help you maintain constant speed when going downhill. Gear number five would too fast and dangerous when diving down even on a lengthy hill.


What should you do in case a brake fade happens?

Turn down your speed immediately as soon as you recognize a brake fade and switch down the gears to as low as you can without over-revving the engine. It is really necessary to get high revs as low the vehicle won’t slow down when it’s low. It’s actually alright to rev the engine up to the redline (maximum rpm) or even past the redline for a very brief time period. It’s not going to damage your engine because you are not applying petrol to rev the engine instead it’s running through the momentum force of the wheels. Anyhow, make sure to not damage the engine because that’s another story.


Pull the handbrake gently. Do this if your vehicle has a typical lever handbrake. If your have a hydraulic handbrake then it could put you in a more dangerous situation by causing your car to spin since the hydraulic handbrakes apply itself with entire force. For automatic cars, do not put it in reverse or park mode. If you have a manual car never put it in reverse as it will damage your gearbox when travelling forward.  


Try to look for exits as soon as possible. To minimize danger to other road users it’s best to try to get off the road as quickly as possible especially if you can’t stop to pick up speed. Try to run it off into fields or into a hilly location, or a bumpy road rather than running it toward a wall, or electrical post, or worst into another vehicle.


Check out the terrain. Bushes and shrubs will impede your speed; muddy terrains even more, however, be sure that the terrain you are treading wouldn’t hoist you into the air or even worst a hurl you tumbling down into a cliff.  


After stopping

If you manage to come into a halt your brakes will most likely be fiery hot. You’re going to have to let it cool for a while. However, don’t leave it in one position as it could contort the rotors due to excessive heat. To avoid this try to keep your wheels turning to prevent further damage to the vehicle and remember to keep it in 1st gear to minimize the speed.


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Parking guidelines

Driving requires a lot of skills. One of which is parking — be it parallel or not. But more importantly, a driver should know and be aware of where and when to park properly. This article will discuss common guidelines and whatnots about parking and its corresponding consequences or fines if not followed.

Driveway or public road parking

The rule of thumb is to always park one meter away from a vehicle entrance. Failure to do so makes it difficult for drivers in larger vehicles to get in and out of the driveway. It will also cause blocking emergency services. If this happens to you, you have the right to complain to a traffic officer or local council, who will also be the deciding body whether to issue a ticket to the driver and/or tow the vehicle.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority or MMDA is widely known as the Philippines’ traffic commission who is in charge for any traffic violators. In 2002, MMDA released a memorandum order under Resolution No. 02-33 that states,

MMC Ordinance No. 78-03 as amended, authorizes the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority to tow and impound illegally parked vehicles.”

As the memorandum clearly stated, no one is exempted in the towing so long as you did an illegal park. The memo also includes the two guidelines to when a vehicle could be towed. These are as follows:

  • “Stalled Vehicle” means any motor vehicle and/or its attachments which for any cause is unable to proceed under its own motive power and is on a public road, street or thoroughfare and dilapidated/junked vehicles in Metro Manila.
  • “Illegally Parked Vehicle” refers to one which is parked in areas prohibited by existing law or ordinance for parking purposes or those designated by the Authority and or the local government units (LGUs) as NO PARKING areas or zones.

To further guide you on your next parking, below are other basic parking mishaps that you should avoid.


Pavement parking

This type of careless parking is when a vehicle is causing obstruction to pedestrians, having them step off the pavement and walking towards the highway which is absolutely dangerous. Pavement parking makes it difficult as well for people with disabilities (especially those on wheelchairs) to pass safely. If you own the pavement, then you will automatically be exempted to the rule.


Outside the line parking

Parking lines are created to ensure that each vehicle has enough space to get in and out of the vehicle. It is a must to ensure that you park your vehicle within the given area to avoid double parking (using two parking slots). This technically eats up space that lessens opportunity for others who badly need to park as well. To avoid making this mistake, make sure that all your wheels are within the parking line. As easy as that.


Yellow line parking

Ever wonder what’s the purpose of yellow lines in car parks? Yellow lines mainly indicates restrictions in parking areas depending on the location you are at.

There are two types of yellow line in car parks:

  • Single yellow line – restrictions on parking is only for a short period of time and these restriction periods are shown by a signpost.
  • Double yellow line – 24/7 restriction and signposts are not needed.

Yellow double lines are popularly used in Singapore, United Kingdom, and United States.

Parking on PWD (people with disability) slot

As respect and help to people with disabilities, all parking areas around the world are required to have a slot or bay for them. In the Philippines this is clearly defined in the IRR of BP 344 entitled “AN ACT TO ENHANCE THE MOBILITY OF DISABLED PERSONS

BY REQUIRING CERTAIN BUILDINGS, INSTITUTIONS, ESTABLISHMENTS AND PUBLIC UTILITIES TO INSTALL FACILITIES AND OTHER DEVICES.” This slot is easy to recognize since it has a drawing of a stick man that seems to sit on a wheelchair. Also, PWD slots are always located near the entrance of establishments. Even if the slot doesn’t have a vehicle parked on it, it doesn’t give you any permission to park there unless if you’re a person with a disability yourself. Always remember that good and responsible parking reflects a good driver after all.

If you’re someone who wants to know who gets to use the PWD parking then you can check-out this article.


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