Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dad's Review - Car Registration Renewal at LTO Main Office

If there is one job that a Dad can boast that exclusively his is the renewal of family car's registration.

I used to have a second-hand Mitsubishi Lancer box type sedan eons of years ago thus I don't exactly remember the procedure on how to renew its registration since I simply pay a "fixer" at LTO Laguna to do the job for me. I used to work in Cabuyao, Laguna before I sold my Lancer and worked abroad.

When I bought our family car in 2008, it came with 3-years registration thus I was saved from this daunting task of renewing its registration for 3 years.

After its 3-years registration has elapsed I had no choice but to renew its registration myself hence I searched the net and learned that I need to do the following procedures:

1. Emission Test
2. Buy a compulsory TPL (Third Party Liability) insurance
3. Stencils - to record on Motor Info Sheet the engine and chassis number
4. Inspection
5. Evaluation
6. Payment
7. Stickers and OR release

I drove my car to emission test center located opposite LTO Main Office at Quezon City and paid 400 pesos for the test. Aside from the emission result, the paper also showed the picture of the technician doing the test; my car's plate can also be seen on the picture.

Technician working at the emission test center
After the emission test, I proceeded directly to LTO Main Office and was perplexed since I didn't know the correct procedure. I was in this state when a "fixer" approached me since he knew that I was there for renewal due to my license plate number.

In short, we had a deal. I bought a TPL from his contact who was just standing beside a street vendor inside the LTO compound. After 15 minutes, the lady returned with the TPL for 980 pesos. Another 50 pesos went to another guy for stencil jobs while the fixer charged me another 350 for the inspector seating outside the car registration area/counters so there was no need for me to bring my car for inspection. The fixer asked 100 pesos as his service charge. Without any knowledge on how things were running at LTO and being told by the fixer that since I didn't have early warning devices (yellow and red triangles) at hand then my car wouldn't be able to pass the inspection test. I had no choice then but to pay them all though I had reservation about the authenticity of the TPL insurance. The inspector who didn't even bothered to check whether I was registering a military tank or a 3-wheeled car brought my documents inside their office and told me to wait at the cashier area. When my name was called by the cashier, I paid the necessary renewal charges including 100 pesos transfer fee. Shortly thereafter, I got my OR and stickers. The whole process lasted  in less than two hours. It was no sweat at all and that was in 2011.

Come 2012, after the emission test I drove to LTO main office. Surprisingly, upon reaching the car registration renewal area, I noticed that there were no more fixers lurking inside LTO compound; you would notice them flagging down vehicles entering the said area . Though I was happy that our president's "tuwid na daan" (straight path) motto was working on this government agency I was also confused at the same time since I had no idea where to go. Besides, I can't find anybody where I can buy TPL insurance. I approached the inspector seating in that area and asked him for guidance. He inspected my car documents and noticed that I didn't have any TPL and my car wasn't inspected yet; I asked him where I can buy TPL. He took my car documents and after a couple of minutes he returned back with a TPL insurance worth 1,550 pesos. I knew I was ripped off but I can't complain anymore; the TPL insurance documentation has been done. In fairness, he asked me to bring my car inside that area and conducted a visual inspection. He then asked one guy to do the stenciling for free. I paid the usual renewal charges at the cashier and collected my car stickers at the next window. It was obvious that my 2008 Nissan GL TPL insurance was costly.

Last month I renewed my car registration.

Once more, I visited my favorite emission test center nearby and paid 450 pesos for the test. Fortunately, the manager of the emission center offered me TPL insurance for 980 pesos which I gladly accepted since the emission test center carry a well known name thus I can't doubt the authenticity of their TPL insurance. In that area too, some boys were asking for stenciling job with "Motor Info Sheet" at hand. I gave the boy 50 pesos for the job. I felt great; I was able to complete several procedures in one place in short period of time and less expenses.

After this, I went directly to LTO main office car registration renewal area. Interestingly, beside the table of the inspector who previously charged me an expensive TPL was another table being manned by a lady. The table was marked "Public Assistance and Complain Desk." Bingo! This is what we need  in every government agency. I approached her and showed all my documents. She instructed me to go to next building for inspection. Not a big deal I told myself. I was confident that I am now following the correct procedure.

I drove to inspection building beside LTO main office near Chowking. I inquired at the window having a sign Evaluator/Complain Desk. The guy at that window explained to me the steps regarding vehicle inspection and collected my car documents except the TPL. He then asked me to wait for my name to be called from window E or cashier. I paid 50 pesos. Don't forget to check which lane you should enter; it is written on the receipt. Usually, for sedan and other small vehicles you will be asked to queue at lane 1. I showed my inspection receipt to the security guard, he ordered me to drive my car to the inspection area at the back. The inspector asked me to turn-on one-by-one my signal lights, wiper, horn and break lights and when he was satisfied that everything was working perfectly he signed my Motor Info Sheet; he never asked about the early warning devices. My car passed with flying colors, LOL.

I returned back to the car registration renewal area and showed my car's inspection and other documents to the lady at the Public Assistance Desk. She beckoned me to submit my documents to the evaluator windows behind her table. The evaluator took my documents and asked me to proceed to cashier area and wait for my name to be called. After a while the cashier called my name. I paid the renewal amount and received the OR. I went immediately to release section beside the cashier to claim my car stickers.

This time it took me more than 2 hours to finish the entire process. In short, I spent more time on my recent renewal of car registration compared with the previous years and obviously time was important for any Dad. Nonetheless, knowing that you have completed an arduous task through your own effort would make any Dad proud of himself especially when he has extra 600 pesos inside his wallet. Wow!

To sum it all, I have seen with my own eyes the improvement of government service at LTO main office and how corruption was minimized if not totally eradicated in this area. I wanted to commend the security guards  as well since they were very heplful and courteous unlike before. Likewise, I truly appreciate the new Public Assistance/Complain desk at LTO main office car registration renewal and licensing area. It is a welcome relief for new car owners who are not familiar to the procedures and steps to be followed in renewing their car registration.

There is no denying that I have been a part of a corrupt system but it is worth to mention that if we want to change our nation then we should start changing ourselves first. Next year, since I am now fully aware of the procedures it will be definitely easier and more convenient for me to renew our family car's registration.

May 2014

On my recent visit to LTO main office to renew my car registration, my OR was stamped with "NO STICKER AVAILABLE" hence I returned back a week later to collect the said stickers.

I called first the number given to me to confirm the availability of the sticker before coming back to LTO office. Moreover, I renewed my car registration several days late thus I was slapped with 200 pesos surcharge. What a waste of hard earned money.

starting from left, counters A, B & C while counter D or cashier is not shown on the picture.

At inspection lobby or reception, you have to submit your emission test and stencil form to counter A or B then wait for your name to be called by cashier at counter D. Once you have paid the 50 pesos inspection fee at the cashier then you may drive your car at the back of the building. Be aware though of the inspection lane where you need to drive your car. In my case, my inspection receipt showed lane 1. I was asked by the inspector to activate my car's horn, signal lights, wipers, break lights and reverse lights. My 6 year old family car passed the test without any effort at all. Again, there was no need for early warning devices.

Wait for your inspection report at the inspection area. Once you have received you stencil form with signature of the inspector then you may now proceed to LTO main office to renew your car registration.

By the way, there are plenty of "fixers" outside the LTO premises flagging you as if they know you; don't mind them.

By the way, sometimes you won't find any parking space inside the LTO compound, in this case you can park your car at nearby establishments like Jollibee then you can walk back to LTO to process your car registration.


  1. Hi, nice post. I am about to purchase a car that is over 10 years old. Having read that you owned a 2nd hand car before, I thought I would ask you about insurance. How does that work? Do I purchase I new one for me? What about the current insurance of the current owner? Will that be null and void or will it be transferred to my name? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. I'm about to renew my car registration since the 3-year reg is expiring this month. I'll be doing this for the first time. But having read the basic steps here gives me the confidence to do it on my own. Would it be OK to ask the name and exact location of the emission test center you went to?

    1. Sorry I forgot its name. It is located near the traffic light in front of LTO compound. Actually, it is along the road going from East ave to Quezon ave. If you are coming from circle, you can easily notice this emission test near the intersection going to Quezon ave.

  3. Im abt to renew our car reg.this week.May God help me.thank you for this helpful post/guide :) i actually wrote some info and took some screenshots, too.