A lot of motorists breathed a sigh of relief after the President said PMVIC (Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Center) testing is no longer required. For now, all you need to do is bring your car for emissions testing at the very least. Of course, you can still bring your car to a PMVIS center for a more thorough check.

However, the Department of Transport (DOTr) clarified the ruling. According to the agency, emissions testing AND a visual inspection of the vehicle is required before the renewal of registration. According to Memorandum Circular 2021-01, Section 2.b. states “Visual Inspection of roadworthiness/safety features of a motor vehicle shall be mandatory”. This announcement from the DOTr effectively reverts to the previous status quo.

A portion of DOTr MC 2021-01 says “Thus, motor vehicle owners have the option to have their motor vehicles inspected by either authorized PMVICs or Private Emissions Testing Centers (PETCs)”. However, that doesn't mean PETCs can do the visual inspection. That's a job for the PMVIC.

Emissions testing AND visual inspection now required for registration renewal image

But what exactly will these centers check? The DOTr didn't mention anything, but we might find answers in the Implementing Rules and Regulations for MVIS. Per LTO's Memorandum Circular No. 2020-2240, these are the items included in the visual inspection.

The MVIS test is split in two, namely above carriage inspection and undercarriage inspection. Let's first take a closer look at the above carriage checks.

It includes the body, the glass area, lights, and so on. The check also covers the interior, so make sure it's all tidy and in working order. For the body check, they will see if the vehicle has rust on the panels and if everything is intact. Loose panels and duct-taped parts are a no-no. Also, your headlights shouldn't only be functional, these must be clear too. They'll also take a look at your turn signals, license plate lights, taillights, and reverse lights for good measure. 

The vehicle's windshields and windows must be spotless, so any large cracks, deep scratches, or temporary repairs are an immediate fail. Your wipers must be functional and in good condition, along with the windshield washers. Tires are checked for tread depth and age, and regrooved tires are not allowed.

The interior is subject to checks as well. Your instrument cluster must be backlit and all dials should be accurate. Also, the rear-view and side-view mirrors should provide a clear view of the flanks and the back. Even the seats and seatbelts are inspected to see if it is safe for use.

Emissions testing AND visual inspection now required for registration renewal image

As for the undercarriage inspection, they watch out for three key things. These include namely corrosion, suspension, and mounting play, and leaks. They check leaks from the radiator, transmission, engine, power steering, hoses, pipes, brake lines, differentials, and dampers. Bushings, driveshafts, CV joints, linkages, steering, and engine mounts must be play and vibrations.

As for corrosion, there shouldn't be any in the hard points of the chassis and the floor pan. For pick-ups, traditional SUVs, AUVs, and vans (ex. Hilux, D-Max, Fortuner, mu-X), the inspectors take a closer look at the frame that serves as the backbone of the vehicle. They also check if there is damage, deformation, or cut and shut welds.

The visual inspection does not include the brakes, clutch, parking brake, air-conditioning, wheel alignment, and exhaust sound level. In short, everything that requires an additional apparatus for inspection apart from the emissions test will not be included.