A lot has been said about the Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS). Much like England's MoT(Ministry of Transport) test and Japan's Shaken, the MVIS is a strict roadworthiness check to ensure your car is in good health before you get it registered.
On paper, it's a great idea. Not only will you know if your car is roadworthy or not, but it also keeps the clunkers off the road. It makes driving safer for everyone too. How many times did you almost hit the back of a car because it didn't have working brake lights? The MVIS test can minimize things like that from happening.
But before you get your car inspected, what exactly do they need to check? A lot, as it turns out. Per LTO's Memorandum Circular No. 2020-2240, there are nearly 20 pages of things they will inspect. We've sifted it out for you so here's the rundown.
Above carriage 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. This 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 aligned and clear too. They'll also take a look at your turn signals, license plate lights, taillights, and reverse lights for good measure.
But above carriage inspection goes beyond checking all the lights. The vehicle's windshields and windows must be spotless, so any 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 steering wheel shouldn't have unnecessary play and effort must be equal when turning left and right. The horn must have a consistent tone and volume when pressed for a long time.
If that seems like a lot, we're not done yet. The interior is subject to checks as well. Your instrument cluster must be backlit and all dials should be accurate. The parking brake needs to be tight and be able to hold the car at an angle. At the same time, they will check if your brakes and clutch are up to scratch. 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.
Other things for checking? MVIS inspectors will see to it that fumes do not enter the cabin, and the air-conditioning is filled with the proper refrigerant. As mentioned before, the exhaust system must not be louder than 99 dB. They'll even look at the floorboard if outside leaks are seeping into the cabin. The fuel tank and fuel delivery system will also get inspected for any signs of wear, damage, or bad repairs. Every switch and dial must be functional and the battery securely mounted.
Now that we've covered everything above the chassis, what do MVIS inspectors look out for under the car? They watch out for three key things, namely rust, 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 tight and free from 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. Springs and handbrake cables are also checked, and the MVIS center makes sure that all nuts and bolts are properly installed in the car. For those who have spare tire mounts outside the vehicle, these must be secured properly and not at risk of falling off.
Yes, it's a lot to take in, but it's all for the sake of safety. If any of the parts mentioned require immediate attention in your car, it's best to take it to the shop and do the repair and services needed before you schedule your MVIS center visit. You wouldn't want to go there only for your front license plate to be confiscated for failing the inspection.