It's no secret that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is planning to implement the new Motor Vehicle Inspection System (MVIS) soon. The new system is centered a stringent set of checks of every motor vehicle as a requirement for annual motor vehicle registration with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
The new process means every motor vehicle requiring registration renewal will have to be brought to a privatized Motor Vehicle Inspection Center (MVIC), wherein the facility will check things such as the condition of the vehicle based on a very strict series of guidelines.
We've been trying to acquire a copy of the guidelines that will be used by the MVICs to check vehicles, and finally after much prodding, we got one.
We're still going through the 33-page list of guidelines, and we'll be rolling out many of the standards that every vehicle on the road must meet in order to pass the inspection. Basically, every MVIC will be visual check of the vehicle and its many components, as well as have the authority and equipment to test of all the pertinent vehicle functions such as lights, the engine, steering, safety features (i.e. brakes) and the like.
But one thing caught our eye: it's the section on wheels and tires, or section 188.8.131.52.
MVICs must check every wheel and make sure that there are “no fractures or welding defects”, and they will also check the specifications of the tires to match the “tire size, load capacity or speed category” to make sure it conforms to certain standards.
Another tire check they need to perform is to see if there are “significant damages” to the tires like “cracks or cuts to the base cords”, and that the tire wear indicator is not exposed; for the unfamiliar, it's that little bump in the middle of a tire's groove. If it's exposed (meaning able to touch the road or at level with the remaining tread), your car fails the inspection.
Perhaps the one thing that will be the headache for a lot of car owners is the rule in the MVIS inspection guidelines with regards to tire age. The MVIS will be looking for the specific age of your tire, and the guidelines state that “tires have safe useful life of five years”, and that MVICs are instructed to “make sure that tires are not yet expired”.
We'll try to clarify further but on the surface it means the DOTr and LTO have set a 5 year maximum age for tires on a car that need to be renewed.
To determine a tire's age, you need to look for 4 consecutive numbers that are stamped onto your tires. The first two numbers will indicate the week number it was produced (01 to 52) and the next two numbers will mean the year it was produced. For instance, the tire above has the number 3218 on it; that means it would have been produced on the 32nd week (4th week of August, thereabouts) of 2018.
So, if you were to go to an MVIC to renew your vehicle in September 2023 with a tire that says 3218, your test would technically fail based on these rules. And any motor vehicle that fails to pass muster under the MVIS will have its front plate confiscated and be issued an MVISR, or Motor Vehicle Inspection System Report. Yes, that is how it will be. Once the vehicle comes back and passes inspection, it can be renewed.
It'll be interesting to see how they sort that out amongst jeepneys with tires as old as time.