Pinoy Driver

3 Reasons Why LTO’s Online Plate Number Verification is Helpful

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Some say that patience is a virtue. Others say that good things come to those who wait, while most Filipino motorists cry to have their new license plates. After all, they’ve already paid for it.

The Philippine government already expressed and explained to the public that it is doing its best to clear the backlog of license plates. As a testament to this, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) launched an online portal around two months ago wherein you can check if your new license plate is already available. With that in mind, here are three reasons why the LTO’s online plate number verification is helpful.

Easy Accessibility

The LTO online plate number verification portal is helpful for those individuals who purchased a brand-new car two years ago. The LTO online portal shows that license plates are now available for individuals who bought and registered their vehicle from July 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016 in the National Capital Region (NCR). The website also shows the availability of license plates in other parts of the Philippines such as in Region 1, Region 2, Region 3, among others.

Information at your Fingertips

When you visit LTO’s website, the first thing you need to do is look for the icon that says Motor Vehicle 7-Character Plate Backlog Inquiry. Click on the icon in order to check the availability status of your MV license plate. Then, you need to input or type the 15 digits of your MV File Number to check the availability of your license plate. If the license plate is available, the LTO says owners can pick it up at the stated Authorized District Office or through the dealership.

Hassle Free

The LTO online plate number verification portal makes the process of checking the availability of your MV license plate hassle-free. You just need to go online; visit the link; and then type in the details needed. However, don’t get your hopes too high as the LTO previously said that vehicles registered before July 1, 2016 will not be able to get their seven-digit license plates for now. As such, you need to be more patient. After all, good things come to those who wait.

Posted in Advice

7 Reasons Why You Should Use Premium Gas

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Most people are not clear on the type of gas to use and similarly, do not understand the

difference between regular and premium gas. Lack of knowledge on the right type of gas to use

reduces your car’s power thus causing damage. Undoubtedly, premium gas is the better option

and this is backed up by many auto experts. Other than the obvious reason that premium gas has

a higher octane level that is responsible for high engine performance and general efficiency,

there are several reasons as to why you should opt for premium gas.

1. Car power optimization

In order to benefit from the highly advertised horsepower, fill your car engine with premium gas.

It allows for your engine design and calibrations to be quite more aggressive. Cars whose

engines use premium fuel have been reported to yield additional power especially if you are

towing massive weight or even driving in extreme heat.


2. More Additives

Even though the additives in gasoline are not talked about much, they actually matter and the

right additives help in maintaining your car engine as required. Premium gas has a higher

concentration of detergent additive and therefore improves the gas quality. The intake valves and

fuel injectors are well maintained as a very small amount is deposited.


3. Less knocking’

Uncontrolled combustion of fuel inside the gas cylinders severely cause damage which causes

knocking’. Premium gas causes less carbon deposits. Carbon deposits increase the combustion

ratio which consequently raises the engine’s octane rating. With this type of gas, even old cars

run much efficiently.


4. Improved mileage

Premium unleaded petrol increases the number of miles for your car before refilling. This is

because engines with higher power require less fuel refills. Auto experts recommend premium

gas even though your car uses regular gas as you need to refill less.


5. Lower fuel consumption

Lower fuel consumption is a huge save for most car owners and drivers as this saves on money.

The less the fuel consumed, the less the cost as well. With improved mileage comes less fuel

consumption. Even though the price of premium fuel might be a little higher, it is convenient to

use for long distance travels and also heavy-truck engines as well.


6. Reduced engine wear and tear

Whenever pressure and temperature are concerned, the engine tends to suffer a lot of damage.

Premium gas reduces the damage caused to your engine by reducing the risk of pre-ignition no

matter how hot and stressed your cylinder is.


7. Higher general performance

A car’s general and overall performance highly depends on the type of fuel used. If your car is

turbo or supercharged, or if you enjoy driving in open roads, it is best to increase your car’s

performance by filling your cylinders with Premium gasoline.

Before complaining about the price of premium gas being a few cents (per gallon) higher than

that of regular gas focus on the impeccable benefits of premium gas and evade any future

disappointments. It is after all one of the best life hacks when car talk is involved.

Posted in Advice, Car

LTO Eyesight Requirements for Driver’s License Application and Renewal

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Having good eyesight is the most important and critical part of being a driver because driving relies heavily on the driver’s vision. Just like any other countries, Philippine’s LTO also includes eyesight check-up as a requirement before gaining a driver’s license. Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology or PAO strongly believes that is a must to set a visual standard for applicants to ensure safety and filter those who are physically fit for driving (day and night).

How does eyesight being tested?


Before getting your driver’s license, you will have to go through several procedures first. Right after taking the drug test, the eyesight test comes next as part of the medical exam of LTO. The testing site is conducted in the LTO office you are applying at. The test is just a basic procedure that follows the standard procedure of using a Snellen chart to check how far and clear your eyes can see. Do not wear reading or graded glassed to ensure that the physician will get your vision as accurate as possible. Negative findings or abnormalities on this eyesight test will result to driving restrictions that will later be encrypted on the driver’s license. But if you opt to wear a graded eyeglasses, it will also be included in your license stating that you needed them in driving. Any restrictions should be followed by the license holder. If not, traffic enforcers have the right to issue a ticket or arrest you if you fail to follow the restrictions stated on your license.


Below are the driver restrictions:

  • 20/50 vision qualifies for driving with corrective glasses/lenses
  • 20/60 vision qualifies for daytime driving only
  • Persons with cataracts are not allowed to drive at night

If you have one weak eye and the other is very strong, you might fail the eyesight test but still pass the tests of an optometrist. It would be best to seek an optometrist as well in this kind of case. An optometrist is a person whose job is to examine people’s eyes to find out if they need eyeglasses or medical treatment.

Types of vision used when driving

As mentioned above, driving requires good eyesight to avoid occurrence of accidents on the road. With that being said, below are the types of visual functions that are crucial to driving in accordance to PAO


1. Visual acuity

Most countries have this kind of criterion. Visual acuity describes how well you see details with your central vision. This is measured by the ability to discern letters and numbers at a given distance. It is assumed that if a person has this, it will be easier for him to detect and react to road signs, pedestrians, obstacles and other vehicles.

2. Peripheral Visual Field

Peripheral vision, also known as side vision gives you the ability to see and recognize things and movements that is already out of our central vision. This vision allows drivers to see and avoid curbs, barricades or height clearance and allows them avoid collision and see approaching pedestrians.

3. Glare and Contrast Sensitivity

This visual function is the ability to distinguish finer increments of light versus the dark. This is very important in driving in situations of low light, fog or glare that results to reduction of contrast between objects and their backgrounds. Contrast sensitivity is basically important especially in driving at night to avoid accidents.

4. Color Vision

Color vision is the ability to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths of the light they reflect or emit. This helps you recognize traffic lights, hazard warning lights and emergency lights indicators. It also helps you distinguish objects in color bands that are problematic.

5. Accommodation

Accommodation (or accommodation-convergence reflex) is the reflex action of the eye in response to focusing on a close object, then looking at a distant one afterwards and doing it vice versa. Accommodation consists coordinated changes in vergence, lens shape, and pupil size. Accommodation can be improved by doing a simple exercise where one would look at a distance then at something close to you and repeating the process over and over again.

6. Depth Perception

One contributor for achieving this is using your two eyesights. People with good binocular vision are able to judge distance accurately that allow them to maneuver the car and change lanes which are crucial skills in driving. If you happen to be monocular (one eyesight), it would be better for you to refrain from driving for a while until your vision has already  adjusted to using one vision.


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Posted in Advice, Car, Motorbike, Truck

Types of Emergency Vehicle Sirens and Who Are Allowed to Use One

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Emergency vehicle requires sirens and lights for easy recognition by other vehicles that are hitting the same road. Philippines, just like any other country has designated specific sirens for ambulance cars, police cars and fire trucks. Sirens were basically built to be loud since hearing is considered to be a primary warning sense. A loud auditory signal may exert an immediate arousing effect to the driver’s ears resulting to alertness that there is a nearby emergency vehicle coming. An emergency siren usually have two or three tones, sometime more. It is a must for drivers to give way to emergency vehicles at all times once they hear the siren.


Types of siren pitch

There are three types of sirens being used and all three are alternately used depending on how urgent the emergency is.

  • Wail – prolonged high pitch
  • Yelp – a short but sharp pitch; sped up version of wail
  • Phaser – fastest pitch


Siren tones


For Police car

Since Philippines has been a territory of America for quite some time, it also adopted the Western versions of siren tones. Just like in North America, we use the ‘wail’ setting which gives a long up and down variation, with an unbroken tone. In heavy traffic, it is preferred to use the ‘yelpsetting.


For Ambulance car

Ambulance car also uses long up and down pitch together with a flashing light to indicate that there is an emergency on the way. The siren and light are always turned on during these two situations:

  • Ambulance is empty and going to receive a patient who is in need of emergency.
  • Ambulance is carrying a patient and going to the hospital.


For Fire truck

The honk of a fire truck siren was first produced before using a horn and some countries still use horns up to this day. But since technology is already here, fire truck now uses the same siren equipment of police and ambulance cars. It generally operates in wail and the siren wail tends to be longer, starting from a lower tone.


Are private cars allowed to use siren?

Aside from the three government vehicles mentioned above, no one (even politicians) is allowed to use any kind of siren (or any loud, disturbing horn). Though some people tried to use it to avoid traffic, they got arrested and penalized afterwards. The use of siren for private cars is prohibited because it causes confusion to other drivers and disturbs the flow of traffic.  To avoid this unlawful act, our government has passed Presidential Decree No. 96, s. 1973 which states:

  • “That it shall be unlawful for the owner or possessor of any motor vehicle to use or attach to his vehicle any siren, bell, horn, whistle, or other similar gadgets that produce exceptionally loud or startling sound, including dome lights, blinkers and other similar signaling or flashing devices.
  • The gadgets or devices mentioned above may be attached to and use only on motor vehicles designated for official use by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Bureau of Investigation, Land Transportation Commission, Police Departments, Fire Departments, and hospital ambulances.”


The decree also states that anyone who will violate the law is  subject to device or gadget confiscation. If there will be subsequent offenses , the violator shall suffer six months imprisonment and/or pay for a fine. In addition, the official receipt and certificate of registration  (OR and CR) of the vehicle will be canceled or revoked.


Posted in Advice, Car, Truck

Gasoline Vs. Diesel Engine: What Should You Buy?

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The common question that every first time car buyers  is to either get a gasoline or diesel engine type of cars. It’s always a tough job to choose just between the two, right? Let this article help you out in making the right decision in choosing your car.




You may have heard a lot of different views about gas or diesel engine cars. To a lot of people, it is the expense that they consider to be the number one factor when purchasing a car. To some it is the acceleration, speed, and  power. While to others it could be the maintenance and resale value of the vehicle. Below are the common comparisons that may help you decide what to buy between the two types of car engine.


Fuel costExpensive (average of Php 41.00/liter)Cheap (average of Php 35.00/liter)
Resale valueLow valueHigh value (costs 15% more than the price of gasoline cars)
Performance27% efficient35% efficient
EngineDoesn’t self-ignite when compressed.Compresses air in the cylinder.
Spark plugYesNo
Injection processApplies a more roundabout route.Use direct fuel injection
TorqueLess powerMore powerful (good for towing)
Engine noiseLess noise createdNoisier than gasoline  
CO2 productionProduces more CO2Produces less CO2
Value for moneyCheaper than diesel carsExpensive engine

Advantages and Disadvantages


Need more descriptions to identify which is better than the other? Let’s take it to the specifics then.  Anything that is man made (or even not) has it’s inevitable pros and cons.


Advantages of Gasoline cars


  • Any gasoline engine cars (small or big)  are cheaper compared to diesel cars. Let’s take for example the Toyota Innova costs around Php 832,000.00 while the diesel counterpart of it costs Php 887,000.00
  • The fuel that gasoline cars uses is cleaner in terms of carbon, thus making it more cheaper to maintain and repair
  • Gasoline engine is better to be used in small cars. So if you opt to buy a compact car that are famous nowadays, make sure it uses gas
  • Usually cheaper initial cost and runs with a quieter engine.

Disadvantages of Gasoline Cars

  • Less hauling power and lower fuel efficiency
  • Gasoline is way expensive than diesel
  • Shorter lifespan

Advantages of Diesel cars

  • Diesel engine cars are fuel efficient
  • In terms of fuel, diesel is 20% cheaper than any unleaded fuel
  • Produce less pollution with a diesel particulate filter
  • Uses common-rail and turbo charging giving it the power to tow

Disadvantages of Diesel Cars

  • Engine has a tendency to accumulate dirt from diesel that could damage the fuel system and cost you more money  if not properly maintained.
  • The engine is quite noisy compared to gasoline engine cars, though manufacturers through the years have been making efforts to silence it down.
  • Engines powered by diesel also requires special lubricants to maintain it’s great performance


With all the comparisons and specifications mentioned above, the choice of getting a car still depends on your preference, purpose and term of use. If you want to use the car in a long term basis, better go with a diesel engine car. Also, if you have plans of using it as a public utility vehicle, better go for it since it’s fuel is cheaper. If you want to drive your car with speed like of that in the movies, go for a gasoline engine car instead.


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LTO Vehicle Registration and Renewal Process

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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 DigitMonthly 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 NumberWeekly Schedule
 1, 2, & 31st to 7th working day
 4, 5, & 68th to 14th working day
 7 & 815th to 21st working day
 9 & 022nd 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

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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 ColorCauses
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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