Emission Testing Centers: Everything you need to know

Updated Sep 07, 2020 | Same topic: Automotive FYIs
Get familiar with emission testing with this short guide.

In the mission to reduce our nation’s carbon footprint, the Philippine government requires motor vehicles to undergo emission testing. This was put into law via the Clean Air Act or R.A 8749, which was enacted back in 1999.

As per the aforementioned law, the government now monitors the millions of cars for the gasses they are spewing into the atmosphere. To address this need for emissions testing thousands of emission testing centers are now spread all throughout the Philippines.

A test center in the Philippine province.

The typical emission test center in the Philippine provinces looks like this

Usually, an emission testing center in the Philippines is an open-air facility with two lanes. One lane is for diesel vehicles, and the other is for gasoline vehicles.

But how does car emission testing work exactly? How do I ensure that my car passes the emission test? And more importantly, where are these car emission testing centers located?

I. How does car emission testing work?

According to the clean air act, these are the emission limits for light-duty vehicles, which include passenger vehicles.

A picture of clean air act standards.

Clean Air Act standards for passenger vehicles

In order to measure the amount of gas pollutants a car spews out, an emission test center uses a digital exhaust-measuring system. A technician also inserts an OBD-II scanner on your car to gather necessary data that may be relevant to the test.

And lastly, a sensor is also inserted inside your car’s exhaust to measure the quality of the car’s exhaust gases, specifically the amount of Hydrocarbons and CO2 it’s spewing out.

After that, the technicians then starts the car and revs it to a predetermined amount of RPMs simulating real-life driving conditions. The test then finalizes whenever the test machine indicates that it has successfully gathered a reading.

A picture of a foreign emission testing center

Other emission testing centers in other parts of the world look like this.

II. How long does a car emission test take?

The test itself will only take around 10 to 15 minutes. Do note though that there are factors that will cause you to stay for longer at an emission test center. More on that later.

Here in the Philippines, the Land Transportation Office requires a Certificate of Emission Compliance for Passed Testing. This certificate is among the primary requirements whenever you submit your vehicle for registration. The LTO also requires a picture of the car’s rear end during the act of testing with the plate visible so the technicians will also need to snap a picture.

A technician performing emissions testing.

Once the test started, don't ever leave your car. You might have to move it immediately afterward

If your car didn’t pass, you won’t be able to register your car.

Note however that there are many factors that will affect whether your car passes or not. Sometimes, it might be the emission testing machine’s fault due to being un-calibrated, a careless technician, etc. To eliminate the aforementioned factors, we highly advise you to have your emission testing at an LTO certified center.

III. Car emission testing requirements

As mandated by the LTO and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in May 2019 through a joint memorandum, all you need is a photocopy of your car’s official receipt (OR) and certificate of registration (CR). You no longer need to bring an original copy.

And of course, you’ll also need around Php 430 - Php 500 for the emission test price.

IV. What causes a car to fail the emission test?

There are many factors as to why a car fails an emission test. The biggest one of which is lack of maintenance. Its oil might be too old and contains more hydrocarbons, the spark plugs might be worn and thus causing inefficient combustion, or your air filter might be dirty. The worst reason of course, especially if the car testing technician uses an OBD-II scanner, is when your car has a check engine light.

A check engine light is also particularly bad because it might be indicating a serious engine problem like a gasket leak. The worst that could happen is that it might be a cracked engine block, cylinder head, piston, or camshaft. The least worrisome is a faulty oxygen sensor.

A picture of a car with a check engine light.

The bane of all car owners

Barring some fault in your car’s engine, certain car modifications will also cause a car to fail the emission test. This includes anything that affects the air/fuel mixture especially if you gave your car’s ECU a fuel-hungry performance tune.

V. Car emission testing procedure

We already covered the actual procedure of the test. Do note though that there’s also a procedure in filing a car to undergo emission testing.

  • The first thing you should do when you get to an emission center is to line up. Typically, these facilities will start operating at around 8:00 A.M. so come early to avoid a long wait.
  • Next, the testing center will provide an agreement form that you’ll have to sign. Sometimes, some forms will require you to enter your car’s make, model, engine displacement, etc.
  • Third, pay for the car emission test fee. Testing centers usually have a counter and a cashier for this. It also helps to bring the exact amount for the fee.
  • The testing center technician will then check your car specifically for things that might cause it to fail the test. Oftentimes, he or she will give you advice on what to do if you do fail.
  • Actual test.
  • Issuance of the Certificate of Emission Compliance for Passed Testing. This might take a while especially if there were other clients before you.

Bosch demonstration.

VI. Car Emission testing centers: Major locations

1. Car Emission Testing centers in Pasig

Alicor Emission Test Center Co, Inc. Pasig Branch

Alicor is one of the largest private emission testing providers with over 12 branches in Metro Manila alone. Their branch in Pasig City is particularly sizable with two lanes. Their largest branch however is located in Quezon City. All Alicor branches are accredited by the LTO.

The Alicor Emission Test Center Pasig Branch from the street.

The Alicor Emission Test Center Pasig Branch

  • Address: Ynares Sports Arena, WB Shaw Blvd., Brgy. Oranbo, Pasig City
  • Nearby landmarks: Tricity Medical Center Pasig, National Book Store C. Raymundo, Banco De Oro C. Raymundo Branch.
  • How to get to Alicor Emission Test Center Pasig:
    • If you’re coming from the north from Quezon City on EDSA, take a left on Ortigas Ave.  Once you cross Rosario Bridge, make a left on C. Raymundo Ave. Follow C. Raymundo until you reach Banco De Oro C. Raymundo. Alicor Pasig is a few meters ahead on the right side of the road.
    • If you’re coming from the south, take the C5, make a right on Pasig Blvd Ext, then left on A. Mabini. After that, make another left on Dr. Sixto Antonio Ave., then a right on Dr. Maldo del Rosario. Go straight to C. Raymundo. Alicor Pasig is on the left side, a few meters away from PNB Pasig C. Raymundo Branch.

Envirotest Inc. Pasig

With over several branches nationwide, Envirotest Inc. strives to be the country’s leading emission testing provider. It is also worth noting that it has a partnership with Bosch, which provides some of the best digital emission test machines in the market. Envirotest Inc. branches are also accredited by the LTO.

A picture of the Envirotest Inc. Pasig branch

The Envirotest Inc. Pasig branch.

  • Address: 74 Justice Ramon Jabson Street, Pasig City, Metro Manila
  • Contact Numbers: +63277181318
  • Nearby landmarks: Pasig City Hall, Dr. Sixto Antonio Elementary School.
  • How to get to Envirotest Inc. Pasig:
    • If you’re taking C5 coming from the south, get to San Guillermo Ave. then go straight to M. Concepcion Ave. Take a left on A. Luna Ave. From the last turn, Envirotest is 600m away to your left.
    • If you’re coming from the north. Take the C5, make a left on Pasig Blvd. Ext, then take a right onto A. Mabini. Follow A. Mabini then make a right on P. Burgos. Take a left to Industria, left on Dr. Garcia St., then another right on to A. Luna. Envirotest is on your right.

II. Car Emission Testing centers in Makati

CORE Emission Testing Center Makati

Core Emission Testing Center is a popular emission test center with several branches located in Metro Manila. So far their most popular branch is in Makati. Due to the said popularity though, you’ll need to book a slot via their Facebook page.

A picture of the front of Core Emission test center

See that pathway to the left. That heads towards the Core Emission Testing Center.

  • Address: 2272, 1232 Chino Roces Ave, Makati, Metro Manila
  • Nearby landmarks: Volvo Cars Philippines
  • How to get to Core Emission Testing Center Makati:
    • If you’re coming from the North, travel along EDSA, make the u-turn just ahead of Magallanes MRT Station then take a left to Chino Roces Ave. Core is to your right just besides Volvo Philippines Makati Dealership.
    • If you’re coming from Taguig, head southwest on Lawton Ave., then make a right to Chino Roces Ave Ext.

III. Car Emission Testing Centers in Taguig

Sunrise Emission Testing Center

Sunrise Emission Test Center is LTO accredited and has two lanes. Best of all, it is adjacent to the LTO FTI Branch.

A picture of the Sunrise Emission Testing Center

The Sunrise Emission Testing Center [Source: Sunrise Emission Testing Center]

  • Address: FTI Complex Street, Taguig City
  • Contact Numbers: 09185929988
  • How to get to Sunrise Emission Testing Center: If you’re coming from the south, take the E. Service Road. Make a right on Cucumber Road. Go straight then make another left towards FTI Avenue.

Pioneer Emission Testing Center, Co.

Pioneer Emission Testing Center, Co. has one of the largest test centers in Makati. It has a test facility with six lanes. This test center is also accredited by the LTO.

  • Address: Administration Building, FTI Complex Street, Taguig City
  • Contact Numbers: 043 7271202
  • Nearby landmarks: Food Development Center.
  • How to get to Pioneer Emission Testing Center: Same as directions as the center listed above.

IV. Car Emission Testing centers in Quezon City

Alicor Emission Test Center Co, Inc – Novaliches Branch

This is the main branch of Alicor. It has a whopping seven lanes, and it is also LTO accredited.

Front of the Alicor Emission Test Center Novaliches Branch

The Alicor Emission Test Center Novaliches Branch

  • Address: 1129 Quirino Highway, Brgy. Kaligayahan, Novaliches, Quezon City
  • Nearby landmark: Motorad Performance Commonwealth
  • How to get to Alicor Emission Test Center Co, Inc. Novaliches: Head in a southbound direction on Commonwealth Ave. Alicor Novaliches is around 400 meters after the San Benissa Garden Villas gate and around 300 meters before the left turn at Encarnacion Street.

FAQ on Emission Testing Centers

Question: Can a check engine light affect emissions testing?

Answer: A check engine light might be indicative of a larger engine problem. So yes, it might affect your emissions test results.

Question: How do I get a passing emission test with a very old, classic car?

Answer: For special cases like this, inform the emission technician. Just to be sure, change its oil and check its spark plugs beforehand.

Question: Do larger commercial vehicles have a different emissions standard?

Answer: Yes, larger commercial vehicles have a more tolerant emissions standards than passenger cars.

Question: How long is the validity of a car emission test?

Answer: One year. The LTO requires an emission test every time you register it.

Question: Can I take an emission test online?

Answer: You can register for a slot for your favored emission testing center via the internet but your car has to be present for the actual emission test.

For more automotive-related guides, keep reading here on Philkotse.com.

Author

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar learned how to drive a car years before he got his license. Today, he's still looking for that perfect '90s Japanese coupe to drive into the sunset while listening to Crazy Little Love by Nuage. Also has a thing for badass off-road vehicles and weird engine swaps.