Changing the engine through “modification,” contrary to popular belief, is not prohibited, as long as it meets the standards of approved parameters. That means that modification of the engine or its basic components are allowed so long as it does not change the vehicle classification. Changing the engine in a way that affects its performance, so long as it does not compromise the road safety in any way, is not prohibited by the rules and regulations of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Changing the engine of a vehicle, while not prohibited, still requires a Certificate of Road Safety from the manufacturer before it can be allowed. It is, however, subject to inspection by the LTO for possible reclassification. Aside from this, changing engines is allowed upon application for a permit to do so.
LTO Vehicle Modifications: Change Engine
There are different types of car or vehicle modifications. However, for our purposes, we are only discussing the changes in engine for private and for-hire motor vehicles in the country. Just like other types of changes in motor vehicles though, a change in the engine of a motor vehicle inherently changes the factory original, effectively customizing it to your needs and preferences.
Changing a car engine is one of the more difficult modifications you can ever engage in. It requires different approaches depending on whether the engine is new, rebuilt, or taken out of donor cars. Though the process of engine swap may vary depending on the make and model, most of the processes are fairly universal, so it is possible to check for a guideline of the procedures required.
Benefits of Changing the Engine of a Motor Vehicle
Being able to change your vehicle’s engine at will means enjoying the following benefits:
- You may upgrade your vehicle into one that suits your speed and performance preferences.
- A change in vehicle engine may give the car a better resale value.
- Depending on the type of engine source you choose, you may be able to enjoy a longer vehicle lifespan.
- You may be able to get a safer car, especially when swapping with a new motor as they usually have better performance.
- It gives you freedom to decide how you want your car to perform.
- You can save more money as engine swapping is cheaper than buying a new car.
Eligibility to Change the Engine of a Motor Vehicle
Just like when making any other type of modifications, changing the engine of a motor vehicle is allowed to anyone who owns a registered motor vehicle and who intends to swap engines for whatever reason. These changes are allowed by LTO, provided that those who are requesting for such change can present all the requirements and have the ability to pay all the relevant LTO fees.
LTO Requirements for Engine Swapping
Car modifications resulting in changes in the car engine may be allowed, but it has to be declared and permitted by the LTO. As such, engine swapping requires the car owners to inform the relevant authorities of the changes. When you are applying to change the engine of your motor vehicle, you need to be ready with the following list of documents.
The basic requirements include the following:
- Original and photocopy of Certificate of Registration (CR) / Certificate of Registration – Encumbered (CRE) with conformity of the financing company interposing no objection as to the change of color
- Original Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) Motor Vehicle Clearance Certificate
- Macro-etching report
- Special Bank Receipt (except for Motorcycle with sidecar)
- LTO Copy or electronically transmitted appropriate insurance Certificate of Cover (COC) / Endorsement of insurance
- Duly accomplished original Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
The need for additional documents may vary depending on the type of change the car owner wishes to apply for. For changes in the car body design, here’s a list of the additional requirements
- If For-Hire, LTFRB electronic confirmation
- Original and one (1) photocopy of Certificate of Stock Reported (CSR) and Sales Invoice
- Original Deed of Sale/Deed of Donation of engine if sourced from previously registered motor vehicles acquired from different persons or entities
- Original Joint Affidavit of Change Engine by owner
- Latest original Official Receipt (OR) of Motor Vehicle User Charge (MVUC) and other LTO fees payment
- Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN)
How to File Application for Change Engine of Motor Vehicles
Changing your vehicle engine is a simple LTO process. Like other LTO transactions, it requires submission of the documentary requirements mentioned above.
Here’s the step-by-step procedure on how to apply for a swap engine of your vehicle:
Step 1: Visit the LTO Office closest to you.
Step 2: Secure a queue number at the LTO officer-in-charge and wait for your turn.
Step 3: Once your number is called, proceed to the transaction counters.
Step 4: Submit all the required documents to the Evaluator for evaluation and computation of fees.
Step 5: Once the evaluation is completed, get the actual inspection of motor vehicles with duly accomplished Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR) done.
Step 6: Once the MVIR is ready, proceed to the queue for the cashier window and wait for your turn.
Step 7: Once your name is called, pay for the necessary fees and secure an Official Receipt (OR).
Step 8: Once done, proceed to the Releasing Counter.
Step 9: Present the OR to get the new Certificate of Registration (CR), plates, stickers, and other requested documents.
Step 10: Once you have received the CR and other relevant documents, signs in the CR log book.
Where to File Application for Change Engine
Filing for a change in color for your motor vehicle can be done in any LTO Office, district, or extension offices, whichever is more convenient.
Fees for LTO Engine Swap Transactions
The procedures for engine swap for motor vehicles in LTO will require applicants to pay the following:
- A total of one hundred pesos (P100.00) for the color change fee.
- Other LTO fees (MVUC, etc.)
For your reference, here are some things you need to remember when applying for a change in color:
- Note that all types of changes are subject to inspection as it needs to be checked for safety and to ensure that the change will not cause harm to yourself and to others.
- That said, the procedure always comes with other fees.
- Changing the engine of a motor vehicle is an optional procedure.
- It can be done at any of the LTO offices in the Philippines.
- Engine swapping is only possible if it is compatible with your vehicle in terms of the following:
- Fuel choice (gas, diesel, electricity)
- Cylinder layouts (straight, in-line, V, flat)
- Cylinder configurations (twin cylinder, three cylinder, four cylinder)
Video: Guide on the Requirements for Changing Engines in LTO
You can learn more about the procedures on how to change engines in LTO by watching this video from Mivec Man Challenge.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To help make your application for change in vehicle body design as painless as possible, we rounded up the most common questions and answers related to it.
1. Can I apply for the change in engine from any LTO branch office?
Yes. You may swap engines and have it registered at any LTO branch, provided that they offer the service.
2. Is there a difference when filing for applications for change of engine between private and for hire vehicles?
Yes. There are differences in documentary requirements, but the procedures remain the same. The restrictions remain the same as well, in the sense that it is allowed so long as it doesn’t cause change in vehicle classification.
3. How much does it cost to get an engine swap done in the Philippines?
The price may vary depending on the type of engine—be it brand new, used, or donated from an old car—you require. There are other factors, including engine type, power, condition, fuel, and transmission that may cause a difference in the price for swapping engines.
4. Is LTO imposing a fee for changing the engine of my car?
Yes. The LTO collects a P100.00 charge for changing the engine of your car.
Engine swapping may not seem like a common practice, but if you are looking for cheaper alternatives to buying a car while looking to extend the lifespan of your car, then engine swapping is the best way to do so. Good thing, changing car engines is allowed by the LTO, and at a minimal price too. However, do note that there might be other LTO fees and a hefty price for the engine swap to worry about.