First, if you have to ask that question, the shame is real. Second, you had better change it at the soonest possible time. More than just a sticker denoting the last time you handed over money to the Land Transportation Office (LTO), your vehicle registration is the only way that the government can keep track of your official records, so it would only make sense for the agency to provide the proper punishment for non-registration—and what a punishment.
Driving an unregistered motor vehicle carries with it a fine of P10,000. Worse still, if the non-registration exceeded one month, the vehicle will be impounded and released only once the vehicle has been registered and the corresponding fines and penalties have been paid. Ouch.
So, to answer your question, if you haven’t registered your car in three years and you’re caught on the road, you will lose your car, have to pay the P10,000 fine, and the additional penalties to register your vehicle.
What are the corresponding penalities?
But how much are these penalties exactly? All vehicles need to be registered on their assigned week (based on your plate number’s last two digits), and if you miss this crucial period, prepare yourself for more LTO late registration expenses.
An example is a plate ending in 12 will need to be registered in February (based on the last digit, 2) from the first to the seventh working day (based on the second to the last digit, 1). If you go beyond this seven-working-day period, a penalty of P100 for motorcycles or P200 for all other vehicles will be charged.
If, however, you go beyond the registration month, but not more than 12 months beyond (based on the last digit), you will be charged an additional penalty equivalent to 50% of the Motor Vehicle User’s Charge (MVUC) for your vehicle class.
As an example, a light passenger vehicle (with gross vehicle weight of up to 1,600kg) has an MVUC charge of P1,600, so 50% of this would be an additional fine of P800 on top of your renewal fees.
What if your car hasn’t been registered for more than a year?
If you exceed 12 months (which you did, if you haven’t registered in three years), the answer is a bit more complicated. The government will look to see if you have had any apprehensions for violations of any land transportation laws during the period of non-registration.
If you were fortunate enough not to have violated any laws, you will be charged 50% of the MVUC plus the cost of renewing your registration (once). If, however, you were apprehended for a violation while your vehicle was not registered, you will be charged 50% of the MVUC plus the cost of renewing your registration for every year that you did not register your vehicle (which would be the equivalent of three registrations).
So, there you have it. It seems complicated (because it is), but the lesson here is that registering your vehicle every year is about a half-day affair that can save you a ton of money and headaches. So just do it when you need to and get it over with. Dura lex, sed lex, guys.
For more information and for a breakdown of when exactly you need to register your vehicle, take it straight from the horse’s mouth at the LTO website.