The National Car Test (NCT) was introduced in 2000 in line with new European regulations put in place to ensure the roadworthiness of all cars on European roadways. All cars that are four years old or more must undergo the NCT once every two years, while cars that are ten years old or more must be tested annually.
How Can You Prepare?
So what can you do to prepare for your NCT? The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) gives the following advice. Check oil and water levels to ensure that they are adequate and check that tyres are properly inflated. All belts should be clearly visible and your car’s interior and boot should be cleared of personal belongings prior to going to the test centre. The car itself should be reasonably clean, particularly the underbody. The NCTS do recommend that you have a professional check your lights before the test as headlight alignment and condition is a common reason for failure. If you do choose to do a pre NCT servicing, ask that they also pay special attention to your exhaust emissions and your brakes as these are two other areas that cause many people to fail.
What the Test Involves
The test itself usually takes no more than an hour and involves a series of about sixty different tests, carried out both by a computer and manually. There are forty-six test centres in Ireland and testing costs €55. Don’t forget to bring identification (driving licence or passport) as it would be a shame to be turned away before they even look at your car!
In Case of Failure
If your car does fail the NCT, a re-test must be booked within 21 days of failing and will cost you €28. You will be given a breakdown of the car’s faults and what needs to be fixed or replaced in order for it to pass. In 2009, between 40-70% of cars passed the NCT, depending on the car’s age, compared to a meagre average of 4% in 2000 when the NCT was first introduced, and most people will pass a re-test if they address the issues underlined by the test centre.
Many people think of the NCT as an inconvenience, but remember that the test serves to keep cars in good condition, drawing attention to any faults or defects, and only dangerous cars are taken off the road. This makes our roads a safer place for drivers, passengers and pedestrians, reducing road deaths and accidents caused by faulty or damaged cars.