Essential NCT Checklist

How to Prepare for Your NCT

The National Car Test (NCT) was introduced in Ireland to ensure that all vehicles on Ireland’s roads are in sound working order. It’s your legal duty as a driver to make sure your vehicle remains in a roadworthy condition and is in full compliance with the provisions set out in the Road Traffic Regulations at all times.The NCT in Ireland is run by the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) and there are 47 centres located throughout the country, so you should be able to find one near you. All cars over four years old are required to undergo an NCT. Vehicles aged between four and nine years must have these tests once every two years, while from 10 years the tests are required annually. Only cars registered before 1st January 1980 are exempt from needing to get an NCT.

1. How to book an NCT

When your car is due for an NCT test, you must contact the NCTS to arrange an appointment. You can do this online or by calling the NCT number on 01 413 5992. You will need to have your debit or credit card details to hand for NCT booking, as well as your vehicle registration number.

2. What the testers check in your NCT

Various parts of your car will be examined during the NCT, including the brakes, lights, exhaust emissions, steering and suspension, wheels and tyres, electrical systems, chassis and underbody, transmission, glass and mirrors, fuel system, and interiors.

3. How to get your car ready for the NCT

Clean it

It’s important to make sure that your vehicle is at least reasonably clean. This is especially important under the body of the car. Pay attention to your windows, lights, mirrors and registration plates too, making sure they are clean and undamaged. Remove all of your personal belongings and valuables from the car and boot.

Check the lights

Take a look at your high beam and dipped headlights, indicators, front and rear parking lights, brake lights, fog lights and rear number plate lights. It helps if you get a friend or relative to stand outside your car and watch while you switch these lights on and off to make sure they are working properly. If you discover that a bulb has blown, visit your local garage to get it fixed before your test.

Check for warning lights

If any warning lights appear on your dashboard when you turn your engine on, take your car to a garage to get it checked out. If you notice any other problems while driving, like your steering pulling to one side or a knocking noise coming from your suspension, get your vehicle looked at before the NCT. This could save you the cost of a retest and the inconvenience of having to go back to the test centre.

Inspect your tyres

Tyres are a common cause of NCT failure. Ahead of your test, make sure the tyres on your vehicle are all the correct size, undamaged, have at least the legal minimum tread depth (1.6mm all the way around) and are inflated to the correct pressure.

Minor Final Checks

If your wheel nuts are obscured by hubcaps, remove your hubcaps before the test. Check your windscreen wipers and if necessary replace the blades. Ensure all fluids are topped up properly, including engine coolant, oil, windscreen wash, power steering fluid and brake fluid. Finally, it’s a good idea to give your car a good run before arriving at the centre to ensure the engine is up to normal operating temperature

Arrive early at the NCT Centre

It’s advisable to arrive at least 15 minutes before your allocated booking time, so give yourself plenty of time to get to the NCT centre.The NCT has put together a handy checklist to help you make sure you are prepared for the test. 

What you need for your NCT

You will need to provide your vehicle registration book, licensing certificate or registration certificate, and ID in the form of a public services card or driving licence. Failure to provide a suitable form of ID will mean your car won’t be issued with an NCT certificate at the time of the test.

How much does the NCT cost?

The full test (including VAT) costs €55, and a retest that requires test equipment to be used will cost €28. Retests that don’t require the use of test equipment are free. For example, if you have to return for a visual inspection of your car to see if faulty windscreen wiper blades have been replaced, you won’t be charged for this. However, these fees may be subject to change, so visit the NCTS website to check if you’re unsure.

What to do if your car fails?

If you have a Minor Fail Result in your NCT this means you have passed your test but minor faults have been noted. You are required to have these faults fixed and you will then have to present your vehicle for reinspection before you are issued with an NCT certificate.

If you get a Major Result (previously referred to as a Fail Refusal), you will have 30 days in which to have the relevant faults repaired and return for an NCT retest. If your car isn’t presented within this time period, you will have to have a new test carried out from scratch.

A Dangerous Result means that a serious defect has been identified with your car that represents an immediate or direct risk to road safety. The testers will place a sticker on your car stating that it has been deemed dangerous and your vehicle shouldn’t be used on the road under any circumstances. If you are caught driving a car with a dangerous defect, you could incur penalty points on your licence and may end up in court. 

Your vehicle must be repaired, retested and passed, before you will receive an NCT certificate. If your vehicle passes, you’ll be given a certificate confirming that it’s roadworthy. This certificate will specify the expiry date, indicating when your next NCT is due.

Here at Acorn Insurance, motor safety is priority and with a valid NCT certificate, you can enjoy good value car insurance. Call Acorn Insurance on 0818 800 222 or Request a Callback and we’ll find the best value car insurance for you.

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That’s it in a nutshell!

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