In Ireland, the NCT is a critical and legally-required component of getting your car on the road. While this test is rather straightforward, many people experience anxiety leading up to their scheduled date.

There are countless questions that surround this often maligned test. We’re going to tackle those questions one by one to ensure that you arrive at the exam with everything you need.

You’ll consider yourself an expert by the end of this piece. Let’s see what everyone should bring to their NCT test.

What is the NCT exactly?

First things first, let’s explain what the NCT test actually is. NCT stands for National Car Test and is a requirement laid out by the Irish government for anyone who wants to legally drive a vehicle on public roads. Ever since 2000, people have been required to undergo this car examination to ensure that their vehicle is safe to drive.

The primary goals behind the program are to minimize harmful emissions and to boost road safety. This law is only applied to vehicles that have been released publicly for four years or more. There are 47 test centers available throughout Ireland where vehicle owners have to receive a test every two years. If their vehicle is older than 10 years, however, they’re required to receive this test each year.

How much is NCT?

Even though this is a compulsory test, it does cost drivers €55 for each test. Pre NCT, it’s important to make sure your car is in good condition and up-to-date with the prescribed standards. Anyone who fails the test has 21 days to take another one. After the failed exam, drivers are given NCT documents outlining everything wrong with the vehicle. You won’t be charged again during the second inspection if no mechanics are required.

However, you’ll have to pay another NCT cost of €28 if a visual inspection doesn’t suffice the second time around. It’s helpful to keep in mind that the only parts inspected in the NCT visual retest are those that failed in the original assessment. Your vehicle isn’t going to receive a full check again.

What needs to be done when a test is failed?

Don’t worry if you fail your initial NCT test. Stay calm and look over the documents explaining why your vehicle didn’t pass. This is essentially a cheat-sheet that guarantees your good results on the second assessment as long as you follow the directions clearly. Find a good mechanic, and bring your documents along.

They’ll be able to fix any problems that caused your vehicle a failing grade on the last test. Be sure to only book a second test after knowing when your car’s modifications will be completed. You don’t want to end up missing your second appointment because your vehicle is still in the shops.

The Ultimate NCT Checklist

For a full checklist see this

1. Sufficient Water and Oil Levels

Be sure to check your vehicle’s oil and water levels prior to the test. These tests are easy to do by yourself. You could even learn to replace these fluids with only a little bit of research. They might seem like small components, but they’re essential to passing the test.

2. Clean Up Your Car

The professional offering the inspection will need access to many parts of your car. If you’ve left trash and junk all over the inside of your car, these inspectors might outright refuse to offer the service. It’s important to clean up your car on the inside and outside before this exam to make it easier for the inspector.

3. Perfect the Tires

Don’t forget to take a look at your vehicle’s tires. Put the right amount of air pressure in each, and make sure the wheel nuts can be seen. You might have to take off the nut covers or hubcaps to accomplish this. Getting your tires rotated and aligned at a shop can make it easier to pass the test.

4. Test the Lights

You never want to give up a passing grade for something avoidable like a bad light bulb. Make sure to give your vehicle’s lights a quick once-over to make sure they’re working and bright. Light alignment is an important consideration as well. If there’s nobody to help you check these lights, some service stations offer mirrors that would work.

5. Take the Right Documents

Just like any official government test, you’re required to bring certain documentation to your NCT test. If you don’t have this proper paperwork, you won’t receive the certification even if your car is in perfect condition. Be sure to take your license, logbook, and booking confirmation for the test.

6. Registration Plates

Obviously, your vehicle will need to have valid and up-to-date registration plates in order to be considered for the NCT test. However, you might not know that it’s important to have these plates sparkingly clean for the assessment. Also, doublecheck to make sure they’re tightly secured to the vehicle.

Tighten the screws or even consider replacing them if they’re too old. You’ll also want to make sure that the lights around your registration plates are all working. This will make sure the inspector doesn’t make you fail the test for small reasons.

7. Operating Temperature

You don’t want to take an overheating vehicle in for an inspection. Not only does this ensure you’ll risk failing the assessment, but it could also be a sign that something is really wrong with the vehicle.

8. Working Horn

It might seem trivial, but NCT tests want to see that your horn is working correctly.

9. Locking System

It’s for your own safety, but it’s another important part of the NCT inspection.

10. Miscellaneous Parts

NCT inspections are thorough, so you should be sure to take a look at smaller, more miscellaneous parts of your vehicle. Everything from wipers and washers to wing-mirrors and exhausts should be secure, in working condition, and clean.

What to Bring to the NCT Test?

  1. Driver’s license
  2. Proof of ownership
  3. Mechanical records
  4. Insurance paperwork
  5. Car’s selling history
  6. Booking confirmation

Why you should see a professional?

All of the above mentioned tips can be achieved without the help of a professional. While these aspects are important, there are countless more preparations that should be considered in order to pass your NCT test. It’s a good idea to visit a professional mechanic to get your breaks, emissions, and suspension checked.

If you conduct all of these inspections and see a professional but still fail your first test, don’t feel bad. You’re not alone as nearly half of vehicles have failed the first assessment from January to August of 2019. On the bright side, around 92% passed the second test. Furthermore, you don’t have to pay extra on the second assessment as long as no mechanics are required.

Don’t forget about the importance of car insurance when driving in Ireland. It’s not only an important part of securing your safety, but it’s also required by law. If you’re on the lookout for some competitive prices, feel free to contact us for a free online quote. We compare current premiums against the market’s best offers to find the best deals available.