According to the official figures produces by the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) 58 per cent of vehicles failed their NCT in 2018, but then 91.8 per cent of those who failed went on to pass the NCT retest. In a lot of cases this could be avoided by carefully checking the car before bringing it for the test. When you think about the cost involved – €55 for the full test and €28 for the NCT retest – it can end up quite expensive to have them point out something you could have avoided before the initial test. Even the least mechanically minded motorist can do most the basic things that can make a car fail the test. We would also recommend having a mechanic look over your car too, as they may spot work that you do not notice and that would have to be done afterwards in any case.
At Coverinaclick.ie we have decided to put together a short list of tips that will help you to prepare for your NCT. Please note that these alone will not make your car pass. There may be other mechanical issues that a mechanic will need to sort out.
1 – Clean Your Car Inside And Out
It is always a good idea to have a clean car going into the NCT. This will show the tester that you try to look after your car, and fix any problems as they arise. Ensure that the lights, windows, mirrors and registration plates in particular are clear and undamaged. If possible clean the underneath of the car too. This shows extra care for your vehicle and it will be easier for the tester to see that your car is in good working order.
2 – Remove Unnecessary Belongings
You should ensure that the boot and car are empty of all personal belongings. They’ll only get in the way of the tester. That applies to things like ‘furry dice’ hanging from the interior mirror, car mats, and even child seats. If you leave a child seat fitted then the tester is required to check that they are correctly fitted and attached. If it is not, your car could fail the test.
3 – Check Your Lights
While it may take a trip to a garage to ensure your headlamps are aligned properly, there’s no excuse for turning up for an NCT with a blown bulb. Although it’s a simple fix, it is an instant failure if you turn up with a blown bulb. With the car running, check all indicator bulbs, dipped and high beam headlights, parking lights front and rear, lighting of the rear number plate, fog lights and even brake lights. You can ask a friend to help with this or check them in the reflection of a window. If you don’t know how to change a bulb, don’t worry. Your local motor factors will be able to help here. They will be able to help you get the correct bulb and in most cases, if you ask for help, they will help you change the bulb without charging.
4 – Top Up Fluids
It is important to check that all the fluids are topped up properly. This includes the oil, engine coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid and windscreen wash. Most of these are clearly labelled under the bonnet and easy to top up. If they are not topped up enough it can spell instant failure. These are very easy to look at and fix by yourself and only take a few minutes to do.
5 – Don’t Ignore Warning Signs
With the engine running, check if there are any warning lights illuminated in the dashboard. If there are, bring the car to a mechanic to address the issue, as it’s likely to lead to a test failure. Likewise, if there’s been a knocking or clicking noise from the suspension or steering or pulling to one side get this checked before going for the NCT, as it will be picked up and could end up costing you the NCT retest fee, plus the inconvenience of going back to the test centre again. Issues with the front suspension have been one of the main failure points over the last few years.
6 – Inspect Your Tyres
It’s important that your tyres are in good condition, not just for the NCT but for your general road safety. Despite this, tyre condition is always one of the most common reasons a car fails. There are some simple things you can address yourself: Find out the pressure your tyres should be inflated to (usually there’s a plaque showing that on the inside of the driver’s door frame) and check that they’re within specification. Make sure that the same size tyres are found across the front and back (they may differ from front to back). Visually inspect all tyres for any damage or bulging and replace the tyres if you find any problems. Finally, measure the tread depth. The legal requirement is 1.6mm depth across the middle three quarters of the tyre all the way around.
7 – Final Car Checks
The NCTS demand that the wheel nuts are visible, so remove hubcaps before bringing your car for test if applicable. Have a look at the state of your wipers and replace the blades if necessary. Give the car a good run before hand as well so the engine is up to operating temperature. Arrive in plenty of time for your test.
8 – The paperwork
It’s highly important that you bring the car’s documentation with you, whether that is the vehicle registration book, registration certificate or licensing certificate. Also, if you have chosen not to pay online, bring a means to pay. As mentioned above, the fee currently stands at €55 and NCT centres accept cash, debit cards and most credit cards.
Since the introduction of new regulations back in 2014, owners now get the mileage of their car – and up to three previous recordings – printed on their NCT certificate.
This is part of an attempt to prevent the practice of ‘clocking’ where mileage is turned back by unscrupulous sellers to enhance the value of the car. Owners will have to verify that the mileage shown at the time of their test is correct.
Finally, and this is just as important as any of the above, bring personal identification. The NCT certificate will not be issued unless the person presenting the car for test has identification. A passport or driving licence is required and note that it’s the person that’s presenting the car that must show their ID, regardless of whether they are the registered owner of the vehicle.
Coverinaclick.ie is specialist car insurance brokers for young drivers. We work with new, young and provisional drivers every day. Once your car passes the NCT the next thing to have is Tax and Insurance. When it’s time to get insurance for your new car, call us on 01 231 9310 or fill out our quote request form to get started with your quote and one of our dedicated young driver specialists will get the insurance product that suits you, at the best available price.