Pre-NCT check and tips

The National Car Test (NCT) was introduced in 2000 as an EU initiative. It has since become an essential requirement for drivers in Ireland. The NCT (National Car Test) is essential for legally operating your vehicle on Irish roads. It is designed to ensure vehicle safety, roadworthiness, and reduced emissions.

While the test can be nerve-racking, a bit of preparation and attention to detail can boost your chances of success. Here, we will provide some top tips and facts to help road users pass the NCT with flying colours.

NCT facts:

  • For cars that are less than 10 years old, the NCT of a car needs to be renewed every 2 years..
  • For vehicles that are over 10 years old, it is necessary to have an NCT test performed annually..
  • The NCT backlog will be reduced by half. The average waiting period for a test is expected to decrease from 23 days to 12 days. This should be achieved by the end of June.
  • The NCT costs €55.

1. Understand the Test:

Start by familiarising yourself with the NCT test requirements and guidelines. Visit the official NCT website here: and go through the test criteria specific to your car. Understanding the areas of inspection will allow you to focus on any necessary repairs or maintenance before the test.

2. Check Fluids:

Much like us, your car also needs fluids to keep it running smoothly. Make sure all the fluids are filled up, including engine oil, windscreen wash, engine coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. The car bonnet houses these components and the car's manual provides instructions for replenishing them.

3. Check Lights and Signals:

Faulty lights and signals are common reasons for NCT failures. Inspect and replace any faulty bulbs, ensuring your headlights, indicators, brake lights, and taillights are all functioning correctly. Clean the lenses for better visibility and always carry spare bulbs for emergencies.

4. Brakes and Suspension:

Ensure that your brake pedals are working effectively. Replace worn brake pads and address any unusual noises or vibrations. Additionally, have your suspension system inspected and repaired if necessary. Proper suspension ensures stability and safety on the road.

5. Tyre Care:

Inspect your tyres for adequate tread depth, wear patterns, and inflation levels. Bald or unevenly worn tyres can result in an NCT failure and a bumpy ride for you! Maintain the recommended tire pressure and consider rotating your tires regularly to ensure even wear. Replace tires that show signs of damage or aging.

6. Safety Equipment:

Make sure your vehicle is equipped with essential safety features such as seat belts, airbags, and functional windshield wipers. Ensure that the seat belts retract without any hindrance and are properly secured when engaged.

7. Cleanliness and Presentation:

Present your vehicle in a clean and tidy condition. Ensure that your windows, mirrors, and lights are clean and free from any obstruction. Pay attention to the interior as well, removing any personal belongings and ensuring proper functionality of controls and displays.

8. Pre-NCT Inspection:

To avoid a NCT retest, consider a pre-NCT inspection from a qualified mechanic. They can identify potential issues and provide guidance on necessary repairs before the actual test. This proactive step can save you time, stress, and potential retesting fees.

Take advantage of this offer today! Book your car’s health check here: Pre-NCT check

9. Arrive Prepared:

Double check your test due date. On the day of your NCT, arrive early and fully prepared. Bring all necessary documents, including your driver's license, vehicle registration, and insurance papers. Double-check that your vehicle's fuel tank is adequately filled, and any last minute cleaning has been done.

Finally, the best of luck with you NCT!