How to pass your NCT first time around

The NCT is important. Introduced in 2000, the test demands that all of our cars are in good working condition, ensuring the safety of road users right across the country.

However, roughly half of the cars that take the NCT fail. A re-test will cost you time and money, so here’s some handy advice to help you pass first time around.

1. Book well in advance
A backlog of applications in the aftermath COVID-related lockdowns means that the waiting list for an NCT appointment is now more than eight times higher than it was prior to the pandemic. The average lead-time to an appointment is now 20 days.

2. Know when it’s your time
If your car is over three years old it must have a valid NCT certificate. Cars 4-10 years old must be tested every two years; anything older must be tested annually. Check your certificate to see when it expires. Tests can be booked from 90 days before the expiration of your current certificate.

3. If you have to cancel, don’t leave it late
Cancelling within five days of your test will result in a €22 surcharge on your next test.

4. Clean everything
And we mean everything. You should ensure that all items due for inspection are perfectly clean and undamaged. This includes the windows, mirrors, registration plates and lights. It’s also important to brush the underside of the car or get someone else to do it for you. Remove any clutter that may obstruct the examiner on the day.

5. Top up your fluids
Check under your bonnet for oil, engine coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and windscreen wash and top them up if necessary.

6. Seat belts
Seat belts should be in good condition. Any damage may result in failure.

7. Check your plates
Number plates must be secure, the registration must be clearly visible, and numbers and letters must be the correct size and colour.

8. Lights
Start the car and check your indicators, parking lights, fog lights, the light over the number plate, brake lights and the headlights. If any of your lights are blown that’s an instant failure. Headlamp alignment is one of the main reasons for NCT failure so it’s wise to check this out beforehand. If you’re unsure about doing this yourself, consider getting a mechanic to a do it for you.

9. Check your suspension
Faulty suspension is the number one cause of NCT failure. If you have any doubts about your suspension, get your mechanic to take a look.

10. Are your tyres okay?
If your wheel nuts aren’t visible, remove the hubcaps prior to taking the test. Inspect your tyres to make sure they’re not too worn down. Have them checked by a professional if you can’t tell for certain yourself. It may be necessary to get them replaced.

11. Paperwork
Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork and identification. The NCTS will not inspect your car if you don’t bring your vehicle registration book, registration certificate or licensing certificate and your driving licence.

Follow this advice and you’ll be well on your way to passing your NCT with flying colours. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

All the best,

The Team at