Prepare for the NCT


By Jon Harrison


In 2017 according to the National Car Testing Service a whopping 51% of cars failed their exam at the first time of asking. This figure has been static for the last number of years with 8.7% of cars still failing when going for the re-test. While some may be tempted skip the test you run the risk of getting three to five penalty points as well as a fine up to €90 if your car does not have a valid cert.

In order to help you, here we have the some of the most common NCT failures as well as a few of our top tips and products to help you through the National Car Test.

The 5 most Common Failures

1. Tyre tread depth below 1.6mm

2. Suspension damage or imbalance

3. Missing or broken lamps

4. Brake issues

5. Headlamp aim/alignment

Brake Cleaner In Use

Top Tips to Pass the NCT

1. Bring the correct Documentation

This may sound simple but it’s important. You will need to bring the following on the day to the NCT centre so make sure you have them handy:

• Drivers Licence or Passport

• Vehicle Registration Certificate

• Valid NCT cert if applicable

• Proof of address for the car owner (no older than 6 months)

2. If you do fail, get the re-rest within 30 days

Nobody wants their car to fail, however sometimes it happens and it’s not the end of the world. Some retests are free and others are €28 depending on what needs to be done. Ask the mechanic on site & they will be able to let you know on the day what’s needed. Wait until after the 30 days and your car will have to go through the full test again. Another €55 that could potentially be avoided.

3. Check your plates

Take a quick moment and check your number plates before your NCT. If the registration is not clearly visible, the plate is falling off or missing all of these are reasons to fail an NCT. Check out our range of number plate holders and fixtures and get this problem fixed in a jiffy.

4. Clean out the car and check seat belts

Like most of the points this is only something that takes a few minutes and can really make a difference when going through the test. By ensuring that things like lights and mirrors are clean you remove the risk of dirt skewing test results that could end in failure. Also, it is good practise to empty the boot and remove child seats (if these are in the car the tester will check to make sure they are correctly installed and if not the car will fail). While cleaning the car have a look and make sure that all seatbelts are in good condition and visible.

5. Check those tyres

Firstly, if there are hubcaps on the car, remove them before the test. The mechanics at the testing centre have to check wheel nuts and the surrounding area. Tyres are one of the biggest reason for failures when it comes to the NCT so making sure that your tyre depth is above the 1.6mm limit is extremely important. Other things to keep an eye out for include ensuring all tyres are the same size and type.

While this could mean changing the tyres in some cases - as long as they are inflated to manufacturer specification, above the minimum depth, not visibly damaged and are the same then you should be fine.

6. Shining Lights

Such a simple fix so make sure that you check your lights before the NCT as a blown bulb is an automatic failure. Turn on the car and check all the lights around the car:

• Indicators

• Brake lights

• Dipped and dimmed headlights

• Parking lights

• Fog lights

We have a full range of light bulbs available on our Online Store so give the car a check and order what you need for delivery or collection. While you are checking the lights, make sure to check light covers for moisture inside or cracked lens’ as these might need to be changed to ensure passing the NCT.

7. Oil and other fluids

Open the bonnet and follow the labels, most cars will have all the fluids the car requires clearly labelled so make sure the oil, coolant, brake fluid and windscreen wash are all fully topped up.

We hope this helps. You can always print out a checklist directly from the NCTS to give your car the once over before your test. Don’t forget whatever you need can be purchased at your local Wurth Trade Store or our Online Shop