What You Need to Know about the NCT

There has been a lot of attention on the NCT in the last few weeks following the Primetime investigation “Testing the Limits” which showed a vehicle may pass the NCT in Ireland even though it is defective. Particular attention was paid to shock absorbers following the death of a 26 year old in a car accident 2012, 7 months after her car had passed the NCT. After the accident the shock absorbers were found to be leaking oil, something that wasn’t picked up on the check earlier that year. We take a look at what the NCT in Ireland is and is not useful for when it comes to maintenance of your car and how it has changed a lot over the years.

What's New? AIG Position Regarding National Car Test Service Issues

AIG understands the difficulty faced by motorists in light of the recent National Car Testing Issue and we hope to manage this incident with minimal affect to our customers.

We would urge our customers to continue to book and attend their appointments as normal and participate in the test performed by the NCTS. In the interim, the vehicle inspection report issued by the NCTS will be an acceptable alternative to the certificate until the vehicle testing is complete at a later date.    

We would like to assure our customers that their Insurance cover will remain in place as long as they have followed the guidelines issued by the NCTS and maintain their vehicle in a roadworthy condition.

What is the NCT?

The NCT is a compulsory vehicle inspection that was introduced in Ireland in 2000 as part of an EU directive. Its purpose is to:

  • Improve road safety
  • Reduce harmful emissions

Over the years changes have been made to the NCT including:

✔ Definitions on the clarity of windows

✔ Quality of tyres

✔ Limits on exhaust noise

Since 2011 vehicles over 10 years old have to be tested every year. The change that had the greatest impact on the NCT in Ireland happened in 2014. From December of that year penalty points could be issued by the Gardai at the roadside. This resulted in a huge increase in NCT bookings. Many centres were overwhelmed and waiting lists grew quickly. To improve the situation extra NCT Inspectors were recruited and opening hours extended but it is still a good idea to book your NCT well in advance.

What the NCT is not

The NCT is not a replacement for a full service of your vehicle. It is a 20 minute check that shows your car meets a minimum legal requirement at the particular time. The NCT does not guarantee your vehicle will continue to meet this standard in the days, weeks and months that follow. What will ensure the safety of your vehicle is a thorough check on a regular basis by a reputable mechanic.

NCT Booking

As the demand for NCT bookings has increased so has the need to book your appointment in advance. Particularly if you want a weekend, early morning or evening appointment. Thankfully the NCT keep a number of slots free for last minute bookings and NCT retests. If you need an appointment at short notice give them a call on 01 4135992.

Otherwise for the best choice book 3 months in advance of your NCT disk expiring. Another trick is to book your NCT when paying your motor tax, there’s a handy reminder on Motor Tax Online.

NCT Checklist

NCT due? Wondering what you need to do to prepare? Don’t worry, we’ll cover the basics with this handy NCT checklist:

□ Checking oil and water are at the right levels

□ Emptying the boot and back seat of all belongings including baby seats

□ Ensure the vehicle is reasonably clean

□ Taking off the hubcaps

□ Checking tire pressure is correct

□ Ensure seat belts are visible and working

□ Ensure your registration plates are in line with regulation (i.e. nothing fancy!)

□ If you drive a diesel have the fan belt replaced in line with manufacturers recommendations

□ Check your headlights are all working


If you need more detail take a look at the National Car Test Manual.


Hopefully your vehicle sails through the NCT. Just remember when your insurance needs to be renewed remember to contact us we have some of the most competitive rates on the market.


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