Car-NCT

How to Prepare for the NCT

by Melanie May | 3 min read

April 6th, 2021

Vehicles registered after 1980 must have a National Car Test (NCT). Being compulsory, it's just one of those unavoidable things that almost every car — and owner — must face.

If you drive a car without a valid NCT certificate, and the Gardaí stop you, they could issue you with a fine of up to €2000, and/or up to 5 penalty points and/or imprisonment for up to 3 months.

Normally, if you don’t have a valid NCT, your insurance is not covered if you are in an accident and need to claim. However, due to Covid 19 the NCT centres are currently experiencing large delays and customers may have to wait longer than usual for appointments. Allianz cover will continue to be provided in the event you are not able to attain your NCT during this time. See more here.

One of the most daunting things about the test for most car owners is the high failure rate. Roughly half of the cars that undergo the NCT fail the initial test.

But don’t worry. There are lots of things you can do to avoid the dreaded ‘fail’ certificate. You just need to prepare for your NCT ahead of time.

Book on time

Give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your NCT by booking your appointment before your NCT certificate expires and becomes invalid.

There is a handy website for checking when a car is due its NCT. Just enter the car’s registration into the box. Check your NCT due date here.

Cars younger than four years old do not need an NCT. The NCT for cars aged four to nine years old is every second year. Cars ten years and older need a test every year.

You can test your car up to 90 days before the due date. This won't affect the next certificate’s expiry date.

NCT pre-checks

The NCT inspects over 62 items but many of these you can check yourself before going to the test centre. We’ve put together an essential NCT Checklist, which could save you time and money!

If any of these items aren’t in tip-top condition or working as they should, give them some TLC.

What Documents Do I need?

You will need to bring your driving licence with you to present at the test centre, as failure to do so will result in the vehicle not being issued an NCT certificate at the time of testing.

You will also need your vehicle registration book, registration certificate or licensing certificate. If you are bringing your car for a re-test, it is a good idea to bring the Vehicle Inspection Report with you, so they know what they are re-testing your car for.

How Much Does an NCT Cost?

The NCT fee for a full test is €55 Euro and a re-test costs €28 Euro. Re-tests, which do not require the use of test equipment will be free (for example, replacement of windscreen wiper and registration plates.)

The test fee is only taken off your credit/debit card once the vehicle is checked in at the test centre.

If your car fails the NCT the first time around, don't worry. On average, over 90% of cars pass the re-test. However, doing some of these simple NCT pre-checks could help you pass the first time round!

About the author

bio image for Melanie May
Melanie May

Journalist @thejournal_ie & @CompleteCar | Social Media & Digital Marketing Manager | Travel Blogger | Food Writer & Judge