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According to the (NCTS) National Car Testing Service, 51% of cars failed the NCT test in the first half of 2015 with almost 9% also failing the re-test. Sometimes minor things such as forgetting to remove the hub caps from the tyres can cause you to fail your NCT test.


We have compiled some tips on how to prepare for the NCT test.


1. Don’t cancel less than 5 working days before the scheduled NCT Test date

If you cancel a confirmed appointment less than 5 working days beforehand or if you don’t show up for the test, a €22.00 surcharge will be added the next time you bring the car for the test and €11.50 will apply to a re-test.


2. Don’t leave it more than 30 days to get the NCT re-test

If your car failed the NCT test and requires a re-test, you must bring the car back for the re-test within 30 days, otherwise the full test has to be repeated and you will be charged the full test charge of €55.00 again.


3. Top up fluids

Check that the oil, engine coolant, steering fluid, brake fluid and windscreen wash are topped up. These are usually clearly labelled under the bonnet and should be easy to top up. Make sure to fill to the recommended levels.


4. Clean your car

Clean your car inside and out. Make sure that the lights, windows, mirrors and registration plates are clean. You should also clean under the body of the car with a brush. 


Make sure the boot is empty and remove any unnecessary belongings from inside the car that may get in the way of the tester. If child seats are left in the car, the tester will check that it is fitted correctly and you may fail the test if it's not.


5. Check Seat Belts

Ensure that seat belts are fully visible and in good condition. If the seatbelt is frayed or cut it may result in failure.


6. Check your number plate

Check that your number plates comply with current regulations. You may fail your NCT if your number plate is missing, not secure or the registration is not clearly visible. If the numbers are the wrong size or the numbers, letters or background are an incorrect colour, this may also cause you to fail your NCT test.


7. Check your lights

Arriving with blown bulbs is an instant failure so it’s a good plan to check all bulbs prior to the test. With the car on, check your indicators, parking lights at the front and back, the light over the number plate, fog lights, brake lights and the dipped and dimmed headlights. 


Check that all light covers are fitted and not damaged or contain moisture inside. 


Your number plate light and front light should be white in colour, indicator light should be amber and stop light should be red. The stop lights should also be brighter than tail lights.


Next, you should check the headlamp alignment; this was the 3rd main reason for failures in 2014, so it's very important to remember to have this correct when doing your NCT.


8. Check your tyres

Remove the wheel hubcaps, this is only for wheels where the wheel nuts are not visible. 


For general road safety, it’s important to ensure your tyres are in good condition. Tyre condition is one of the biggest NCT failure reasons so inspect them carefully. Visually check that the threads are not worn or damaged, there are no bulges and the thread depth is not less than 1.6mm at the middle of the tyre. Also, you should find out the correct pressure that your specific tyres should be inflated to. If there are any issues with your tyres you should get them replaced.


9. Check your suspension

In 2014, the biggest reason for failure was issues with the front suspension. If you are not comfortable checking the suspension, bring it to a mechanic.


10. Documentation

And last but not least our our on "how to prepare for the NCT" list is documentation. It is very important that you bring the specified documentation with you on the day of the test.

You need to bring: the original Vehicle Registration Certificate for the vehicle and the valid NCT cert if applicable.


They also require documentation identifying the name and address of the owner of the vehicle, which has to be original documents and cannot be more than 6 months old. The following documents will only be accepted: P60, Bank Statement, Credit Card Statement, Payslip with address or Utility bill.


They will also require proof of your PPSN and proof of identity in the form of a driving licence or passport.


Best of luck in the test. After you pass the test the next item on the list is insurance, if you require Car Insurance, get a quick quote online or give us a call on 01 524 6000.






Jennifer Bulmer

Marketing Assistant

Hi, I'm Jennifer and I work here in the Digital Marketing Department of We hope you enjoy reading our blogs and find them interesting and informative.