Tyres a big reason for high NCT fail rate
The number of cars failing the National Car Test (NCT) continues to rise as our fleet gets older and hard pressed motorists cut back on essential maintenance. So far this year over 192,000 cars have failed the NCT first time out, the third successive year that the failure rate has exceeded 50 per cent.
The main reason for failure remains the front suspension, as it has been since 2007, but the second biggest, tyre condition, is one of the easier ones for owners to judge, yet also one of the most dangerous when neglected.
As such, and with rain so far this year exceeding the norm, the Irish Tyre Industry Association (ITIA) is warning motorists of the dangers of driving with sub-par tyres.
"It is shocking to think that more than half of all motorists coming in for an NCT are driving unroadworthy cars," says Kevin Farrell, President of the ITIA. "That clearly spells danger for themselves and their fellow road users. Equally worrying is that tyres account for such a high proportion of NCT failures, especially given the very high prevalence of rain so far this year."
Of the nearly 200,000 failures recorded between January 1 and March 31 this year over eight per cent of them related to tyre tread depth below the legal 1.6mm level. "It is in the wet conditions that the importance of tyre tread really comes to the fore," says Farrell. "It can take a tyre just below the 1.6mm limit twice as long to stop on wet roads as a car on new tyres. You can't put a price on that shorter stopping distance."
"It is clear that people are seeking to save money by deferring the replacement of tyres that are damaged or worn below the 1.6mm legal tread limit. While not underestimating the hardship out there, to treat this fundamental safety issue as an economic one would be a big mistake," concluded Farrell.
If your car is due its NCT this year - and in 2014 that includes cars from 2010, 2008, 2006, plus all cars registered on or before 2004 - then CompleteCar.ie has this handy guide with some of the top tips on how to prepare for your test.