Make sure you pass your NCT
With the average age of Irish cars still very high, it’s more than likely that you’re going to need to put your car through the dreaded NCT every two years, and for many of us, every year now. But you needn’t dread it too much as long as you follow a few simple guidelines…
First off, keep up with your servicing. It may sound stupidly obvious, but you’d be amazed how many people skimp on their car’s servicing to try and save a few Euro, only to see the costs mount up again once the list of fail points comes off the print-out. So, keep your car in good fettle, make sure it’s serviced on time and to schedule and you’ll have an awful lot less to worry about come NCT time. And don’t be one of those people who uses the NCT to find out what needs fixing –– for safety and for resale value reasons, you really should be keeping your car’s service record up to date anyway, so don’t use the fail points as a service shopping list.
Incidentally, the majority of NCT failures are down to problems with the car’s suspension (doubtless down to the shocking condition of our roads), so don’t ignore problems that seem to be developing under the car. If you can hear knocking or clonking noises as you go over bumps, or if the car seems to be pulling to one side or the other, get it to a garage and get it sorted. Quite apart from the NCT itself, a car on worn or damaged suspension is dangerous to you and other road users.
Getting your car cleaned is another obvious one. Again, it’s not something we’re generally very good at in Ireland (the condition of our roads hardly helps), but certainly before your NCT you need to get the car thoroughly washed (underneath too) to make the NCT inspector’s job that much easier.
Don’t forget too to make sure that things like wheel nuts are all visible (many alloy wheels include a small plastic cover for styling purposes, so make sure that has been removed) and seatbelt clips are all fished out from behind and under seats.
Check your headlights, brake lights and indicators too before you go and check the fluid levels for power steering, brakes and oil. Oh, and top up the windscreen washer too.
Don’t forget that it’s up to you to book your NCT. The system doesn’t automatically remind you that you need to do so, and the Gardaí are not going to accept “the testing people never told me” as an excuse for driving without a valid NCT. You can book in up to 90 days before your last NCT cert expires, so keep an eye on the calendar.
Finally make sure your tyres are in good shape and all your paperwork is present and correct (you’ll need your certificate of registration and some form of personal ID). Best of luck!