Guides on the NCT process
The following section is designed to give you an idea which items are tested during an NCT test and how this is done.
Any other parts of the steering system that can be seen from under the bonnet
The reason for failure with respect to tyre wear is “The grooves of the tread pattern are not at least 1.6mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of the breadth of tread around the entire outer circumference of the tyre”
notes: The inertia locking mechanism is not checked on some vehicles where the belt is attached to the seat the security of the seat to the vehicle would also be part of the seat belt check. With regard to the retraction mechanism it is allowed to manually feed the belt back in.
This check is carried out using special equipment. The exact details will depend on the age and model of the vehicle. Excessive smoke is a visual check. Diesel smoke is tested using a smoke meter.
Any fuel leak or defect which will allow fuel to leak out will fail the test.
Fuel filler cap must fasten securely and seal must be in place and in good condition.
Thousands of cars fail their NCT due to simple things such as faulty bulbs, too little tyre tread, or even empty windscreen washer fluid bottles. It’s possible to anticipate most of these issues with a quick check of your vehicle. It can take only a few minutes.
If you find any fault that you’re unable to fix yourself, you can contact NCTpass.ie so we can complete the work required before the test is carried out.
1. Headlights and indicators
Check that all of your car’s lights function properly – headlights, sidelights, rear lights, hazard lights and indicators.
2. Brake lights
Press the brake pedal and ask a friend to check that the rear brake lights come on – including any supplementary brake strip light. Alternatively, carefully reverse up to a reflective surface (window, wall or garage door) and look behind to see for yourself.
3. Number plate
Make sure that the number plate is clean and legible – even a quick wipe with a cloth can make a difference. The font and spacing of letters must also comply with legal requirements to be passed by the NCT test.
4. Wheels and tyres
Check that wheels and tyres are undamaged. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm and any tyres with less than this will be marked as an NCT ‘fail’ (though it’s recommended that tyres are changed when tread reaches 3mm). If you’re in doubt about how much tread is left on a tyre, we can check it for you.
NCTpass.ie can also advise on the type of tyre that is right for your car if a replacement is required.
5. Seats and seatbelts
The driver’s seat should adjust forwards and backwards and all seatbelts should be in good, working order. Test movement of the seat and inspect the seatbelt’s full length for damage. Tug sharply on all seatbelts to check that they react as they’re supposed to if you have to brake severely.
6. Windscreen Check the view out of the front of the car for damage – any damage larger than 40mm will cause a ‘fail’, as will any damage wider than 10mm in the ‘swept’ area of the windscreen in front of the driver.
7. Windscreen wipers
Make sure your wipers are able to keep your windscreen clean – any tears or holes in the wiper rubber can be an NCT fail.
8. Screenwash Top up the washer bottle before taking the car in for a test – something as simple as an empty container can cause an NCT fail.
Give a short blast of the horn – if it doesn’t work, then it needs to be repaired or replaced.
10. Fuel and engine oil
Make sure your car is filled with enough fuel and engine oil – you can be turned away from the NCT centre without suitable levels of either, both of which are required by the NCT inspector when running the car to test its emissions levels. If you are unsure about the type of oil that should be used, give us a call, text or ask for a call back 085-77-77-888.
Note: When checking fluid levels and handling parts that could be hot to touch (e.g. bulbs), it’s always best to ensure that the vehicle has had an opportunity to cool down fully.
Put your NCT date in your diary to make tip 2 possible. Book your NCT here if you don’t know how.
Book a test date 6-8 weeks before your current NCT expires. If you need repairs, it gives you time and options. Think about time slots, collection, replacement car etc.
You can renew your NCT 3 months before it expires. If your NCT test is 90 days early, the new certificate will have the 90 days added, so you don’t lose out.
NCT results might disappoint you – there’s approx. 600 ways to fail. If the list of fails seems to be big-take the car home and then shop around.
Ask garages to get special parts before you take car in for repairs. Waiting for some parts can mean no car for days.
Before you take your vehicle for its annual or bi-annual NCT test, we recommend that you carry out a number of quick and easy visual checks to give your car the best chance of passing the test – saving you time and money.