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13th Apr 2014

What You Need To Know About… Getting Your NCT

Getting the green light.

Since 2004, all motorists have been legally required to have a valid NCT (National Car Test) certificate for their vehicles to show that they are in roadworthy condition. The move was introduced to improve road safety and environmental protection but also to comply with the EU Directive 2009/40/EC, which makes car testing compulsory in all EU member states. 

The frequency with which you’ll have to get your car tested depends on the age of the vehicle so have a look below for all you need to know on inspections, retests and getting that all-important certificate.

Am I due to be tested?

All cars four years and older must undergo an NCT and your due date is calculated from the date of first registration of the car. For vehicles younger than ten years, a test will be due every two years but annual testing is now required for cars that present for their tenth anniversary and each subsequent test. You can test your vehicle up to 90 days in advance of the anniversary of your registration date. However, cars registered before 1980 are exempt from the process. You can check if you are eligible for a test online here.

What do I need to do before I go for my test?

Most drivers will get a thorough service carried out by a professional mechanic to highlight any issues that could cause failure of the NCT test. Plan well in advance to allow yourself time to fix any problems and have your car in tip-top shape before the big inspection.

The NCTS has put together two informational videos to advise motorists on what they need to do, you can check them out here and here. A full document outlining the finer details of the test can be viewed here.

How do I get a date?

If your car is eligible for the NCT, phone 01-4135992 or book your appointment here. There are 47 test centres around the country and you can check here to see which one is closest to you.

The NCT fee for a full test is €55 and should you require a re-test that will cost €28. Re-tests that do not require the use of test equipment are free and include minor checks such as a visual inspection to check that faulty windscreen wipers have been replaced.

If you cancel a confirmed appointment with less than five working days notice or fail to show up for the test, a €22 surcharge will be applied when you next bring your car for testing. A similar surcharge of €11.50 will apply in the case of a re-test. NCTS accepts cash, laser/debit cards and all major credit cards (excluding American Express).


What do I need to remember on the day?

The NCTS advises that motorists prepare for the test by ensuring that their car has adequate oil and water, the boot is empty and seats are clear of personal belongings, such as removable baby seats.

The vehicle also need to be reasonably clean (especially the under body) and you should check that the wheel hubcaps are removed (only in the case where the wheel nuts are not visible) and the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.

The engine is in a fit state to be tested, with seat belts and clips fully visible and the registration plates should comply with current regulations.

NCTS recommend that you have your lights checked and set prior to the NCT. The person who brings the car for inspection should bring identification with them in the form of a driving licence, as failure to provide the required identification will result in the vehicle not being issued an NCT certificate at the time of testing. The vehicle should be at normal operating temperature prior to arriving at the test centre for inspection. 

And don’t forget to bring your vehicle registration book, registration certificate or licensing certificate and your test fee!

There’s a handy information leaflet here.

For more information, see