Book or manage your NCT

Frequently Asked Questions

Before each inspection, all vehicle inspectors will wash their hands with soap and water or sanitiser gel and wear a new set of disposable gloves.

NCTS asks that customers also play their part in keeping themselves and NCTS staff safe, so prior to arriving at the test centre, please ensure your vehicle is being presented in a hygienic state and free of any unhygienic matter such as used tissues, gloves and wipes.

If the car is not clean and clutter free, the vehicle may not be tested.

Certificate Extension:

NCTS has now updated the new test due date for all vehicles that qualified for the 4 month extension as announced by the Minister. Customers are encouraged to check their NCT test due date..

The extension of NCT due dates applies only to vehicles with a test due date of 28 March 2020 or later.

Please note, vehicles first registered on or after 1 August 2016 are not eligible for the 4-month extension.

 

If your car is eligible for the NCT (please see NCT Test Frequency table below) then please phone us on 014135992 or alternatively to use our online facility, you will need a credit/debit card and then simply type in your car registration number + Booking I.D  (which can be found at the top of your NCT Booking letter and is only required if you are cancelling or rearranging an appointment) or date of first registration of the vehicle (which can be found on your vehicle registration book, registration certificate or licensing certificate).

If you need to know when your vehicle is due its NCT, then check out NCT Reminder application  

Cars that have been off the road or have not been taxed for over 3 months it will be necessary for the owner of the vehicle to contact NCTS directly themselves.

 

  The above applies unless the vehicle has been voluntary early tested in a previous NCT cycle

If you are unable to obtain an appointment at your chosen Test Centre you may add your vehicle to a priority list via our web booking facility or call centre. NCTS will do their best to accommodate you with a time and date that is convenient for you.

The NCT Regulations allow that a car may be tested up to 90 days in advance of the test due date without affecting the expiry date of the certificate issued.  This system is in place to ensure all owners have sufficient time to have their vehicles successfully tested before the current certificate expires.

The NCT fee for a full test is €55 Euro and a re-test costs €28 Euro (both fees are inclusive of VAT and may be subject to change). Re-tests, which do not require the use of test equipment, will be conducted free of charge. Free re-tests cover items, such as, a visual inspection to check that faulty windscreen wipers have been replaced.

If you cancel / rearrange a confirmed appointment with less than five working day’s notice (Mon. - Fri., not including the day of the test) or fail to show up for the test, you will incur a fee of €22.00. For rescheduled appointments you will be required to pay this at the time of rescheduling. If you choose to cancel the appointment or fail to show up, you will be refunded the pre-paid amount minus the cancellation fee i.e. A refund of €33.00 will be issued. A similar charge of €11.50 will apply in the case of a re-test and €16.50 will be refunded.

NCTS will accept cash, laser/Debit cards and all major credit cards (excluding American Express).

 

Pre-payment for the NCT

The test fee is deducted from your credit/debit card once the booked appointment has been confirmed.

Please refer to this FAQ document which can assist you with any queries you many have regarding the NCTS online prepayment facility

The test fee is taken off your credit/debit card once the booking has been confirmed.

Please refer to this FAQ document which can assist you with any queries you many have regarding the NCTS online prepayment facility

There are 49 NCT Centres located throughout Ireland established solely for the purposes of car testing, click here for the full list of NCT test centres.

They are completely independent of the garage and motor trade. Individual motorists whose cars are eligible for testing may choose a centre that is nearest to them or any of the 49 centres.

You can get a full list of the opening and closing times for each of the NCT centres by clicking here and choosing the relevant centre.

Please be advised that the opening and closing times may vary from centre to centre as each centre has different shifts and lunch times in operation.

If you are required to return to the test centre to have a visual inspection i.e. No Appointment required as test lane equipment is not utilised, we would recommend that you confirm the opening and closing times with the centre before leaving. Please note that opening hours provided here do not take account of break times which can occur between the hours of 12:30 and 14:00 and on Fridays between 17:00 and 18.30. A centre may be closed for a period of about 15 minutes where a shift change operates and typically this can occur between 16:00 and 17:00  If you require clarification on opening times, please call our contact centre on 014135992

Click here to download and print and NCT checklist on how best to prepare for the NCT

Please prepare for the test by ensuring that:

  1. Your car has adequate oil and water.
  2. The boot is empty and seats are clear of personal belongings such as removable baby seats and in their upright position. If the baby seat is left in the car for the NCT, it will be checked that it is fitted correctly.  
  3. Your glove compartment is unlocked & clear of personal belongings, this is to allow for OBD testing.
  4. The vehicle is reasonably clean (especially the under body).
  5. 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.
  6. The engine is in a fit state to be tested e.g. Cam belt/timing belt. You may be asked to sign a disclaimer at the test centre.
  7. Seat belts and clips are fully visible.
  8. Your registration plates comply with current regulations.
  9. NCTS recommend that you have your lights checked and set prior to the NCT.
  10. Please ensure the person who brings the car for inspection brings 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.
  11. Please ensure your vehicle is at a normal operating temperature prior to arriving at the test centre for inspection.
  12. Don't forget to bring your vehicle registration book, registration certificate or licensing certificate and your test fee!
  13. The use of dashcams and recording devices of any kind are prohibited at the NCT centre. We kindly ask that if your vehicle contains a dashcam, it is switched off in advance of the test

Please ensure you remove all valuables/personal belongings from the vehicle prior to the NCT.
If the above items are not taken care of, NCTS may be unable to test your vehicle.

 

To ensure you don't miss your appointment, we recommend that you plan to arrive 10 minutes early or you may have to re-book for another day and pay a cancellation fee.

Download a copy of the NCT information leaflet on preparing for your NCT paying special attention to the condition of the headlight alignment, exhaust emissions and brake performance.

The Road Safety Authority have produced a number of basic car check safety videos to help you ensure your car is in a roadworthy condition at all times, you can view these videos by clicking here

The items to be tested are specified in the EU Directive 2009/40/EC.

The National Car Test (NCT) Manual detailing the test standards has been published by The Road Safety Authority and is available for download on this site.

In accordance with EU Directive 2014/45 from the 21st June 2021 the following changes will come into effect in the NCT:

  1. NCT Manual 2021
  2. OBD Testing
  3. Escalation of Defects

More information on these new changes can be found here FAQ

In accordance with EU Directive 2014/45 and from 13th August 2018 defects will be classified as minor, major or dangerous and will appear in this format on your NCT Vehicle Inspection Report.

Minor Result 
Should a customer receive this result, the vehicle has passed the test with minor faults recorded. The customer is required to have these faults repaired. The customer will have to present the vehicle for re-inspection before an NCT Certificate is issued

Major Result 
Previously classed as a Fail Refusal: 
The customer will be advised that the vehicle has failed the NCT. The vehicle owner will have 30 days in order to have the item repaired and returned to the centre for re-inspection. An NCT Certificate will not be issued until the vehicle is returned for inspection.
If the vehicle is not presented within the 30-day period then a new inspection will need to be conducted

Dangerous Result
Where a vehicle is failed because of a dangerous defect that constitutes a direct or immediate risk to road safety such that, the vehicle should not be used on the road under any circumstances. 
A sticker stating failed dangerous will be affixed to the vehicle by the Vehicle Inspector. The vehicle must be presented for re-inspection and receive a Pass Result before an NCT Certificate is issued. 
It is illegal and unsafe for a motorist to drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect, which means the vehicle owner may incur penalty points and a court appearance if caught by An Garda Síochána.

For further information on the items inspected in the NCT, please refer to the NCT Manual

Headlamp Aim is one of the most common reasons for failure in the NCT. In 2021, a total of 126,367 (6.02%) vehicles failed the NCT for Headlamp Aim.

There are a number of checks you can do in advance of your NCT, such as:

  • Have your lights checked and set prior to the NCT by taking your vehicles to your local car dealer and getting them to check the headlamp aim for you.
  • Ensure your headlamp is free of condensation, the lens is clean and reflector is in good condition.
  • If the headlamp bulb was recently changed, make sure the bulb is correctly aligned in the headlamp unit.
  • Ensure the headlamp is secure in the unit
  • Ensure the headlamps dip correctly to ensure they comply with the legal requirement
  • Ensure your headlamp aim in set accordance with manufacturer’s instructions

Finally, ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as this may impact on the NCT results achieved on the day.

All re-tests must be booked within 21 days of the initial test. Re-tests which do not require the use of a test lane, will be free of charge. Free re-tests will cover minor visual items for example, replacement of windscreen wiper and registration plates. Re-tests must be completed within 30 days of the initial test or a full test will need to be repeated and charged accordingly.

Book your Re-test NOW

To help you understand why your vehicle failed its NCT, a brief explanation of a Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) can be found by clicking here

 

In accordance with EU Directive 2014/45 and from 13th August 2018 defects will be classified as minor, major or dangerous and will appear in this format on your NCT Vehicle Inspection Report.

Minor Result 
Should a customer receive this result, the vehicle has passed the test with minor faults recorded. The customer is required to have these faults repaired. The customer will have to present the vehicle for re-inspection before an NCT Certificate is issued

Major Result 
Previously classed as a Fail Refusal: 
The customer will be advised that the vehicle has failed the NCT. The vehicle owner will have 30 days in order to have the item repaired and returned to the centre for re-inspection. An NCT Certificate will not be issued until the vehicle is returned for inspection.
If the vehicle is not presented within the 30-day period then a new inspection will need to be conducted

Dangerous Result
Where a vehicle is failed because of a dangerous defect that constitutes a direct or immediate risk to road safety such that, the vehicle should not be used on the road under any circumstances. 
A sticker stating failed dangerous will be affixed to the vehicle by the Vehicle Inspector. The vehicle must be presented for re-inspection and receive a Pass Result before an NCT Certificate is issued. 
It is illegal and unsafe for a motorist to drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect, which means the vehicle owner may incur penalty points and a court appearance if caught by An Garda Síochána.

For further information on the items inspected in the NCT, please refer to the NCT Manual

Complaints

If you are unhappy about any aspect of our service you have the right to, and are encouraged to, complain.

You may do this by detailing your complaint in full on a Complaint Form (QP 009/1) which can be obtained from the Test Centre or by phone from the Customer Service Department.  The form should be posted to the address below.  Alternatively, you may lodge your complaint by phone directly with the Customer Service Department on (01) 4135994. 

Your complaint will be investigated and a response with our findings will be issued within 2 weeks of receipt of your complaint.

Customer Service Department

NCTS,
Lakedrive 3026
Citywest Business Campus
Dublin 24

 

You have the right to Complain or to Appeal the refusal of a Test Certificate

If you feel that you have been unfairly refused a NCT Certificate you should direct your concern in the first instance, to the person in charge of the Test Centre before leaving. This approach will often clarify simple misunderstandings.

If after leaving the test centre, you feel that you have been unfairly refused a NCT Certificate you should return to the test centre and speak with the person in charge. For an appeal to be effectively considered the vehicle must be re-presented in the same condition as it was at the time of testing. Again this approach will often resolve simple misunderstandings.

If this approach does not resolve your problem, you should complete a complaints form, clearly outlining your concerns, and submit it to the NCTS Customer Service Dept. at the address above.  Complaint forms are available at your local NCT Centre. NCTS Customer Service will investigate your complaint and send you a reply within 2 weeks.

If, after this, you still feel you have been unfairly refused a Test Certificate you may lodge a Formal Appeal in writing to the Independent Appeals Board (IAB), NCT Appeals, AA Technical Department, Rescue Operations Centre, Unit D, Merrywell Business Park, Ballymount Road Lower, D12 F1H2. You can also call them on 01 617 9000 or email Technical@theaa.ie.

An Appeal may also be lodged in the District Court.

The emission standards applied depend on the year of registration of the vehicle tested. Limits applied will depend on the year of manufacture.

Vehicle owners who wish to present their vehicle for inspection earlier than 90 days before their NCT due date will now be allowed to do so.

Where this happens the vehicle will receive a 2 year (or 1 year depending on the age of the vehicle) certificate duration from the date it passes the test.

To qualify for Voluntary Early Testing the vehicle must PASS the NCT prior to the 90 days before its test due date

Vehicles presenting for their first NCT at 4 years will be subject to the same rules as any other aged vehicles. Note this is a change from the rule which allowed vehicles presenting for their first test at 4 years to be presented up to 6 months (180 days) early.

Vehicles presenting for an NCT younger than 2 years can be tested (these vehicles will not receive a certificate but will receive a vehicle inspection report) and their next NCT due date will remain the 4th anniversary of the first date of registration.

Vehicles aged between 2 and 4 years will receive a certificate valid for 2 years to the anniversary of the successful test, if tested more than 90 days in advance of the 4th anniversary of first registration.

Vehicles tested on-time (i.e. within 90 days of the test due date or its tenth anniversary test) or late remain unaffected by this change. and a certificate for the duration of 1 year will be issued from the current NCT expiry date

See the image below for examples of Voluntary Early Testing and to see how your vehicle can qualify.

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The NCT test has made a significant contribution to Ireland’s road safety. Voluntary early testing will further improve the safety of Irish roads by encouraging car owners and the motor trade to test their vehicles more often. In addition, voluntary early testing will help spread demand for tests throughout the year.

Where a vehicle has already undergone a voluntary early test and the test due date has been reset, if this vehicle passes the test within 90 days of the 10th anniversary of first registration, a certificate valid to the 11th anniversary will be issued, and the test due date will be reset to the anniversary of first registration.

The National Car Test (NCT) is supervised and monitored by a Supervisory Service Contractor and Technical Services Provider on behalf of the Road Safety Authority. The network of NCT Centres operate independently of the motor trade and garage network, ensuring consistency of testing across the country.


All test equipment is calibrated on a strict regular basis by the equipment supplier and NCTS must supply the Technical Services Provider with calibration records for all our test equipment. Test equipment consistency checks are monitored and supervised by Technical Services Provider Engineers.


Uniform standards are set out in the NCT Manual

As part of our on-going commitment to improving standards in the NCT, vehicles may be selected for a quality control check.  This process requires vehicles who have a valid NCT to undergo a full test inspection again free of charge.

In addition to the external checks carried out by the above, NCTS also conduct their own comprehensive internal audits covering checks such as the monitoring of the testing process, review and analysis of customer complaints and regular inspector assessments.

Why not check out the full list of quality controls that govern the operation of the National Car Testing Service

You can replace either of the above for a fee of €15.50.

You must go to your local Garda station and obtain an RF134 form, which must be stamped and signed by the Gardaí. Send this completed form back, along with either your windscreen disc or NCT Certificate, whichever part you may still hold, and a bank draft or postal order payable to Applus Inspection Services Ireland Ltd., to:

The Test Certificate Administrator,

NCTS, Lakedrive 3026,

Citywest Business Campus,

Naas Road, Dublin 24.

For a replacement NCT Report, simply write in with car registration number, make and model and owner details along with the €15.50 fee to the Test Certificate Administrator at the above address. These fees may be subject to change

Enforcement is the responsibility of the Garda Siochana who have access to our records.

All eligible cars must display an NCT Disc on their car windscreen, which will instantly identify cars that have passed the test.

Imported vehicles from another EU Member State can continue to display the roadworthiness certificate from the country of origin within the EU, which will be recognised in Ireland until the expiry date. The owner should apply and pass the NCT for the vehicle before the expiry of their current out of state roadworthiness certificate.

You can no longer transfer the unexpired portion of an EU certificate for a mutual recognition cert however, vehicle owners may use their current EU roadworthiness certificate until the expiry date and then present the vehicle for its NCT.

Motor vehicles used only on islands not connected to the mainland by road and motor vehicles belonging to the Armed Forces, the Garda Síochána or the Fire Service are currently not subject to mandatory roadworthiness testing.

Vehicles registered before 1st January 1980 or have reached the fortieth anniversary of its first registration are also exempt from the test.

All Heavy Good and Light Goods Vehicles must be inspected at an approved VTN centre and NOT at an NCTS centre.

Please note: Light Goods Vehicles are classed as the following: have the capacity to carry only two passengers, have no rear side windows and no operating rear side doors

If your vehicle is aged between 30-39 years (based on the vehicle's date of first registration) and you are not using your vehicle for commercial purposes, it will have now  undergo a roadworthiness test every two years instead of annually.

If you are using your vehicle for commercial purposes, for example as a wedding hire vehicle, there is no change to the test frequency, and you must continue to have your vehicle tested annually.

Yes, towing brackets are now tested as part of the NCT.  It is now a requirement that we check the output of any fitted trailer socket on a vehicle and we conduct a measurement for the vehicle drawing pin/ball for wear   For more detailed information please refer to the NCT Manual

OBD Testing

An On-Board Diagnostics System (OBD) is a computer system inside a vehicle, that tracks and regulates a car's performance. It collects information from sensors inside the vehicle, to alert the user to a problem, often before it becomes a major issue.

From the 21st June, OBD testing will become an inspection item in the NCT.  It will be introduced on a phased basis. Initially, when an OBD error code is detected it will result in the vehicle receiving an “Advisory Pass”. Then, from early 2022, when an error code is detected, this may constitute a reason for “failure”.

The inspection is quick and easy, the NCT Vehicle Inspector will plug the OBD scanner into the vehicle's OBD computer port known as the DLC (data link connector). This port is usually located under the steering wheel but may also be found in the glove compartment of the vehicle.

This OBD scanner will quickly indicate whether or not error codes exist, and it also helps and alerts the Vehicle Inspector to possible defects within the vehicle.

In order for the NCTS to conduct the inspection, we ask customers to ensure:

  • Their glove compartments are unlocked and clear of personal belongings before their NCT.
  • That any devices using the OBD port in the vehicle are removed in advance of the NCT.

The OBD scanner will scan the OBD system for:

  1. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Using the OBD scanner, the Vehicle Inspector will verify that the VIN read by the OBD scanner matches the number on the vehicle. While a difference will not be a reason for failure, the OBD VIN reading will be recorded on the VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report) issued to the customer.

  1. Odometer Reading

The Vehicle Inspector will record the odometer reading at the time of the test. They will also verify the reading using the OBD scanner and customers will be alerted to both readings on their VIR report.

  1. Electronic Braking System (EBS)

Any error code associated with the electronic braking system will be recorded on the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) provided to the customer following their NCT inspection.

  1. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

Any error code associated with the antilock braking system will be recorded on the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) provided to the customer following their NCT inspection.

While, initially, vehicles with error codes will be recorded as ‘Advisory Pass’, the NCTS strongly recommends that any error codes be addressed by the vehicle repairer. However, the vehicle will not need to return for re-inspection, for these items alone.

From early 2022, should certain error codes be detected, they will constitute a reason for failure in the NCT and an NCT certificate will not be issued until the items are rectified and a pass result is achieved.

We recommend you liaise with your local garage/ mechanic who should be equipped with the necessary diagnostic equipment to perform this scan in advance of going for an NCT.

  1. Escalation of Defects

The new NCT manual identifies that, where a combination of deficiencies is recorded in the NCT in one area of a vehicle, the combination of deficiencies could lead to the result of the NCT being escalated to ‘fail dangerous’.

An example of one such combination is the inspection item, Brake Pedal. If the following 3 major defects appear on the overall test result, the result will be escalated to fail dangerous:  

  1. Pedal travel is excessive, obstructed or insufficient reserve travel.
  2. Brake control not releasing correctly.
  3. Travel in the brake pedal indicates air in the brake system or brakes are in need of adjustment

In such instances, the deficiencies are considered to constitute a direct or immediate risk to road safety and the vehicle should not be driven on the road under any circumstances, in accordance with The Road Traffic (National Car Test) Regulations 2017, S.I. 415 of 2017.

For more information on these changes please see our FAQ 

For further information on the items inspected in the NCT, please refer to the NCT Manual