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The National Car Testing Service has identified a system error that has caused some NCT certificates to be issued incorrectly in the last twelve months. Some customers were ­incorrectly provided with a certificate of two years duration instead of a one-year certificate. The problem was caused by a computer error, which arose when the expiry dates for test certificates were extended in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This issue only relates to vehicles that were over 10 years old at the time of their last test, and which had their certificate extended by 4 months because of Covid19. It has affected around 34,000 cars out of a total of 1.3 million tested since the service resumed in June 2020.

The incorrect certificates, issued at the time of the inspections, have been revoked and new NCT certificates are being issued to all affected customers. This should be complete by August.

A free full test will be provided for those affected vehicle owners who purchased a vehicle with the expectation of a longer NCT certificate duration, if the vehicle is booked for a test in advance of its revised test due date. 

We would like to reassure customers that NCTS has taken all the necessary steps to correct this administrative error and that we will be in contact directly with each affected customer.  There is no need for you to take any action until you hear from us. 

Members of the public, looking to purchase a vehicle over 10 years old, are advised to check the vehicle’s NCT certificate expiry date, before purchase. This can be done online at www.ncts.ie.

The National Car Testing Service database and website (www.ncts.ie) has now been updated to reflect the correct NCT certificate expiry dates on these vehicles and all relevant authorities have been notified.   

To ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements set out in the Road Traffic (National Car Test) Regulations 2017, customers are advised to check that the details on the replacement certificate are valid and should display the corrected NCT certificate on their vehicle. The old certificate is no longer valid and should be destroyed.

For more information please click here (FAQ)

A new National Car Testing Service inspection centre will officially open in Meath on Monday July 5th. Located on the old Athboy Road in Navan, this will be the second NCT centre in the Meath region.. The opening of this new two-lane centre will see the NCTS network increase to 49 centres nationwide and over time, create an additional 12 jobs for the Meath area.

Speaking ahead of its first day of operations, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton TD, said “I am delighted to see the opening of this new two-lane centre in Navan which will serve the vehicle owner population of Navan, Dunshauglin, Slane, Trim and Athboy and will provide motorists with a convenient alternative that’s close to them, rather than having to travel to other neighbouring centres in  Kells, Drogheda and Ballymun, Dublin The new centre in Navan will play its part in keeping vehicles and roads safe.  The NCT as an important preventative road safety measure,  ensures vehicles, particularly older vehicles using Irish roads are in sound working order, ensuring our roads are a safer place for our families and communities to travel. Of course, we should not forget too that it is also enhancing the environment by reducing harmful vehicle emissions”

NCTS provider, Mr Mark Synnott, Managing Director Applus+ Inspection Services Ireland Ltd said: “We are delighted to serve the people of Navan and surrounding areas with this new two lane centre, we are now inspecting more cars than ever before and in order to manage the increased demand for testing, we are delighted to open this new NCTS centre in Navan. Since Applus+ took over the operation of the NCTS service in January 2010, we have employed an additional 140 employees across our nationwide network of 49 test centres. Currently, we employ over 600 vehicle inspectors who combined carry out over 1.8 million inspections on an annual basis.”

In an effort to meet Ireland’s strategic objectives and continue to lead the way in improving road safety through the use of vehicle technology. Ireland in accordance with EU Directive 2014/45, will commence the use of OBD testing as part of the National Car Test (NCT) from 21st June 2021.

Ireland will be one of the first of the EU Member states to implement this new approach of testing which will help contribute to significantly safer vehicles on Irish roads.

The following changes will come into effect in the NCT from the 21st June 2021.  

  1. NCT Manual 2021

From this date, a new version of the NCT manual V5.0 (June 2021) will come into operation. The NCT manual lists each item on which a car will be tested. It lays down the test method and pass/fail criteria to be adopted for the compulsory road-worthiness testing of passenger vehicles. It provides guidance in relation to why a vehicle may fail the NCT and the categorisation of defects.

The new manual is updated in line with Directive 2014/45 (EU) and is available for download on the NCTS website (www.ncts.ie) and Road Safety Authority website (www.rsa.ie)

  1. 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 

The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have officially announced the opening of a National Car Testing centre in Tuam, County Galway on Monday 29 March 2021.

The opening of this new two-lane centre will see the NCTS network increase to 48 centres nationwide and over time, create an additional 12 jobs for the Tuam area. This centre will have the capacity to inspect over 20,000 vehicles annually when fully operational.

The new centre will serve the people of North Galway and South Mayo, and will provide motorists with a convenient alternative that’s close to them, rather than having to travel to other neighbouring centres in Galway City, Ballinasloe or Castlerea for an NCT.

Mr. Mark Synnott, Managing Director of NCTS said “we are delighted to serve the people of North Galway with this new two lane centre and the opening of the Tuam centre will see us increase our network to 48 NCT centres nationwide and employ over 600 vehicle inspectors who combined inspect over 1.8 million vehicles on an annual basis. Over the next year, there are plans to provide a range of additional benefits to customers such as the opening of new testing centres in certain locations, the upgrading and refurbishment of existing centres and other service improvements, on behalf of the RSA.”

Located in the Carrowpeter, Doogra area in Tuam, Galway, the new Tuam NCTS centre is the fourth test centre in the Galway region and will serve people from North Galway, South Mayo and West Roscommon covering areas such as Tuam, Claregalway, Headford, Corofin, Ballindine, Mountbellow, Glenamadddy and Ballingar.

The NCTS is responsible for the compulsory car inspection programme in Ireland. The primary aim of the NCTS is to improve road safety and enhance environmental protection by reducing harmful vehicles emissions in Ireland. For further information on the NCTS, visit www.rsa.ie or www.ncts.ie

Photo: Tuam NCT Galway 

COVID-19 Update:

All NCT centres are fully operational.

The NCT service is deemed an essential service and customers travelling for scheduled appointments are exempt from the travel restrictions.

Those who are more vulnerable are advised to contact the NCTS on 01 4135992 (Monday to Friday) to arrange an alternative appointment, free of any cancellation/rearrangement fees. Re-tests must be conducted within 30 days of the initial test or a full test will need to be conducted again.

Some of the questions you may have on the restrictions and the NCT can be found in this FAQ.

Please do not visit any NCTS facility if you have been exposed to the virus or have knowingly been in contact with anyone showing symptoms. In this instance you should follow HSE advice.

To mitigate against the spread of COVID19 and to protect both customers and staff, we are asking customers to pay by credit/debit card and adhere to these protocols.

Protocol for Staff:

  • Before each inspection, all vehicle inspectors must wash their hands with soap and water and wear a new set of disposable gloves.
  • Leave all entrance doors open where possible to minimise the risk of virus transfer via door handles.
  • Leave Vehicle Inspection Reports and NCT Certificates (if applicable) on the front seat of the customer’s vehicle following the test, thus eliminating the need for customers to re-enter the test centre, unless they have a query.

Protocol for customers

  • In advance of attending for NCT, please ensure your vehicle is being presented in a hygienic state and free of any unhygienic matter such as used tissues, gloves and wipes.
  • Due to limited capacity in the test centres due to social distancing, only one person must present the vehicle for inspection. We are asking that vulnerable drivers and those with an underlying illness do not attend, we ask that they organise for someone else to present their vehicle where possible.
  • Please ensure you wear the correct clothing attire to the test centre as you may have to wait outside the building while your vehicle is inspected.
  • It is now mandatory that customers wear a face covering on the day of inspection, customers will not be permitted to enter the NCT building without a face covering, exemptions include:
    • children under the age of 13
    • anyone that has trouble breathing
    • anyone that is incapacitated
    • anyone that is unable to remove it without help
    • anyone who has special needs and who may feel upset or very uncomfortable wearing the face covering
  • Tests must be booked and paid online
  • Only customers with confirmed appointments should present their vehicle for inspection.
  • A maximum number of customers will be permitted to enter the centre and this will be clearly sign posted as you enter the centre.
  • All customers must adhere to the social distancing guidelines.
  • Driver identification will still be required to be shown at check in, but it should not be handed to the staff member.
  • Once checked in, customers will be advised to wait in their vehicles or if they prefer to wait outside the building.
  • Leave windows lowered slightly to allow for air to ventilate naturally throughout the vehicle.
  • Ensure the air vents in the vehicle are closed and the fans are reduced to the lowest level.
  • Once the inspection is complete, the Vehicle Inspection Reports and NCT Certificates (if applicable) will be left on the front seat of the customer’s vehicle following the test, thus eliminating the need for customers to re-enter the test centre, unless they have a query.

We ask for customers to adhere to the protocols in place and to assist us in ensuring no transmission of the virus, failure to adhere to these protocols may result in the rescheduling of your test.

Certificate Extension:

We understand you may have some questions regarding your NCT Certificate validity and more information on this can be found here. 

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 new test due date.

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

As information and guidance from public health officials change, we will reassess and change our procedures and protocols accordingly.

Please continue to check the NCTS website for further updates.

From 1st March, the applicable Government standard VAT rate will return to 23%. Please note that effective from that date the following prices will apply:

We have a full list of your most frequently asked questions about testing and COVID19 on our FAQ document

Please continue to check the NCTS and RSA website for updates.

 

The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) has now updated all records for those customers’ vehicles that qualified for the 4 month test extension as announced by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross in April. A vehicle with a test due date on or after 28th March 2020 has now had their test date extended by 4 months, see example below 

Original NCT Expiry Date

New NCT Test Due Date

28th March 2020

28th July 2020

10th May 2020

10th September 2020

15th October 2020*

15th February 2021

*All Cars first registered on or after 1st August 2016 are not eligible for the 4 month extension.

 

Customers should note this change and are encouraged to check their new test due date on the Check NCT Due Date section on the NCTS website before booking their test.

NCTS are reminding customers that if they book a test that is more than 90 days earlier than the test due date, the test will be a voluntary early test and the NCT certificate issued will be valid for 1 or 2 years (depending on the age of the vehicle) from the date of the successful test.  NCTS are asking customers to note carefully the website messages they receive throughout the course of the booking process.

 

Taximeter verification inspections have now recommenced having previously been suspended due to covid-19. 

To enable the resumption of service, a number of detailed measures are now in place to mitigate against the spread of COVID19 and to protect both customers and staff. When attending the Test Centre, we are asking customers to please adhere to the following protocols:

  • Only customers with confirmed appointments should present their vehicle for inspection and the wearing of a facemask during the inspection is mandatory.
  • Only one person must present the vehicle for inspection and we are asking that vulnerable drivers and those with an underlying illness do not attend, we ask that they organise for someone else to present their vehicle where possible.
  • A maximum number of customers will be permitted to enter the centre and this will be clearly sign posted as you enter the centre.
  • Please read all signage, and maintain a safe distance from our staff and other customers at all times when in the test centre.
  • Please ensure you wear the correct clothing attire to the test centre as you may have to wait outside the building while your vehicle is inspected.
  • All customers must adhere to the social distancing guidelines.
  • Once checked in, customers will be advised to wait in their vehicles or if they prefer to wait outside the building.
    Leave windows lowered slightly to allow air to ventilate naturally throughout the vehicle.

Applus Car Testing Service was awarded the Go Best Service Award for the operation of the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) at the recent Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards held in Dublin.


The GO Awards Ireland are open to public, private and third sector organisations across the Republic and Northern Ireland and showcases the very best that public sector procurement has to offer. Spokesperson for Applus, Sinead McKeon said, “We are extremely proud to receive this prestigious award which highlights excellence in our customer service. Winning this award recognises and acknowledges the hard work that all our staff put into constantly improving the service which we provide to over 2 million members of the public every year”

 

 

Applus Car Testing Service recently achieved a significant milestone in attaining the security standard ISO 27001:2013 –Information Security Management Systems Certification Standard. After a series of complex and stringent audit processes conducted by Certification Europe, Applus were awarded the standard for the operation of the National Car Testing Service.

This International standard is recognised globally for managing risks to the security of information held by a company. It enables us to prove to customers and clients that we are managing the security of the information we hold.

This is a very important standard for Applus Car Testing Service Ireland to achieve and played a pivotal role in the awarding by the RSA of the 10-year NCTS contract to Applus.

In photo: Applus staff, Paul Hackett Anderson, Mark Synnott, Peter Seacy and Brian Casey

In accordance with EU Directive 2014/45, a number of changes to the periodic vehicle inspection have come into force across all EU Member States. These changes are to unify vehicle inspection across the EU.

The changes are as follows

1. Amendments to treatment of Vintage Vehicles

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 now have to 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.

Please note: if your vintage vehicle was inspected during the period 20th May 2017 to 19th May 2018, you will be entitled to a two year certificate. NCTS will endeavour to write to each customer affected detailing the requirements in order to amend their current NCT certificate. All queries regarding this change can be dealt with by the customer service department on (01) 4135994.


2. Categorisation of deficiencies into Minor, Major & Dangerous

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


3. Amendments to treatment of vehicles which transfer from SPSV to Private

Upon a vehicle ceasing to be a public service vehicle, the test due date for such a vehicle shall be on the basis that the next test due date shall be the date on which the then current test by date expires and each subsequent test due date shall be the anniversary of that date.

Mr. Noel Brett, CEO RSA together with Mr. Pat O' Brien and Mr. Paul Hetherington of INAB formally presented Aisling McGuigan and Eamonn Power of NCTS with ISO 17020 certification.

The ISO 17020 standard is awarded to inspection bodies who demonstrate high levels of competence in the field of inspection, and the National Car Testing Service is the only inspection programme of its kind to be accredited to this standard. All aspects of the NCTS process were audited ranging from the independence, impartiality and integrity of the service to the quality systems in place, the inspection methods and procedures to the handling of inspection reports and certificates. The standard also focused on the efficiency of managing customers including the complaints and appeal process and premises.

 

 

Leading global test, inspection and certification company Applus+ have welcomed the news, they have are awarded the contract to continue the provision of the National Car Testing Service in Ireland from June 2020 for a further period of ten years.

Applus+ have operated the contract since January 2010 and during the last 9 and half years have conducted over 18 million vehicle inspections across its network of 47 test centres.

The new contract will allow Applus+ to provide a range of additional benefits to customers such as the opening of new testing centres across the country, newly refurbished facilities and the use of highly advanced vehicle testing and inspection technology.

Reflecting on the news “Applus Ireland’s Managing Director Mr. Grant Henderson said “we are delighted to have secured the contract to operate the National Car Testing Service and we are looking forward to delivering many service improvements in the coming months”

To support the opening of new inspection facilities, Applus+ anticipate creating in excess of 80 new jobs over the coming years adding to their current workforce of 800+ employees making Applus+ the largest single employer in the automotive sector in Ireland.

This contract further strengthens Applus+ in Ireland, making them the largest single employer in the automotive sector within Ireland. Applus+ also operate inspection services on behalf of the Revenue Commissioner, National Transport Authority and the National Standards Authority of Ireland.

 

In photo: Moyagh Murdock CEO RSA with Grant Henderson Managing Director Applus+

NCT certificates and discs containing the following serial numbers

  • E2999571 to E2999750
  • E3028501 to E3029250
  • E3063251 to E3063750
  • E1717001 to E1718000
  • E1750263 to E1750360
  • E1686703 to E1686708 

were stolen during a recent robbery at an NCT centre.

If you are purchasing a second hand vehicle we would urge that you please check the serial number on the NCT disc to ensure it is not stolen.

If you have any doubts regarding the validity of an NCT Certificate then please contact NCT on 014135994 and we will be quickly able to confirm the validity of the NCT certificate for you