Preparing your vehicle for the NCT

Preparing your vehicle for the NCT

The NCT can be one of the more stressful tests that your car goes through on a yearly (or semi-yearly) basis. With many cars backlogged due to restrictions just lifting, more and more people will be filing in to have their cars inspected to (hopefully) be safe to drive on the road.

Let’s face it, no one likes going through the NCT process. However, it’s so important to ensure that the vehicles you encounter every single day are safe and roadworthy. In addition, if you are caught without a valid NCT this can leave you with 3-5 penalty points a fine of up to €2,000 and even jail time. Not to mention – a sure-fire guarantee to skyrocket your car insurance.

We understand the NCT isn’t always a breeze, in fact – 50% of people who have taken the NCT in the last year have failed. That’s why we’re here to help. Today at we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for what to look for when preparing your vehicle.

Tyres and wheels are in appropriate condition

When preparing for your NCT one of the key areas that you will want to inspect is your tyres. This includes ensuring that they are not in need of replacing due to cracks forming and that the tread of the tyres isn’t worn. One of the best ways to check the tread of your tyres is by using the coin trick.

The coin trick has you take a €1 coin and position it into the grooves of your tyres in multiple places. If the silver rim of the coin is covered, the tread on the tyre is maintained and has a depth of at least 3mm. If the silver rim of your €1 coin is not covered – it’s time to get some new tyres and your vehicle will likely not pass the NCT.

Keep in mind that when preparing your tyres and wheels for the NCT that all hubcaps must be removed from the vehicle. Failure to have your wheel nuts visible can result in an automatic failure and need to redo your NCT.

Check all exterior lighting

Checking your exterior lighting is something that should be carried out a few days prior to your NCT so that you can ensure that any issues that may arise can be managed well beforehand.

First, you’ll want to test your exterior lights including both turning signals, brake lights, headlights and fog lights. When testing you want to make sure that not only are they in working order but that the alignment (especially of head and fog lights) is in place. Aligning your headlights can be tricky work, so it might be better carried out by your local mechanic.

Check all interior lighting

Checking your interior lighting should also be carried out a couple of days prior to the NCT. You want to ensure that there are no warning lights or symbols that are coming up on your dashboard, signalling a larger problem such as an engine fault.

If you do encounter an issue with your vehicle (or you have one you’ve known about for a while). It’s imperative that you visit a mechanic to take a look over your car. If there are any warning lights on when being inspected for the NCT this will result in a failure and request to return, costing you a re-testing fee.

Ensure the car is clean inside and out

While neglecting to clean the car inside and out won’t necessarily result in an automatic fail for your NCT, there is a chance that your assessor can deem your car too dirty and insist you come back in for a re-test. Plus, having your car clean will make the NCT process smoother overall.

The day before the NCT take out any unnecessary items, trash and other bits that are cluttering up the interior of your car and ensure that the boot is empty. Next, give the entire interior a wipe down and clean the car carpet and mats too. While it doesn’t have to be spotless it should be presentable and allow your accessor to easily access all areas of the vehicle.

When it comes to the exterior, take it through a car wash and get all the dirt and grime off the vehicle.

Wiper blades have been inspected and changed (if necessary)

Wiper blades are easy to forget about until it’s too late and they need replacing right away. However, they can also be a key reason for failing the NCT. Before going into the testing centre, check your wiper blades to ensure they are aligned properly and not showing signs of wear.

It’s important to do this step a couple of days beforehand so that you have time to find replacement blades, put them on, and align them correctly well before the test.

Top up all fluids

Remember – what’s under the hood counts. The day before your test ensure that you top up all fluids in the vehicle including the following:

  • Windscreen washer fluid
  • Engine Coolant
  • Engine Oil
  • Brake Fluid
  • AdBlue (if applicable)

It’s good practice to always ensure that fluids remain topped up in your vehicle, and you can use the NCT test as the perfect time to make sure everything under the hood is in order.

Make sure all paperwork is in order and accessible

When preparing for the NCT, having your papers in order is paramount to ensuring that the process goes smoothly. Plenty of people arrive at the NCT and then realise that they have forgotten their identification or other paperwork.

You are required to have your license and registration fee (€55) with you when going for your NCT. In addition, your tax and insurance must be in date. Failure to have these items with you will result in the failure and rescheduling of the NCT.

The NCT can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. The most important part is giving yourself enough time to prepare so that there are no surprises at the last minute and you’ve set yourself up for success. If you’re looking for more information on the NCT, check out more on the blog. You can also learn more about the NCT by visiting the Test Preparation and Process Page of the RSA website.

If you are driving a commercial vehicle, you can read about the CVRT test here. is one of Irelands top car insurance brokers, Contact us for a quote today.

2023-08-09T11:21:29+00:00October 13th, 2021|Latest News|