Passing the NCT

By Sandyford May 06, 2022

If your car is over four years old, it must have a valid National Car Test or NCT. Last year, over 1.4 million cars went through the NCT over 45% of these vehicles failed. There is no doubt that many of those failed tests could have been avoided if some simple checks and routine maintenance had been undertaken before the car was submitted. While some hardy motorists submit their cars to be tested, without ever checking the tyre thread, working bulbs and completing the required cleaning protocol, most of us want that precious green pass in our hands first time round.  A retest costs time and money and there is a certain joy in achieving the legally required NCT cert on the first application.

Here are some quick tips on passing the NCT test first time.

The Top five defects

The top five failure points at the NCT centers are Front suspension, faulty headlamp beams, malfunctioning brake lines and hoses, mechanical brake problems and steering linkages.  Not one of us would want to drive a car with any of these issues. If you think your car needs attention prior to the test on these or any other areas, contact your car service depot and book a pre-NCT test. One of main reasons why a vehicle fails its NCT is rust and body corrosion. In our fully equipped workshop at Sandyford Motor Centre , we use simple but proven techniques to remove rust and repair the damage at a very affordable cost. 

Check vital things before the test

Once you have booked your NCT check your car in good time and give yourself leeway to have defects repaired and prior to the test date.   Tyre threads are a particular bug bear and investing in new tyres might be wise, both in terms of ongoing safety on the road and for passing the test itself. Similarly, if there is a warning light illuminated on your dashboard it may mean an instant fail or that your car may is not safe to drive. A diagnostic check at your mechanics will isolate the issue so you can have it dealt with quickly.

A few reminders

Taking a few minutes to check potential faults is wise.  Making sure that the obvious checklist areas are all working in advance of your test will save you money and time in the long run.   Top up fluids. Check your wipers front and back.   This includes brake fluid, engine oil, power steering fluid and even windscreen washing fluid.   A quick look at the car manual will guide you to where all of these are located under the bonnet.  Check your seat belts. Untangle them if you need to and clip them into place.   Take all your personal belongings out of the car. If you leave a child’s car seat in place, the inspector is obliged to check that it has been fitted properly and is in good condition. 

Clean the car

The NCT requires that you present your car clean, inside, and out, and this means especially the mirrors, windows, lights, and registration plates. If your car is dirty, it will be more difficult to inspect and it is also a bit disrespectful to the inspectors, who are within their rights to refuse to test a dirty car. So, it is not a good idea to turn up with a half a ton of mud on the underside of the car and most car wash depots have a specific NCT wash, which includes the dirty bottom of the car. Give the interior of the car a quick clean too.  The air of care and attention won’t be lost on the inspectors.

At Sandyford Motor Centre, our expert technicians are available to assist in any service prior to a test or indeed, after a failed NCT test.  We pride ourselves at getting cars through the rigours of a retest. While an NCT is no substitute for a car service, it is a level of guarantee that no visual defects are obvious and a good NCT history will contribute to the resell value of your car.

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