National Car Test
The National Car Test (Irish: An tSeirbhís Náisiúnta Tástála Carranna; abbreviated NCT) is a roadworthiness test, which all cars in the Republic of Ireland must undergo. Following a recent competitive tender process, the Road Safety Authority awarded the National Car Testing Service contract for the operation of the vehicle inspection service in Ireland to Applus.
The National Car Test was introduced in 2000, since when all cars four years and older must undergo an NCT. The NCT due date is calculated by reference to the date of first registration of the car, with tests due every two years for cars younger than 10 years. Annual Testing was introduced in June 2011 and is now a legal requirement for vehicles that present for their 10th anniversary test and each subsequent test. Vehicles can be inspected up to 90 days in advance of the anniversary of the registration date. WARNING: Appointment lead times can be extremely long and the system can be very bureaucratic.
The NCT is available in 47 centres around Ireland and tests various aspects of cars for safety, including tyres, brakes and shock absorbers. It also tests the exhaust fumes for compliance with EU emissions standards. Other safety features, such as the spare tyre, seat belts and lights are also checked.
As of 2012, the fee for the NCT is €55 for a full test, and €28 for a re-test that requires testing equipment (e.g. emission levels, aiming of headlights, etc.) Re-tests that do not require the use of test equipment such as e.g. obscured registration plate, faulty windscreen wiper) are free of charge. However, if a confirmed appointment is cancelled with less than five working days' notice (Mon. - Fri., not including the day of the test or the day you contact NCTS) or failure to show up for the test, a €22.00 surcharge will be applied when the car is next brought in for testing. A similar surcharge of €11.50 will apply in the case of a re-test.
Upon successful completion of the test a valid NCT certificate is issued and this must be displayed on the front windscreen of the vehicle. Driving a car without a valid NCT may attract five penalty points in addition to any fine imposed upon conviction in court. Enforcement is the responsibility of An Garda Síochána. Local authorities can (in theory) refuse to issue a tax disc to a vehicle not having an NCT certificate and insurance companies could (in theory) declare cover for an untested (or failed) vehicle invalid.
There are exemptions for certain categories of vehicles such as vintage cars (registered before 1980) and vehicles based permanently on some offshore Islands.
NCTS centres are run by Applus Car Testing Services, who are independent of the motor industry.
- NCTS website, home page, retrieved 21 December 2012
- NCTS website,Locations, retrieved 21 December 2012