THOUSANDS of car owners are wasting time – and money – by not carrying out the simplest and easiest of pre-NCT checks themselves.
Key items that anyone could detect in a minute are failing the test time after time. That means owners have to bring back cars to NCT centres for inspection a second time before they can get their certificate.
But it can so easily be avoided, as we reveal today – see our accompanying check-list.
The few checks involve nothing more than simply taking a look at things. It is that simple.
Look at the brake lights, tyres (two of the consistently big reasons for failures), wipers and so on, to see if they are damaged or need replacement.
Critically, you don't need a mechanic or a garage to diagnose what is needed for many items – and that could save you money. And you certainly don't need the hassle of having to bring your car back for a second check – that could save you a lot of time.
When contacted by Independent Motors, a spokeswoman for the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) emphasised that if people checked in advance it could save them time and money.
"Basically, we are asking customers to take a few minutes to check items such as registration lamp lights, windscreen washers/wipers, brake lights and tyres to ensure they are all working in advance of the NCT."
There is no charge for re-testing these items but there is, as the spokeswoman pointed out, "the inconvenience of having to return to the centre to have a vehicle inspector inspect it before an NCT certificate can be issued".
And there is no reason to spend money on inspecting them because you can do it yourself.
However, some of the other reasons for perennial failure do need technical attention. Front suspensions top the list virtually all the time, according to NCTS statistics.
They and tyre condition, incorrectly adjusted headlights, brake lines/hoses and brake lights are the main problems that spell NCT failure.
Less than half (46.6pc or 357,815) of cars passed first time so far this year (end of July), with 407,500 failing. More than nine-in-10 (90.7pc) passed the re-test.