NCT can now be done any time before due date
Motorists will now be able to get their car tested any time before their normal NCT date under new measures to be announced today.
Up to this they could test 90 days prior to the due date. But from today, they can pick their own time in advance.
The new arrangements could give respite to owners of cars approaching the 10-year-old mark. If they test their cars more than 90 days before the due NCT date they will get a two-year certificate. If they don't, they will get one year as cars over 10 years old have to be tested annually.
For the first time too, owners will get the mileage of their car – and up to three previous recordings – printed on their NCT certificate.
This is part of an attempt to thwart the practice of 'clocking' where mileage is turned back by unscrupulous sellers to enhance the value of the car. Owners will have to verify that the mileage shown at the time of their test is correct.
And those from the motor trade who book a test at short notice will now have to show their driving licence or a Trade Management System fob at the NCT centre. The NCT say this is designed to bring greater transparency to transactions.
The greater flexibility on testing times should also help anyone wishing to buy or sell a car because the vehicle's road worthiness will be right up to date.
Road Safety Authority chief executive Moyagh Murdock said printing mileage on the certificate will help to "combat fraudulent activity by unscrupulous sellers and make things easier for those in the second-hand car trade".
It is expected that the voluntary early testing will help change the pattern of NCT inspections throughout the year by reducing demand at busier times.
Around 50pc of the vehicle fleet is due an NCT in the first three months of the year – because most new cars have traditionally been bought in that period – and that puts pressure on the service.
Of the cars tested in the first six months of this year, 369,724 (49pc) passed with 381,822 failing; a further 2,646 were found to be dangerously defective.
Cancelling a test will cost €22 (€11.50 for a re-test) unless owners give at least five clear working days notice. The charge will be levied when the car is eventually tested.
The test costs €55. A re-test costs €28 if NCT equipment has to be used. It is free if it only requires a visual inspection.
Owners can check their test due date on the NCTS website (www.ncts.ie) by entering their car's registration.