Auto advice: What do I need to do before taking my car for its NCT and what happens if it fails?

Our motoring editor answers your questions on the mandatory roadworthiness testing of vehicles

NCT retests that do not require the use of a test lane will be free of charge© Getty Images

Geraldine Herbert

What do I need to bring with me on the day of the test?

You must ensure you have your Vehicle Registration Book, Registration Certificate or Licensing Certificate with you when you arrive at the test centre.

You must also have identification (driving licence) with you on the day of the test.

Make sure also that you have your test fee of €55, plus any cancellation fee if applicable. You can pay by cash, debit card, and all major credit cards (excluding American Express).

What do I need to do before I arrive at the test centre?

Ensure your wheel nuts are visible for the test (if not, you’ll need to remove your hubcaps). Check that the boot is empty and remove all your valuables, personal belongings and anything unnecessary from the interior of the car. Make sure all your seat belts are visible.

It’s also worth checking the exact location of the test centre if you haven’t been there before to ensure you leave yourself plenty of time to get there.

What are the differences between minor, major or dangerous faults?

If your car has passed the test with minor faults recorded, you need to have these faults repaired and you then will have to present the vehicle for re-inspection before an NCT Certificate is issued.

A major fault means the vehicle has failed the NCT. You will have 30 days in order to have the item repaired and returned to the centre for re-inspection. An NCT Certificate will not be issued until the vehicle is returned for inspection. If the vehicle is not presented within the 30-day period then a new inspection will need to be conducted.

Vehicles that fail because of a dangerous defect should not be used on the road under any circumstances. A sticker stating “failed dangerous” will be affixed to the vehicle by the Vehicle Inspector.

It is illegal and unsafe for a motorist to drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect, which means the vehicle owner may incur penalty points and a court appearance if detected by An Garda Síochána.

The vehicle must be presented for re-inspection and receive a pass result before an NCT Certificate is issued.

Top Tip:If your vehicle fails you must book a retest within 21 days. Re-tests that do not require the use of a test lane will be free. Retests must be completed within 30 days of the initial test or a full test will need to be repeated and will be charged.

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