#MyCar2015 - Easy and hard way to get your car through its NCT
ESSENTIALLY you have two ways of passing the NCT.
The first is to take the straightforward route.
Bring your car to your garage, qualified mechanic or specialist outlet and get them to check it from A to Z.
They will then give you a detailed outline of the repairs they believe are warranted and an estimate of the parts and labour costs.
Garages have their hit-list of areas to examine. They have vast experience and it is in their interest that your car gets through.
Apart from the visually obvious, they know what elements are failing and what repairs are needed. They also know how to check for other critical failings.
That's their job. Sometimes a mechanic can miss something small that requires a re-test but most of the time you can be fairly confident your car will pass. And you have the fall-back of expertise if anything goes wrong.
This is not a job to entrust to anyone. Make sure you deal with a reputable company. If you don't, you run the risk of paying twice for an initial bad job - and having to take a re-test.
That's Route One. Obvious but not always taken, it seems.
Otherwise why would so many cars fail the NCT at the first attempt?
According to latest figures your car has, at best, a 50/50 chance of passing.
Are garages missing stuff? Is there a conspiracy to get you to spend twice on repairs - and pay the re-test fee?
No, garages are not missing items (certainly not enough to swell the failure rate to that extent). And No there is not a conspiracy.
But Route Two helps explain the high level of failures.
It is one many choose to take.
Basically you can run your car through the test without carrying out any repairs at all.
In effect that means you are letting the NCT do the garage's work for you because it will pick up on and identify exactly what is wrong.
That means you save on the time a mechanic would otherwise spend surveying, assessing and diagnosing problems in advance of the test.
The strategy has worked for many owners for a long time.
Ironically, it can also mean in certain circumstances, not having to spend on elements that a garage, anxious to cover all bases and avoid a comeback, might suggest need replacement but which the NCT might pass.
This way you go to your garage with your list of NCT reasons for failure clearly outlined and pay specifically to have them remedied.
Then you pay your re-test fee (€28 if NCT equipment has to be used) and should emerge with your certificate in hand.
As you would have to pay €55 for your first test anyway, many people reckon they save a lot more than the €28 re-test fee.
So that is partly why so many fail at the first hurdle and why on paper you have a 50/50 chance of getting through.
It also explains why so many cars - in excess of 5,000 - are found to be so dangerous their owners are advised to have them towed away.
And it is one reason not to go Route Two because your car can slowly descend into danger territory.
But whichever route you take, might I suggest you adopt a sensible and safe approach.
I know money is tight in many households and I know it is expensive to meet tax, insurance and fuel costs.
But you will reduce the risk and cost of failure, and of course major work, by keeping your car in a good state of repair all-year round. It can work out less costly that way.
That is especially true for brakes, lights and suspension.
Not only will it spread costs over a longer period, and ease NCT passage, it will reduce the risk of accident or injury.
And isn't that what the NCT was designed to do in the first place?
FOLLOW THESE PRE-TEST TIPS
Q SIMPLY keeping your car in good nick all the time will avert a lot of the hassle and fuss around the NCT.
Q As part of a weekly routine, for example, it only takes a few minutes for you - not a costly expert - to check on all your lights (headlights and brake lights especially), tyres, windscreen washers and wipers etc to make sure they are intact and working.
Q Check for jagged edges of metal or fractured bits of plastic around mirrors.
Q A lot of cars fail the NCT over faulty tyres. Check them for uneven wear and bulges - not alone will you fail but you will have less grip and risk a blowout.
QThe same major items continue to fail at the NCT so focus on getting them right. They are: front suspension, tyres, brake lines/hoses, brake lights and steering linkage. And remember if something is fitted to a car (like a rear wiper) the tester expects it to work.