- NCT

National Car Test (NCT)

The National Car Test (NCT) is a preventative road safety measure that ensures vehicles using Irish roads are subject to a basic safety check at regular intervals. Find further information about the test including what the test examines and important recent updates.



Important Notice re NCT

Stolen NCT Certificates

NCT certificates and discs containing the following serial numbers were stolen during a robbery at a NCT centre.

E0215501 – E0216000
E0196751 – E0197000
E0196501 – E0196720 

If you are purchasing a second hand vehicle we would urge that you check the serial number on the NCT disc to ensure it is not stolen.

If you have any doubts regarding the validity of a NCT Certificate then please contact NCT on (01) 4135994 who will quickly confirm the validity of the Certificate.

You can also check the expiry date of a NCT Certificate on the NCT website to ensure the validity of a Certificate.


Changes to NCT Test - May 2018

In accordance with EU Directive 2014/45, a number of changes to periodic vehicle inspection are coming into force across all EU Member States over the coming months with the first of these changes taking place from the 20th May 2018. These changes are to unify vehicle inspection across the EU.
Implementation of the new changes will take place from the 20th May 2018 and the changes are as follows

  • Recognition of unexpired term of Roadworthiness Certificates issued by other Member States
    If you import a second hand vehicle from another EU Member State and the vehicle has a current EU Roadworthiness Certificate, you can have the unexpired portion of the certificate recognised by exchanging your out-of-state roadworthiness certificate for an Irish issued EU recognition certificate..
    In order to obtain an EU recognition certificate for a private vehicle you must complete an application form (available on the NCTS website) and return the completed application form and required fee of €15.50 (this fee is being waived until further notice) with the original or a certified true copy of the out of state roadworthiness certificate (if the certificate is not in English, please ensure you provide a translation of the certificate in the English language) to the following postal address: Certificate Administrator, Applus Car Testing Service Ltd, Citywest Business Campus, Lakedrive 3026, Naas Road, Dublin 24, D24 RC8V. The Irish issued EU recognition roadworthiness certificate will be issued by post to the current registered owner of the vehicle.
  • Amendments to treatment of Vintage Vehicles
    Private cars registered prior to 1.1.1980 are exempt from testing.  If your vehicle is more than 30 years old and registered post 1.1.1980, (based on the vehicle's date of first registration) and you are not using your vehicle for commercial purposes, it will now have to undergo a roadworthiness test every two years instead of annually.  If you are using your vehicle for commercial purposes, for example as a wedding hire vehicle, there is no change to the test frequency and you must continue to have your vehicle tested annually.
    Please note: if your vintage vehicle was inspected during the period 20th May 2017 to 19th May 2018, under these new regulations, you will be entitled to a two year certificate. NCTS will endeavour to write to each customer affected detailing the requirements in order to amend their current NCT certificate. All queries regarding this change can be dealt with by the customer service department on (01) 4135994.
  • Categorisation of deficiencies into Minor, Major & Dangerous
    In accordance with EU Directive 2014/45 from 13th August 2018 defects will be classified as minor, major or dangerous and will appear in this format on your NCT Vehicle Inspection Report
    Minor Result
    Should a customer receive this result, the car has passed the test with minor faults recorded. The customer is required to have these faults repaired. The customer will have to present the vehicle for re-inspection before an NCT Certificate is issued
    Major Result
    Previously classed as a Fail Refusal:
    The customer will be advised that the vehicle has failed the NCT. The vehicle owner 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
    Dangerous Result
    Previously classed as Fail Dangerous:
    Where a vehicle is failed because of a dangerous defect that constitutes a direct or immediate risk to road safety such that, the vehicle 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. The vehicle must be presented for re-inspection before an NCT Certificate is issued.
    It is illegal for a motorist to drive a car with a dangerous defect, which means the vehicle owner may incur penalty points and a court appearance if caught by An Garda Síochána.
  • Amendments to treatment of vehicles which transfer from SPSV to Private
    Upon a vehicle ceasing to be a public service vehicle, the test due date for such a vehicle shall be on the basis that the next test due date shall be the date on which the then current test by date expires and each subsequent test due date shall be the anniversary of that date.

Presenter identification at NCT

Anybody who is presenting a vehicle for an NCT is required to produce their Driving Licence (or Public Services Card) as a form of identification. Please ensure you bring your Driving Licence (or Public Services Card) with you when presenting a vehicle, otherwise the NCTS may not be able to carry out the test. This is required to prevent fraud and to help facilitate investigations and appeals. All data checking is carried out in accordance with Data Protection requirements.

What is the NCT?

Introduced in 2000, the National Car Test (NCT) is a preventative road safety measure that ensures vehicles using Irish roads are subject to a basic safety check at regular intervals. 

All member states of the European Union are required to carry out a periodic test inspection of motor vehicles at regular intervals throughout their lifecycle.

An NCT certificate confirms that the vehicle has satisfied a basic standard of safety at the time of the test and the expiry date on the certificate indicates the last date before the next test is due for the vehicle. Further information on the duration of an NCT certificate can be found in our information note (PDF).

The owner has the statutory duty to ensure that his/her vehicle remains in a satisfactory roadworthiness condition and complies with the relevant provisions of the Road Traffic (Construction, Equipment and Use of Vehicles) Regulations 1963-2006 at all times when it is used in a public place. The NCT does not replace or purport to replace the regular maintenance that a mechanic needs to carry out on a car.


Test Frequency

Age of Vehicle Test frequency (other than taxis and vintage limousines
0-3 years No test required
4-9 years Every two years
10 years plus (10th anniversary)     Annually, from June 2011
30 - 39 years old registered post 1.1.1980 Biennial from 20 May 2018
Cars registered before 1.1.1980 No test required


Booking an NCT

There are 47 NCT test centres located throughout Ireland established solely for the purposes of car testing. Find the centre that is most convenient to you.

From July 28, 2014, car owners and members of the motor trade will be able to book an NCT test at any point prior to their next mandatory test. Previously, NCT tests could only be booked within 90 days of a vehicle’s test due date or 180 days in the case of a first NCT. From 28 July 2014, any test undertaken more than 90 days in advance of the test due date will be a voluntary early test and the test due date will be reset to the one or two year anniversary of the successful test (depending on the age of the vehicle).

Booking options

When your car is due to be tested, you must book with the NCTS: they will then send you an SMS, email or letter with details of your test appointment.

You may book your NCT by any if the following methods


Phone: 01 4135992 from 8am to 8pm (Mon-Thurs) and 8am to 6pm (Fri)


Fax bookings: (01) 413-5982 (please remember to quote your booking ID and telephone number, if available).

Postal bookings:

The Booking Department

National Car Testing Service Ltd

Citywest Business Campus

Lake Drive 3026

Naas Road

Dublin 24

If writing, please remember to quote your booking ID and telephone number, if available.



The car test fee is €55 (inclusive of VAT). NCTS will accept cash, debit cards and all major credit cards (excluding American Express).

The fee for a re test is €28 if the use of a test lane is required. A re-test that doesn’t require the use of a test lane or requires the use of test equipment for the purposes of carrying out an inspection of tyres only is free of charge.

Note: If you wish to cancel or rearrange a test you must give the NCTS five working days’ notice (not including the day of the test). If you give less notice than this a €22 surcharge (€11.50 in the case of a retest) will be applied. From July 28, 2014 customers who repeatedly fail to present their vehicle for testing, without giving the required notice, will be presented with a €22 surcharge (€11.50 for a re-test) on each occasion that an appointment is missed.

 Any queries relating to the cancellation fee may be made in writing to the Customer Service Department, National Car Testing Service, Lake Drive 3026, Citywest Business Campus, Naas Road, Dublin 24.

What the test examines

During the NCT, specific items are checked and tested. These include:

  • Brakes
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Lights
  • Steering and suspension
  • Chassis and underbody
  • Electrical systems
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Transmission
  • Interior
  • Fuel system

You can view a full list of the items which are covered in the National Car Test in the newly revised National Car Test (NCT) Manual 2014 (PDF).

Note: the tests undertaken by the NCT evolve over time as industry safety technologies improve and new safety concerns arise. A number of new test items were introduced in April 2010, January 2012 and July 2014.

Benefits of testing

  • Safer, more reliable cars
  • Longer vehicle service life
  • Reduced fuel consumption
  • Reduced air and noise pollution
  • Avoidance of penalty points. Since 1 May 2009, you can receive penalty points for not having a valid NCT.

Pass rates & Statistics

In 2017 the NCTS carried out 1.35m full tests on private cars, a decrease from 1.46m in 2016. When the NCT was first introduced in 2000, just 309,434 full tests were undertaken.   At that time the pass rate on the first attempt was just under 4%, compared to over 80% in 2017 for cars that are four years old.   The NCT is a key contributor to the roadworthiness of vehicles and also is an important preventative road safety measure that ensures vehicles, particularly older vehicles, using Irish roads are in sound working order.  View the NCTS Annual Results for further information.

Main Fail Items
2017 Top Component / Area Fails -NCT

Vehicle Component Area 

  1. Lamps
  2. Suspension and Steering 
  3. Brakes
  4. Tyres 
  5. Bodywork

Top Test Item Fails – NCT
Visual Fail Item

  1. Tyres (Condition, Specification, Tread)
  2. Front Suspension 
  3. Brake Lines/Hoses 
  4. Bodywork
  5. Stop Lamps

Equipment Fail Item

  1. Headlamp Aim - Download our information note on High-intensity Discharge (HID) Headlights (PDF)
  2. Brake Test
  3. Gas Result (Petrol) 
  4. Shock Absorber 
  5. Side Slip (Wheel Alignment)

Fail Dangerous

Where a vehicle has a dangerous defect i.e. a defect that constitutes a direct and immediate risk to road safety such that the vehicle should not be used on the road under any circumstances, the NCT vehicle inspector will issue a Failed Dangerous result. 

It is an offence to drive a dangerously defective vehicle on the public road.  The penalty for such an offence is a fine of up to €2,500 and 5 penalty points on conviction and/or 3 months imprisonment, (Offence under Section 54 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 and related amendments).

When the result is Failed Dangerous the NCT vehicle inspector will advise you as follows:

  • Of the existence, extent and nature of the defect.
  • That if you drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place while there is a defect affecting the vehicle which you know of or could have discovered by the exercise of ordinary care and which is such that the vehicle is, when in motion, a danger to the public, you shall be guilty of an offence.
  • That in the opinion of NCTS the vehicle is dangerous.
  • That you must make arrangements to have the vehicle removed from the test centre.

A sticker stating “Failed Dangerous” will be attached to the vehicle and the vehicle inspector will issue you with a statement regarding requirements for vehicles with a failed dangerous result.


All re-tests must be booked within 21 days of the initial test.  The fee for a re-test is €28 if the use of a test lane is required. A re-test that doesn’t require the use of a test lane or requires the use of test equipment for the purposes of carrying out an inspection of tyres only is free of charge, e.g. where minor visual items are concerned, such as replacement of windscreen wiper and registration plates.

Re-tests must be completed within 30 days of the initial test or a full test will need to be repeated and charged accordingly.

From July 28, 2014, customers who fail to present their vehicle for a retest appointment, without giving prior notice, will be issued with an €11.50 cancellation fee on each occasion that a retest is missed. Previously, a single €11.50 cancellation fee for a retest was applied if one or more tests were missed. Owners who repeatedly book and then fail to show up to tests, without giving prior notice, prevent others from booking tests at times that are convenient to them.

New NCT Regulations

Legislation governing the mandatory testing of cars has been consolidated into The Road Traffic (National Car Test) Regulations 2014, S.I. 322 of 2014 (PDF).

Previous regulations; specifically, The Road Traffic (National Car Test) Regulations 2009 (S. I. No. 567 of 2009), and various amendments in SIs 623/2011, 711/2011, 103/2012, 104/2012, 10/2013 and 303/2013 have been revoked.