Test Preparation and Test Process

Find out how to prepare for your test, how much the test costs and what the test examines. Download the testers manual.

Preparing your vehicle for the NCT.

Please prepare for the test by ensuring that:

  1. You check your vehicle engine for oil and water and ensure the windscreen washer is topped with water.
  2. The boot is empty and your vehicle is clear of all valuables and personal belongings. 
  3. The vehicle is reasonably clean (especially the under body).
  4. Wheel hubcaps are removed (only in the case where wheel nuts are not visible) and the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.
  5. The engine is in a fit state to be tested e.g.Cam belt/Timing belt. You may be asked to sign a disclaimer at the test centre.
  6. All seat belts and clips are fully visible (including rear). 
  7. We recommend you have your lights checked and set prior to the NCT 
  8. Ensure you vehicle is at a normal operating temperature prior to arriving at the test centre for inspection.

For further assistance view NCTS short video on preparing for your NCT.

Documents required at the NCT

  1. Ensure you bring your vehicle registration book, registration certificate or licensing certificate with you to the test centre. 
  2. You bring identification in the form of Driving Licence or Public Services Card with you on the day of the test. Failure to provide identification will result in the vehicle not being issued with an NCT certificate at the time of the test. 
  3. Ensure you bring your test fee including any applicable cancellation fee, payable by cash, laser card and all major credit cards. (excluding American Express) 

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. 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.

The test process & what the test examines

You should arrive for your test booking at least 15 minutes before your slotted booking time.

The items to be tested are specified in the EU Directive 2014/45/EU and include the following

  • 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 (2021) (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, July 2014 and May 2018.