Over 50% of cars failed the NCT Test last year with nearly 10% failing the re-test. If you are like me, and have a test coming up, chances are you are more than a little worried about the state of your car. My little beauty dates back to the glory days of 1999, so to say the least, it’s touch and go whether she passes or not. So without wanting to put too much money (or a single penny)into my VW Golf, I’ve researched the pitfalls and potential hacks to help you pass your NCT test.

It’s €28 to sit a retest. That ‘s after forking out the €55 to sit the test in the first place. Like most used cars in Ireland, it can be little things like failing to remove the hub caps off the tyres that can result in a fail.

Do not cancel less than 5 working days before the test.

If you cancel less than 5 days before your scheduled appointment or fail to shop up for the test you will be hit with a €22 charge. This will be added to the charge the next time you sit the test.

car wing mirror

Do not leave the retest for more than 30 days

If your car fails the first time you must sit your retest within a 30 day period. If you fail to do so you will be forced to sit a full test again, and at the full test price of €55.

Fluids – Keep them topped up

I’ve been stupid enough to leave the oil cap off. And destroyed an engine block as a result. So perhaps I’m not the best person to give advice. But if it’s one thing I’ve learnt is to keep the oil, coolant, brake fluid, steering fluid and windscreen wash topped up. It’s easy to do as it’s clearly labelled.

Get your car cleaned

Inside and out. Like most people cleaning a car is a chore. I have a four year old. And the back of the car is an absolute mess. Crumbs, crap and god knows what. Make sure the windows, lights registration plate and mirrors are all clean.

Empty the boot and remove anything unnecessary that may hinder the test. Child seats will be checked to see if they are fitted correctly. So take them out. And the child if you remember.

Seat Belts

Check seat belts are working properly and are visible. If the seat belt is frayed or sticking it may end in a fail.

Registration plate

If your number plate is missing or not clearly visible, that can be a fail. If the background, letters and numbers are the wrong size or colour that can be a fail too.



Check all the lights work on your car. Most cars in Ireland now drive with their lights on for safety reasons, which is car wing mirrorgood. Constant usage will wear out lenses and bulbs so give your car a look over, front and back. That includes number plate light, indicator bulbs and brake lights.


Remove the hubcaps on wheels where the nuts are visible. Otherwise it’s ok to leave them in place. Make sure tyres are in good condition as they are the number one reason for used cars Ireland to fail an NCT test. Remove the wheel hubcaps, this is only for wheels where the wheel nuts are not visible.  

For general road safety, it’s important to ensure your tyres are in good condition. Tyre condition is one of the biggest NCT failure reasons so inspect them carefully.  Check to see the threads are not damaged or worn, the pressure is correct and there are no visible tears or bulges.


If you suspect the suspension is faulty get it checked by a mechanic. Along with tyres, the suspension on cars is one of the top reasons for failing the NCT in Ireland.


On the day of the test you must bring the NCT cert, the original registration certificate and also a form of ID. Usually a driving licence does the trick.

So that’s it. I’ve got my test coming up this Sunday. Now all I need to do is take my advice and sort my car out. Good luck!