New changes to NCT put a bigger emphasis on tyre and brake wear


New changes to NCT put a bigger emphasis on tyre and brake wear

Both cited as major defects contributing to fatal crashes, our Road Safety Authority expert says

NCT centre
NCT centre

Last year more than 1.3 million vehicles were tested in the NCT, with an overall pass rate of 48.5pc.

We know that the pass rate is influenced by the fact that some vehicles are not adequately prepared in advance of a test.

When a vehicle does fail, the list of items that require repair will be provided to you so that your mechanic can complete the repairs.

The NCT is a basic health check of your vehicle.

By law vehicle inspectors in the NCT cannot remove panels or dismantle your vehicle to check every component of your vehicle.

This is why the NCT is not a substitute for a full and regular mechanical inspection.

Tyre tread depthTyre tread depth

Tyre tread depth

Only your mechanic can remove vehicle parts to see if your vehicle has any hidden defects. This applies to the parts of the vehicle subject to a test and other components.

The introduction of new EU regulations, now in place, classifies fault results as minor, major or dangerous and will appear in this format on your NCT Vehicle Inspection Report.

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If you receive a report with a minor fault result, the vehicle has passed the test with minor faults recorded.

You need to have these faults repaired and bring the vehicle back to the centre for re-inspection and show they have been repaired before an NCT certificate is issued

Major or dangerous defects mean the vehicle has failed the test. If you see a major fault result, you will be advised that the vehicle has failed the NCT.

You then have 30 days to get the item(s) repaired and return to the centre for re-inspection.

The NCT certificate will not be issued until the re-inspection has been completed and your vehicle passes the re-test.

If you don’t return within the 30-day period then a new full test will need to be conducted and you will be required to pay the full test fee.

The last result classification is a dangerous fault.

This is where your vehicle is deemed to be dangerously defective. In this situation your vehicle has failed because of a dangerous defect that constitutes a direct or immediate risk to road safety to such a degree that the vehicle should not be used on the road under any circumstances.

Where such a dangerously defective result is recorded, this result will be made clear to you at the time of the test and will be highlighted on the report handed to you by the inspector.

A sticker stating ‘failed dangerous’ will be put on your vehicle. The vehicle must return for re-inspection and pass before an NCT certificate is issued.

Tyre tread depth

For example, if your vehicle is put through the NCT with tyres below the legal tread depth (above), or with excessively worn brake discs, it will be classified as dangerously defective.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that it is illegal for a motorist to drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect.

This means you may incur penalty points and, additionally, risk a court appearance if stopped by gardai.

I highlight these two fault items because they are the ones most closely linked to road safety.

Both are cited as the main vehicle defects that contribute to fatal crashes, according to our report, which analysed Garda fatal forensic collision files from 2008 to 2012.

Its main finding was that there is no component in your vehicle that’s as likely to contribute to a crash as your tyres.

They are a contributory factor in one in 10 fatal crashes, followed by brakes (a factor in 2pc).

The fact that the EU is raising the bar on these serious vehicle defects is welcome.

Another change worth noting is that anyone bringing a vehicle for an NCT is required to produce their driving licence (or Public Services Card) as a form of identification.

Passports are not an approved form of personal identification at the NCT.

For more information on the changes, visit

Irish Independent

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