Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

Almost half of 1.5 million cars failed full NCT last year

Almost half of the more than 1.5 million cars put through a full NCT last year in Ireland failed.

According to statistics by the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) and presented by, some 1,588,003 NCTs were carried out in 2023, with 747,820 or 47.09 per cent failing on the full test.

The top reason for failures was steering and suspension, which accounted for 14.6 per cent of failures last year.

Lighting and electrical faults were a very close second (14.3%), with fails for the slip slide test, which simulates driving on a straight, flat road without touching the steering wheel, coming third (11.7%).

Wheels and tyres accounted for 10 per cent of failures, while 9.6 per cent of vehicles failed on the brake test.

Out of the 50 NCT centres nationwide, Cavan recorded the highest failure rate in 2023 with 59 per cent of vehicles failing there.

Derrybeg NCT centre in Co Donegal was the second highest failure hotspot last year at 56 per cent, followed by the centres in Navan, Co Meath (55%), Ballina, Co Mayo (55%) and Clifden, Co Galway (54%).

As well as overall NCT failures, a vehicle can fail because of a dangerous defect that is said to pose “a direct or immediate risk to road safety”. It is illegal to drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect, as stated in the Road Traffic Act 1961.

Four of the top five ‘fail dangerous’ areas by testing centre last year were in Co Dublin; Fonthill, Northpoint 2, Deansgrange, and Greenhills. Cork-Little Island NCT centre in Co Cork was the fifth highest ‘fail dangerous’ area.

Ford was the marque with the most cars put through an NCT last year, with 171,129 models tested in Ireland. Of the 50 per cent that failed, the majority did so on lighting and electrical defects.

Chevrolet and Chrysler, both American brands, were the top two most failed marques last year at 69 per cent and 61 per cent respectively (based on car makes that had over 500 vehicles tested in 2023). The majority of Chevrolet fails were on the brake test, while most Chrysler models failed the steering and suspension test.

Citroen was the third most failed car make in 2023 (58%), with the majority coming up short on the lighting and electrical test. Toyota-owned Daihatsu was fourth (57%) with most failing on chassis and body, followed by the now defunct Saab at 55 per cent and mostly on steering and suspension.

It should be noted that the age of a vehicle, its usage, mileage and the care its owner has taken all play a big part in whether a car passes its NCT.

Meanwhile, the brand that recorded the most NCT passes in 2023 (based on car makes that had over 500 vehicles tested) was Porsche at 65 per cent. The German automaker is followed by Lexus (62%), Seat (59%), Land Rover (58%), and Hyundai (57%).