Ireland's Publication for the refinishing & associated Industries

NCT delays not an excuse to neglect car maintenance

The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) is one of the many bodies that has seen serious disruption to its service as a result of the pandemic, which created a huge backlog of vehicles to be tested.

All through 2022 and into 2023, the service has also been struggling to find sufficient staff to help it deal with the backlog.

The consequent delays brought about by this perfect storm mean that many motorists are facing a wait of weeks – and in many cases, months – in order to get an appointment to renew their NCT certificate.

This has major implications for road safety.

Continental Tyres is advising motorists in Ireland not to use the delay in securing an NCT test appointment as an excuse to forget about the proper maintenance of their car.

“The NCT was introduced in Ireland in 2000 and since then, it has done a great job in ensuring the vast majority of cars on Irish roads are roadworthy and safe to drive,” Tom Dennigan of Continental Tyres Ireland commented.

“However, we know from surveys and feedback from tyre dealers across the country that many Irish motorists don’t give a second thought to the roadworthiness of their cars once they pass the NCT.

“In light of the recent long delays in NCT testing, some motorists might be dicing with danger in neglecting the upkeep of their car, in particular, if they received an advisory notice in relation to the functioning of their car when they last presented it for a test.”

Dennigan added: “For road safety reasons, as well as keeping your car in good running order so as to avoid a breakdown, there are a number of simple checks that motorists should regularly carry out on their vehicle.

“For example, with your car’s tyres, the vehicle’s only contact with the road, a tyre check can be done very simply and quickly by checking the tread depth and tyre pressures as well as keeping an eye out for any bumps or bulges in the tyre.

“As tyres are consistently in the top five reasons for a failure in the NCT, motorists should get into the habit of performing these simple checks at least every two weeks and certainly before a long journey.”

Other items that a motorist should regularly check on their vehicle include:

  • Brakes and brake fluid levels – proper functioning brakes are essential for your vehicle, if in doubt, have them checked by a professional
  • Lights: a two-person job as one person needs to walk around the car while the lights are tested
  • Windscreen wipers (not forgetting the rear windscreen!): a crucial piece of kit on your car that you could not do without in the event of a downpour – also, check the level of your windscreen wash at the same time
  • Coolant and antifreeze: consult your vehicle handbook on how to check and ensure these are both at correct levels
  • Oil: in particular for older vehicles that may use up oil quicker than more efficient newer models

Dennigan concluded: “The onus is on all motorists to proactively take responsibility for the roadworthiness of their vehicle, there is too much at stake to neglect the proper upkeep of the vehicle and motorists who only think of this at NCT time are really pushing the risk to the limit given the recent excessive delays in securing an NCT test date.”