How Long Does the NCT Take?

How Long Does the NCT Take?

Wondering how long the NCT (National Car Test) takes in Ireland? The typical NCT test takes between 40 minutes to 1 hour to complete. Our article will provide an in-depth look at the NCT process, including preparation tips, what happens during the test, and what to do if your car fails. We’ll reference useful information from other sources to give you a comprehensive understanding of the NCT.


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Understanding the NCT

What is the NCT?

The NCT, or National Car Test, is a mandatory vehicle inspection program in Ireland. It ensures that cars meet specific safety and environmental standards. Vehicles over four years old must undergo the test every two years, and those over ten years old must be tested annually.

Why is the NCT Important?

The NCT is crucial for maintaining road safety and reducing environmental impact. It helps identify and address potential issues with your vehicle before they become serious problems. For more detailed information on the importance of the NCT, you can visit the RSA website.

Preparing for the NCT

Checklist Before the Test

Before you head to your NCT appointment, ensure your car is ready for inspection. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Clean the car: Both inside and out. A clean car allows inspectors to perform a thorough examination.
  • Check the lights: Ensure all lights are working correctly.
  • Inspect the tyres: Check for proper inflation and tread depth.
  • Top up fluids: Including engine oil, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid.
  • Ensure visibility: Clear any obstructions from the windows and mirrors.

For a more comprehensive pre-NCT checklist, refer to this guide from Cartell.ie.

Booking Your NCT

Booking your NCT in advance is crucial as slots can fill up quickly. You can book your NCT online via the NCTS website or by phone.

What Happens During the NCT?

The Inspection Process

The NCT inspection involves a series of checks and tests to assess your car’s roadworthiness. Here’s a breakdown of what happens:

  • Visual inspection: The examiner will look for any obvious defects or issues.
  • Brake test: This checks the efficiency of your car’s braking system.
  • Emissions test: Ensures your vehicle meets environmental standards.
  • Suspension test: Assesses the condition of your car’s suspension system.
  • Lights and electrics: Check all lights, indicators, and electrical systems.

How Long Does the NCT Take?

As mentioned earlier, the NCT typically takes 40 minutes to 1 hour. Of course, this depends on if it’s busy or not. However, this can vary depending on the condition of your car and any issues that might arise during the inspection.

After the NCT

Passing the Test

If your car passes the NCT, you’ll receive a pass certificate and a new NCT disc will be placed on your windscreen. This disc shows the expiration date of your NCT and indicates your car’s roadworthiness.

Failing the Test

If your car fails the NCT, you’ll receive a detailed report outlining the reasons for the failure. You’ll need to address these issues and book a re-test.

Wrapping Up

The NCT is an essential aspect of vehicle ownership in Ireland, ensuring that cars on the road are safe and environmentally friendly. The test takes about 45 minutes, but proper preparation can help ensure a smooth process. By staying informed and maintaining your vehicle, you can keep your car in top condition and pass the NCT with ease.


How often do I need to take the NCT?

Vehicles over four years old must take the NCT every two years, while those over ten years old require an annual test.

What happens if I miss my NCT appointment?

Yes, if you believe the NCT result is incorrect, you can appeal the decision. Contact NCTS for more information on the appeals process.

Are there any exemptions from the NCT?

Some vehicles, such as vintage cars over 40 years old, may be exempt from the NCT. Check the NCTS website for a full list of exemptions.

What should I do if my car fails the NCT?

If your car fails the NCT, address the issues outlined in the failure report and book a re-test. Ensure all repairs are completed before returning for the re-test.

Can someone else bring my car for the NCT?

Yes, someone else can bring your car for the NCT. For more details on this, refer to the article Can Someone Else Bring My Car for NCT? on Irish Cars.