Know Your Rights: National Car Test (NCT)


My car is due an NCT soon. Have the NCT rules changed recently?


Yes, recent changes to the National Car Test include how defects are classified and how vintage vehicles are treated.

All cars over 4 years old must take the NCT. If your car is liable for testing, it is an offence to drive your car without displaying a National Car Testing Service (NCTS) disc.

How regularly your car is tested depends on its age. The test must be repeated:

  • Every 2 years, if your car is over 4 years and less than 10 years old
  • Every year, if your car is over 10 years, but less than 30 years old
  • Every 2 years, if your car is between 30 and 39 years old and you are not using it for commercial purposes (this used to be every year)

Since 13 August 2018, defects identified during the NCT are classified as minor, major or dangerous.

Minor: the vehicle has passed the test with minor faults. These faults must be repaired and the car must be re-inspected by the NCTS before you can get an NCT certificate.

Major: (previously fail refusal): the vehicle has failed the test. You must get it repaired and have it re-inspected by the NCTS within 30 days. If it passes re-inspection, you will get an NCT certificate.

Dangerous: (previously fail dangerous): the vehicle has failed due to a dangerous defect that poses a direct or immediate risk to road safety. The NCTS will put a ‘failed dangerous’ sticker on it. It is illegal to drive a vehicle with a dangerous defect.