Q&A: We answer your questions after part of NCT test suspended

Cars will 'fail' the NCT test over the coming weeks regardless of the mechanical condition of the car

Cars which undergo the National Car Test (NCT) over the coming weeks will be issued with a ‘fail’ notice, regardless of the mechanical condition of their car.  Photograph: Dara MacDonaill/The Irish Times.

Cars which undergo the National Car Test (NCT) over the coming weeks will be issued with a ‘fail’ notice, regardless of the mechanical condition of their car. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill/The Irish Times.

 

The National Car Test Service (NCTS) on Wednesday announced an element of the test was suspended due to safety concerns over the car lifts.

Cars which undergo the National Car Test (NCT) over the coming weeks will be issued with a “fail” notice, regardless of the mechanical condition of their car.

What is the story with the National Car Test ?

Applus+ which runs the National Car Test (NCT) centres has suspended part of the test, the bit which involved the use of car lifting equipment.

What does it mean for me?

If your car is due an NCT you will not be able to pass the test.

So what happens?

You do the parts of the test you can do, and when the issue with the lifting equipment is resolved, you come back and complete the test.

Do I have to pay twice?

No

So when I do the first bit and my car is ok, do I get a pass?

No. Regardless of the mechanical condition of your car, you get a fail.

But I am required to have a valid NCT. What has the Garda said?

The Garda said you should carry your “fail” certificate with you in the car at all times.

What good is that?

It will show that the test was undertaken but not completed, meaning you did all you could.

So I won’t be prosecuted?

The Garda did not say that. It remains unclear.

That is worrying. What are the penalties for not having a valid NCT?

Five penalty points, up to €2,500 in fines and / or a jail sentence.

Will the Minister for Transport intervene?

Mr Ross’s department said the issue was being handled by the Road Safety Authority.

What did the Road Safety Authority say?

The Road Safety Authority said it has been working with Applus+ and engaging with “other relevant stakeholders to ensure that they are appraised of the issue and to establish the extent of the problem and possible resolutions”.

What is Applus doing?

Applus+ is checking the condition of all lifts in its 47 test centres to assess its lifting equipment. It says your test will have to be essentially in two pieces, you will have to come back when the lifts are cleared for use again.

Can I just skip it until the problem is fixed?

No. Normal rules apply. If your vehicle fails on one of the tests that don’t involve the use of the lifts, you must get it repaired in the usual way.

So how many people will be affected?

It depends on how long it takes to resolve the issue with the lifts. The AA said if the problem persists longer than two months, up to a quarter of a million motorists will be affected.

I’m not due for an NCT until March, will I be affected?

This is unclear as it depends on how quickly the lift issue is resolved. It could take six weeks to assess the problem, taking us into March.

And then what?

Lifts that are found to be structurally ok can be brought back into use immediately. With regard to others it is hoped a repair might work. It is possible some may need to be replaced. Then there is likely to be a backlog to deal with so centres will be very busy.

So what dates are we talking about for an end to this? May? June? Later than that?

This is the key question. Keep watching this space for updates.