Still waiting for your NCT? Try these tips to keep your car in shape

Motorists are being urged not to use delays in getting their cars NCT tested as an excuse for letting their vehicles slide into disrepair.

e all know, and hear every day, of long delays in getting a slot to get a car tested. Backlogs of vast numbers of vehicles to be tested mean people are having to wait many weeks and months to get their cars to the test centers.

The service providers have found it difficult to find sufficient staff to help cope with the backlog.

When combined with the build-up of cars already well behind their due date as a carryover from lockdown, both testers and owners have been hit hard by the perfect storm.

While a degree of leniency is being applied on an ad-hoc basis by gardaí, where a car’s test date has expired and a new test has been applied for, drivers should maintain their car as if it were being tested the next day.

Remember that the day of the test is only a snapshot. Things can go wrong at any stage. Tires, for example, are among items constantly in need of attention.

They are consistently among the top five reasons for NCT failure – people are just not checking them.

Tom Dennigan of Continental Tires is reminding us all to make sure we have our cars fit for the road.

He said: “We know from surveys and feedback from tire dealers across the country that many 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 advice notice about the functioning of their car when they last presented it for a test. “

With that in mind, here are a number of simple checks you should regularly carry out to keep your car in good shape and ready for the test.

Tires

A check on tires can be carried out simply and quickly by checking the tread depth and tire pressure as well as keeping an eye out for any bumps. It is recommended that tires should be checked at least every two weeks and certainly before a long journey.

Brakes

Brakes and brake fluid levels are critical safety elements. If there is any “softness” when you press the pedal, have your car checked out by a professional.

Lights

You will need two people for this: one person needs to walk around the car while the lights are tested.

Wipers

Windscreen wipers (including the rear ones) can become worn and leave streaks on the windscreen which diminishes visibility. Also check the level of your windshield wash. They empty quite quickly.

Coolant and antifreeze

Consult your car’s handbook to check both are at correct levels. It’s still winter and you need them.

Oil

This should be checked on older vehicles especially as they may use a drop or two more than newer vehicles.

Mr Dennigan says the onus is on all motorists to “proactively take responsibility for the roadworthiness of their vehicle”.

There is too much at stake to neglect upkeep. He added that motorists who only think of this at NCT time are pushing the risk to the limit, given the length of delays.

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