South Meath Driving School

Making Irish Roads Safer

We use a 1.4 litre Toyota Yaris.

    Dual control means the tutor has a clutch and brake pedal on the passenger side for demonstration or emergency purposes.
    This car is very easy to drive and allows good vision in all directions.
    Diesel engine and manual gears.
    Seats are adjustable to suit small or tall people. Wing mirrors electronically adjustable
    Perfect for learning to drive.

Archive for the ‘NCT’ Category

Posted by Louis on March 11, 2016

NCT Survey

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is carrying out a review to assess the current arrangements for the National Car Testing Service (NCTS). The NCTS is provided under contract by Applus Car Testing Service Ltd, which is responsible for all aspects of the delivery of the service. The RSA is seeking your input on the current service and on opportunities for further improvement. The RSA wish to hear from those who have positive feedback of the current service and also from those who may have suggestions for improvement. Where you consider changes are necessary, suggestions as to how the current NCTS arrangements can be improved would be welcomed. Please note that this review covers the service as a whole and if you have a specific complaint relating to a vehicle or test, please refer to the normal complaints procedure accessible through We would be grateful if you would complete this feedback form to assist us in understanding the opinions of NCTS customers and other stakeholders. We expect it will take about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you for your time.


Above is the introduction to the RSA’s Survey Monkey review of the NCT. Anyone with access to a computer should spend the valuable 10 minutes  that it takes to complete the survey. Go to to find it.

Of all the tests that the unfortunate motorist has to undergo, I hear most complaints railed against the operators of the NCT. It is your chance to present your tuppence worth! While it’s only a survey and you may not see any or many changes in the near future, let your shout be heard. Same for those who vote on election day. I often hear individuals say ‘Mine is only one vote, what will it matter?’ What folly. If it cannot be counted then it won’t matter. Look at the Keenagh count centre in Longford-Westmeath. The no. 2, 3  etc. vote counted bigtime.

The cost of the test at 55 euro and a retest at half that is there to challenge. The payment method by laser card only is mooted. God be with the death of the half crown and its horse and the penny with the clocking hen! Soon we won’t need to have a penny in the pocket.

If it is a visual retest only, at present, it’s free. My whinge – and I’m not from Mayo – is the appeal system. There is little effort made to let us know what is available as regards appealing. You are gone home with the unwanted result, when a complaint should have been made there and then with the supervisor. If your journey was from Ballynacarrigy to Kells, there’s not much point having to return to Kells to show your car fault the next day or in a week to the supervisor. He may tell you the fault could have been meddled with meanwhile. As for appealing to the independent assessors with your complaint, well, I found that they held exactly with the supervisor in the NCT centre. Oh, but you can always go to the District Court and appeal. Another waste of time, energy and money. How the NCT people know that. Yes you might get a favourable result. So did Pyrrhus defeat the Romans in the 3rd century, at what cost? He gave us the phrase, ‘A Pyrrhic victory.’

The pressure on those NCT garages is severe. They’re open seven days a week to cope. Surely that asks questions of the service provider as to the efficiency of that service. How much overtime is being worked? Are the demands too great on staff? If the queue is long, can the inspection be always adequate? Might one unroadworthy vehicle accidently get back on the road for a further year or two? Let your voice be heard.

As a driving instructor, I so often hear the innocent youngster bemoaning the fact that it’s difficult to acquire a first car. I remind them of the cost. The motorist is screwed from morning to night, January 1 to December 31 and in a leap year on February 29th! With quotes of up to 5,000 for a first insurance, just where would you be going? Protecting a No Claims Bonus is another costly affair with the majority of motorists paying out thousands in cash for the privilege. Then there’s NCT and the rest. And beware of yellow lines if you need a newspaper.

Like Frank Kelly might have said, boys a boys, it’s still great to be young. Enjoy the bus ride, though, for as long as you can.

Posted by Louis on January 20, 2015

An NCT Experience

Vehicles in Class B – cars, vans and jeeps – that are over four years old are required to have a NCT (National Car Test) certificate. This system of testing was introduced in the year 2,000. Peoples stories of their trials and experiences are akin to the Canterbury Tales, especially when fuelled by the comfort of a bar stool. Not all those tales are imaginary let alone exaggerated. Thus, I relate Jane’s tale.

Jane’s car failed the NCT (last year) due to ‘advanced corrosion’ of the brake pipes, the report stated. In the NCT manual under the heading, ‘A reason for failure: brake pipes,’ it states, ‘Perished, kinked, damaged or rusted to the extent that the pipe is pitted.’ According to the free encyclopedia, ‘Pitting corrosion or Pitting’ is defined as ‘a form of extremely localised corrosion that leads to the creation of small holes in the metal.’

I also discussed relevant matters with Jane’s mechanic and I viewed the brake pipes.

After the first test, the inspector told Jane that her car had failed because the brake pipes were in a state of advanced corrosion. That was the only area of failure. She returned her car to her mechanic who had prepared it for the test. He expressed great surprise at the cause of failure as the pipes were steel and in excellent condition according to him. He brushed up the pipes (two) and put a coat of black paint on them.

Jane took her car for test no. 2. It failed again for the same reason – corroded brake pipes. The inspector on this occasion told Jane that he had consulted with the inspector who examined the pipes during the first test. That appeared peculiar to Jane that such consultation should have happened.

It was back with the car to the mechanic again. He knew at that stage that the only option was to replace the steel brake pipes with what he termed copper pipes of a lesser quality. He handed Jane the two steel pipes which he had removed.

Then it was NCT no. 3 and, alas, the car passed. Jane then asked to speak with a supervisor who duly arrived and identified himself. She told him of her experience and produced the same steel brake pipes to him for his observation and examination. He stated that the pipes were in perfect condition and that the car should not have failed the test.

Jane then lodged a written complaint with the NCT Customer Services Department, giving an outline of what had happened.

The written reply from that Department outlined that Jane should have returned to the NCT centre with the car when her mechanic found the brake pipes to be in such good condition. It went on that “… NCTs provide a fair and simple approach for people who feel they have been incorrectly failed …” Jane says she was not advised of this procedure after the first test or at any other time.

The most amazing statement in that reply was that because the brake pipes had been removed from the car there was no proof of their originality. This was a clear indication that despite proof of continuity of possession of the pipes by Jane and her mechanic, the guys from “Customer Services” totally ignored such and showed prejudice in favour of the NCT inspectors report.

Even in a criminal trial evidence of continuity of possession is accepted by a Court of Law, but it’s ignored in these circumstances. The other glaring piece of silence chosen by the Customer Service Dept was that no reference was made to what the supervisor had stated when Jane showed him the pipes. ‘Why, we wondered?’

But Jane wasn’t cowed by the indifference shown her. She made a further written appeal to the NCT Independent Appeals Process, AA Ireland. Surely there would be justice forthcoming this time.

Their response was in a similar vein … “Unfortunately, our role is to assess the vehicle’s condition before remedial work has been carried out  …”

Again there was no reference to the fact that the brake pipes are in Jane’s possession or to the statement of the supervisor.

Yet there was another chink of light in the tunnel. They advised Jane that she could appeal her case to the District Court. And that’s where matters stand at present with plans for the next move. It’s a slow process and who will call ‘Checkmate’ is not easily guessable. Jane is unbowed.

Posted by Louis on February 16, 2010

The National Car Test

The National Car Test (NCT) is a preventative road safety measure aimed at ensuring older vehicles are in sound working order. Nearly half of all collisions involved vehicles that were 9 years old or more in ’07 and 45% of serious injury in that year also involved vehicles that were 9 years old or more. A car can be any age , yet be roadworthy, thereby lies the problem with the owner. It is a small minority of people who are putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk by driving dangerously defective vehicles: the defect may be worn brake pads/discs, bald tyres etc.

In Ireland, cars must be tested 4 years after first registration and, thereafter, every two years. Should one fail the NCT, a retest must be booked within 21 days, and the vehicle must be presented again for a followon test within four weeks. Meanwhile, the vehicle may be driven on public roads provided it does not have a dangerous defect. A retest which does not require the use of a test-lane is free of charge. These are minor visual items like wipers and registration plates. Meamwhile, drivers should have in their possession the notice of the followon test for inspection by the Gardai, if required. A test may be done anytime within 3 months of the expiry date of the NCT disc. In ’08 over 835,000 cars were tested at NCT centres.

Penalty points, for not having a valid NCT disc displayed, apply following a Court conviction ( 5 points, thank you. ) For failing to remedy a defect, identified in a NCT test incurs 3 penalty points. Add to that a maximum fine of up to 2,000 eur and 3 months in jail.

To book a NCT : it may be done here or phone 1890412413.

The NCT test includes:


Exhaust Emissions

Wheels and Tyres


Steering and Suspension

Chassis and Underbody

Electrical systems

Glass and Mirrors



Fuel System

Miscellaneous items.

Some are of the opinion that having a car tested to discover all its defects, then take it to a garage, just for those repairs, is a cheaper way of doing the job. The chic mechanic calls it ‘mean’ and says there may be other defects in the mechanism etc. of a car which may not be uncovered in the NCT alone and which could be detrimental to the longterm life and safety of the car. Owners of cars may not be notified of a due date for the NCT, therefore owners should check for the 4 year deadline (from date of first registration) or, thereafter, check the disc and apply for the test a few months before expiry date. ( For a driving test, the NCT disc must be displayed on cars etc. that are 4 years or older.) There are some subtle little matters to be attended to, apart from the heftier mechanical stuff like the registration plate must be clearly legible, showing the EU flag, the county in which registered and, if the garage provider displays their name etc., it must be in a separate frame at the bottom of the plate; hub caps must be removed and the rear seat centre seatbelt should be rolled up neatly. Amber lenses that have faded to near white must be replaced. Any ‘With it’ mechanic will put you merrily on the road to a ‘Pass’ and the short change left in your pocket still affords the comfort of knowing that you are now roadworthy for another two years. (And, Oh, watch out for the little crater that looks like a pothole, they keep garages open longer hours!)

When the NCT was introduced in 2000, less than 4% of vehicles passed the test first time out, however, since then the pass rate has climbed to 70% for cars that are 4 years old. Those 9 years old have a pass rate of just 30% at first attempt. Overall, the benefits to the environment, with less pollutants, cleaner air to breathe, more flowers for bees to pollenate, is an important contribution to road safety and a greener planet.