Motorists want an overhaul of NCT system

Almost two-thirds of Motorists Want an Overhaul of Ireland’s NCT to Emulate UK System

Young people and women most likely to call for change

3 in 10 drivers don’t wash their own car or check tyre pressure or oil levels

13 June 2024, Dublin: Most drivers (64%) in Ireland would like to see changes to Ireland’s national car testing system that would enable motor garages across the country to perform the tests, rather than dedicated NCT test centres only. When asked, motorists widely supported bringing Ireland’s car testing in line with the UK’s MOT model, which would also increase the validity of the NCT cert from 12 months past the expiry of the last NCT, to 12 months past the date of issue of the new cert. This is according to the latest research by Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC (Aviva) which looked into driver’s views on the Irish system in the wake of significant backlogs in test centres throughout the country over the last two years.

In 2022, the estimated average wait time to be invited for a car test was 15.5 weeks and, in November 2022, there were 14,947 people in Dublin waiting to be invited for their test[1].

The research of over 1,000 adults throughout the country also looked at what drivers will and won’t do when it comes to car maintenance. The top three car maintenance tasks that motorists in Ireland will undertake were revealed as checking windscreen washer fluid (71%); checking tyre pressure (68%); and washing the car (67%).

Highlights from the Aviva survey include:

  • 21% of men would opt to maintain the status quo when it comes to the Irish NCT system but just 12% of women share the same sentiment.
  • The younger demographic displayed a stronger inclination towards changing the current model, with 7 in 10 (70%) of individuals aged 18-24 in favour of reform.

Alan Behan, Product Manager, Aviva said: 

It's evident that there's a notable call for change amongst the driving community here. While the UK's MOT model offers convenience by allowing motorists to select from a wide range of testing facilities, our current system confines drivers to dedicated NCT centres. The discrepancy in validity periods adds another layer of complexity, and as we have witnessed, can add to the likelihood of backlogs and delays in test centres around the country, particularly in recent years. Younger individuals especially demonstrated a strong desire for reform.

The practical challenges that drivers come up against as a result of backlogs at the NCT centres have left motorists driving without a valid NCT certificate and, while insurers look at this issue on a case-by-case basis and apply leniency where motorists are awaiting their test, most drivers would prefer to drive safely in the knowledge that they are legally compliant to do so.

In the Aviva survey, drivers were also asked about the fundamental car maintenance measures they will undertake themselves:

  • Just under 1 in 10 (8%) said that they do not perform any basic car maintenance checks on their car.
  • Men were more likely than women to try their hand at every car maintenance check.
  • Two-thirds of motorists (66%) do not inspect and check their brakes themselves.
  • Older cohorts were more willing to perform car maintenance tasks – 78% of those aged 55+ check their tyre pressure compared to just 46% of those aged 25 – 34.
  • Those aged 55+ were also more likely than younger individuals to wash their own car rather than to pay someone else to do it (79% of 55+ vs. 51% of 25 – 34-year-olds).
  • Just under half of motorists do not test their headlights and taillights or check to see if their windscreen wipers need replacing.

Alan Behan continued:

All motorists are required to maintain roadworthy vehicles, as mandated by motor insurance and road traffic legislation[2]. This research sheds some light on the tasks that, for whatever reason, people will or won’t do when it comes to their car.

It seems that many, but not all drivers, will monitor their windscreen washer fluid levels and tyre pressure. But fewer said they inspect their brakes themselves and/ or monitor the tread depth of their tyres. It’s difficult to say why this is, but a lack of competency and knowledge could be a key factor, while it’s also likely that motorists would simply feel more comfortable leaving it to the experts. And perhaps others feel that they simply don’t have the time to do these things

All of this prompts some discussion around whether key motoring maintenance skills are being lost as the years go by. If we had asked these same questions to motorists 20 or 30 years ago, there’s a good chance the number of people with the ability to perform these tasks themselves would be a lot higher. Some of the tasks on the list could be considered relatively easy and perhaps should be within the capabilities of every driver. They serve as crucial measures that ensure the safety of their car to be on the road.

Some of the basics before driving that motorists should be aware of are checking that their brakes are working, keeping their windscreen washer fluid topped up, and checking all lights and indicators. It’s also important to regularly check brake and engine level oils, as well as tyre pressure and tread depth. Drivers should also ensure to get their car serviced when necessary[3].

[1] DTL November 2022 Estimated national average time to invite for a car test

[2] NCT update - Insurance providers will be 'pragmatic and understanding' in their approach given the current NCT delays.

[3] Citizens Information | Safety advice for motorists

Media Centre

Visit our Media Centre page to find our latest new releases and media contacts details.

Aviva Group Services Ireland Limited, a private company limited by shares. Registered in Ireland No.322579. Registered Office: Cherrywood Business Park, Dublin, Ireland, D18 W2P5.