The changes to the NCT will take effect immediately
A number of changes to the National Car Test (NCT) have come into effect.
The changes apply to all vehicles being tested from June 21 onwards. They will see Ireland be amongst the first EU Member States to commence the use of On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), testing under EU Roadworthiness Directive 2014/45.
OBD testing will initially be introduced on a phased basis in the NCT.
The NCT OBD scanner will only scan the OBD system for:
Vehicle Identification Number (VIN):
Using the OBD scanner, the Vehicle Inspector will verify that the VIN read by the OBD scanner matches the number on the vehicle. While a difference will not be a reason for failure, the OBD VIN reading will be recorded on the VIR (Vehicle Inspection Report) issued to the customer.
The Vehicle Inspector will record the odometer reading at the time of the test. They will also verify the reading using the OBD scanner and customers will be alerted to both readings on their VIR report.
Electronic Braking System (EBS):
Any error code associated with the electronic braking system will be recorded on the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) provided to the customer following their NCT inspection.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS):
Any error code associated with the antilock braking system will be recorded on the Vehicle Inspection Report (VIR) provided to the customer following their NCT inspection.
For the NCT to conduct the inspection, customers are asked to ensure: their glove compartments are unlocked and clear of personal belongings before their NCT; that any devices using the OBD port in the vehicle are removed in advance of the NCT test.
When an OBD error code is detected, it will result in the vehicle receiving an ‘Advisory Pass’ provided the vehicle passes on all other items being assessed.
Then, from early 2022, when an error code is detected, this may constitute a reason for ‘Failure.’
This approach will enable customers and the automotive industry to become familiar with this change to the NCT process.
Mark Synnott, Managing Director of NCTS explained: “We will see a new approach to the testing of vehicles with On Board Diagnostics (OBD), this check will be required to inspect faults on vehicle functional systems and this roadworthiness check will go beyond what is currently provided for within the current NCT test process, the NCT Vehicle Inspector will plug the OBD scanner into the vehicle's OBD computer port known as the DLC (data link connector).”
This port is usually located under the steering wheel but may also be found in the glove compartment of the vehicle. This OBD scanner will quickly indicate whether the vehicle passes, it also helps and alerts the Vehicle Inspector to any possible malfunctions with the vehicle.
Among the other changes that came into effect on June 21 in line with EU Directive 2014/45 is a new version of the NCT manual.
The NCT manual lists each item on which a car will be tested and lays down the test method and pass/fail criteria to be adopted for the compulsory road-worthiness testing of passenger vehicles. It provides guidance to the public and the automotive industry on why a vehicle may fail the NCT and the categorisation of defects.
Finally, the introduction of this new NCT manual will also see where a combination of deficiencies is recorded in the NCT in one area of a vehicle, the combination of deficiencies could lead to the result of the NCT being escalated to ‘Fail Dangerous.’
Where a vehicle receives this result, it is considered to constitute a direct or immediate risk to road safety and the vehicle should not be driven on the road under any circumstances.
CEO of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) Sam Waide said: “These changes will enable Ireland to meet its strategic objectives and continue to lead the way in improving road safety through the use of vehicle technology and contribute to significantly safer vehicles on Irish roads.”
The NCTS is responsible for the compulsory car inspection programme in Ireland. The primary aim of the NCTS is to improve road safety and enhance environmental protection by reducing harmful vehicles emissions in Ireland.