Avoid a testing time with an NCT
Fancy getting up at 4am to have your car tested? No, me neither, which is why I'm booking mine in in good time to avoid the queues.
Not having a valid NCT certificate can now get you three penalty points and an on-the-spot fine. Due to more second-hand cars being on the streets, thanks to the recession and our penchant for buying them in the first three months of the year, test centres are full to the gills, so much so that two in Dublin - North Point and Deansgrange, are now open 24 hours a day to meet demand.
Here's how to avoid the red-eye call:
Book your car up to 90 days in advance of the cert expiring: the new one won't start until it is due, so there's no loss.
Tests cost €55 and €28 for a re-test. You forfeit €22 if you fail to show up or cancel within five days of the due date.
Always bring ID with you - passport or driving licence; it's to prevent fraud.
You will no longer get a notice advising your NCT is due - it's up to you to remember. But the NCT site (www.ncts.ie) will send you an email in good time if you enter your car registration number and it will also tell you when the test is due.
Book online for your test directly - never use a website which isn't official - they may take your credit card details and scam them.