I had to go for my NCT test yesterday.

For those of you who don’t know what the NCT is, it’s the National Car Test that has to be done every couple of years to make sure your car is roadworthy and standards compliant. It is stringent and the failure rate is nearly 50%.

Normally I’d get the car checked by a mechanic first, but this year I didn’t bother. I didn’t feel like it. As The Accidental Terrorist would say – I couldn’t be arsed. I did clean out the rubbish from inside the car though – all the old parking stickers, the half ton of gravel and the general crap that ends up on the car floor. I even emptied the ash tray.

I arrived at the centre and clocked in. I enjoyed a pipefull in the sun while I waited for my tester.

He came marching over, got into my car, and shot out again as if he had just met the ghost of his great grandfather in the passenger seat.

I wandered over.

“Is something wrong?” says I, innocently.

“Ze car – she is filthy.” Another frigging foreigner!!

There were a lot of hairs on the seats of the car. It’s not Sandy’s fault. She just likes to moult in the car for some reason.

“Just a few dog hairs” says I. That wasn’t strictly true. There are more hairs there than on the dog herself, but they are impossible to clean off. They stick like limpets to car seats.

“I could fail you ze test for zis” says he.

“I could kick you in the nuts” says I.

Well, no I didn’t say that. I felt like it though. What I actually said was

“Car owners are requested to have their cars reasonably clean. You surely can’t fail me for a few dog hairs?” [Few? Heh!].

He gave me a filthy look, got into the car and drove into the hangar where they do the tests. I groaned. He was in foul mood and was obviously not going to do me any favours.

I had a long wait. Others came and went. I had visions of my car reduced to its constituent parts, and my foreign friend x-raying every individual nut and bold looking for metal fatigue.

Eventually my name was called so I left the waiting room and went to the office. There was my friend with a face like a thunder cloud. If he was in a bad mood before, he was in a foul mood now.

“There” says he, as he slammed my certificate and keys on the counter. He stormed off before I could say anything.

I checked the certificate and report. I had passed. Every figure was bang in the centre of the green zone. It was as if the car had just left the showroom. I almost felt sorry for the tester. He would have been happier if even one of the figures had been a little off, because then he could have had something to berate me for.

I felt very sorry for the next victim.


As a footnote to the above, when I was leaving the centre, I saw a woman getting into my car. I thought it was my car, because I was looking at the registration plates. I looked again and laughed.

The woman gave me that strange look that I am so used to.

“Is something the matter?” says she.

“No” says I and pointed at the registration plates.

She came around to have a look. She laughed.

The two cars were side by side. Four years after being registered, the cars were back together again. The numbers were identical except that her number ended in 5, my number ended in 3.

What are the odds on that?

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A hair of the dog, and another immigrant — 21 Comments

  1. At least you get to sit inside in comfort. We have to stay in the car for the first part of the test and sit in the draughty hanger for the remainder of the time.

    We also have to go through the MOT test every year.

  2. At least here it’s only every two years.

    And off the waiting room they have a ‘viewing platform’ as if I’d want to watch them tear my car apart!!

    It’s a very unnerving experience, as a fail can be VERY expensive.

  3. I carried the father’s car in 2 years ago. It was all checked out by Mechanic before hand and fit to pass. On the way I stopped a neighbour’s farm where they were doing silage at the time so lots of dust around the place. The car looked like it had been in a dust storm by the time I left.

    Went to the Test Centre, parked the car, walked in, and gave in the key. Car went through and it failed because it was DIRTY!!!!

    Lucky it isn’t a full retest for that, they just need a visual inspection. Went off down the road to a local garage and gave it a good wash. I carried it back up to the test centre, and the little f**ker made a big deal of inspecting the car body before passing it.

    I dragged my own car through the car wash on the way to the Test Centre in November 🙂

  4. That has to be a scam. The point of the test is to make sure that the car isn’t a danger on the road.

    If being dirty is dangerous then God help us if they start giving us points for it.

  5. That’s funny you should mention the NCT. My friend arrived back from Switzerland last night and he was telling me about their equivalent of the NCT.

    He said that they drive it into the hangar with you in the passenger seat. Then they do the various tests like here and then they drive out of the hangar at about 40 – 50mph and jam on the brakes!

    Then they take it on a quick lap around a short little test track and then tell you if it passed or not. Bit of a white knuckle experience he said but sounds like heaven if someone arrives in a half decent car and you are the tester.

  6. Down here in Texas,You car has to be inspected every year,but it does not make much of a difference how dirty it is,and how many old beer cans are laying around ,as long the brakes work,window is not cracked enough to obstruct your vision,lights,turn signals work,ect.

  7. Same here in PA. Car are inspected once a year. They check all the lights, turn signals, glass, then they take it for a drive to make sure it;s safe. Then it must undergo an emissions check. This is where the bullshit comes in. All cars must pass an emissions standard set in 2005 no mattter the year of the car. My 1982 VW Transporter never passed, ever. The car was never meant to run by 2005 standards so every year I had to get an exemption. One year they exempted me after I bought an entire exhaust system.
    The emissions testing costs $40 on top of the price of inspection. It’s just another tax.

  8. I don’t have to do any NCTs!!! My car isn’t registered here so Nahnahnah nah nah!!!! I don’t miss them ONE little bit. Shower o’ sh^tes. (touch wood)

  9. At first I thought you’d developed a combustion engine. Then I realised you’ve always been an auto mobile. You must be proud to have passed at your age.
    I better take mine for a test.
    What’s brought all those much travelled people to live in your neighbourhood?

  10. Brianf,

    Don’t you love leaving the Inspection Station after paying $40.00 for emission testing and getting in back of a pack of trailer trucks belching out black deisel soot?

    How come nobody worries about their emissions?

  11. Being dirty here is a pre-requisite to pass. Because of the drought, we can’t wash our cars unless we pay $20 at the local carwash where they use recycled water. And dog hair is my excuse for car seat covers!

  12. Omani – If I were to personally go through the NCT, I’d fail every time. My headlights are failing and my emissions are way off the scale.

  13. We just got done today for the car being “full of dog hair”, also by a bloody foreigner.

    I’m tempted to get a full valet done on the car and then bill the NCT for it since that seems to be the only way they’ll take it.

    And if what you’re saying about there being more hair in there than what was on Sandy, then yours must’ve been in a state ten times worse than ours! 

  14. So they are still at that stunt?  You can take it from me that the car was pretty hairy.  Every time I opened the door, little white clouds of hair would drift out on the breeze.  [I don’t know why I am writing past tense as it’s still just as bad!]  I can accept a car failing because of some mechanical fault that could render the car dangerous, but I would kick up fucking murder if they tried to fail it because “it’s not clean”

  15. Yea, that’s definitely way damn worse than what ours was like. In fact my mom even said “you’d have to roll around on the floor of the backseats” to have a problem with the hair that was in there. The rest of the car, completely spick and span – the thing had just been serviced two days ago and the mechanic had no problem driving it to/from the house and his garage.

    Have filed off a letter of complaint. If they try pull this again when we go back for another appointment (thankfully today was refunded), then I’m going to end up kicking up a serious fuss. 

  16. I hope the letter was good and strong!  A complaint like that is so far outside the spirit and purpose of the whole exercise, I don’t know how they get away with it.  OK, you got a refund, but what about your time? They have wasted not only your time but theirs as well.  Madness. 

  17. Pingback: TheChrisD » Blog » The sham of the NCT

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