Save Money and be safe!

Driving properly and keeping you car serviced will save you money and keep you safe. Consider the following points. 

  •  Aggressive driving: Increases tyre wear, is harder on your car which in turn will lead to replacing tyres and parts earlier than normal.
  • Driving at speed: Increases tyre wear, uses considerably  more fuel. Keep within the speed limit – it is cheaper and  safer!
  • Weight: Only carry what you need  in your car. Extra weight uses more fuel and is harder on tyres. If you don’t need it, leave it at home.
  • Tyre Pressure: Over inflation  or under inflation increase tyre wear. Tyres are costly so keep your tyres at the correct pressure. Check them approximately every two weeks when they are cold using a good pressure gauge.
  • Wheel Alignment.  Incorrect wheel alignment causes your tyres to wear unevenly. Have the alignment checked regularly. It saves you money.

You could expect a  front-wheel-drive car to do  minimum of 20,000 miles for front tyres, and double that for those on the rear. Keeping them rotated is the best way to get the most out of them.  For better and more even wear, move them diagonally between front and rear: i.e. R.H front to L.H rear. L.H front to R.H. rear. This should normally be done if you get your car serviced by a Garage or a mechanic, but keep an eye out that it is done.

In Ireland the legal minimum limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm.

Tyre performance, particularly in wet weather gets worse as the thread wears down and can be very dangerous leading to accidents. The greater the wear on your tyres the worse their grip will be in wet weather.  Thread depth should be checked more frequently once it reaches 3mm.  Tyres should be replaced before their thread depth wears below 2mm.  This is especially important when heading into the autumn and winter months.

Regular self checking your car will save you money as you will spot changes as they appear which in turn allows you to take it to the Garage in time.

There is an abundance of good used parts to be found if you need some replacements. On average a good used part will cost 80% less than a new one.

So when you are told that you need a new part check and see if you can source it from a good Car Breaker it is definitely the cheaper option.

Some parts which you should think about before deciding to buy secondhand:

  1. Brakes: Pads should always be new and you should buy the best quality that you can afford!
  2. Shocks:  Normally you should invest in new shocks. They are important for comfort and  play an essential role in stopping your car properly when braking, however your Mechanic will know if a used shock is worth the effort in fitting it.
  3. Clutch: Changing a clutch can be an expensive repair so  be careful if using a secondhand one, weigh up the costs before deciding.
  4. Bearings: These are parts that wear over time so it is probably not advisable to replace them with something that’s already half worn.
  5. Batteries: New batteries will come with a warranty and will sometimes work out cheaper than buying 2ndhand.
  6. Tyres: Partly worn tyres may appear to be cheaper, but look closely at the amount of tread mm you get for your money. New tyres will have 8 mm of tread. So weigh up how much tread you are getting. Always check if the tyre has any lumps or bumps on it, if so don’t buy.
  7. Air Filter: Is not an expensive part, so always buy new. A clean filter makes you car more fuel efficient, and will save you money on fuel.

Get into the habit of checking your car over every week. It will save you from breaking down and costing you money. A few tips:

Lights: Keep your indicators and headlamps clean and ensure all bulbs are  working properly. Be able to see, and be seen.

Fuel: Stay out of the red, always have a good amount of fuel in your tank. If it runs out while driving,  it may suck up some dirt from the tank which will cause even more trouble and expense for you. Not to mention the hassle.

Windscreen water:  Make sure the windscreen water reservoir is filled up and put some wash aid into it. It is very annoying if you are driving and cannot wash your screen. It can also be dangerous as your view could be severely restricted with a dirty windscreen.

Engine water/Coolant:Visually inspect and top up the reservoir if needed to ensure it is up to the correct mark.  If the coolant runs out you will severely damage your engine, which is a very costly business.

Oil: Check levels when cold and while the car is on level ground. Top up if necessary. Keep an eye out for leaks on the ground underneath the car.

Electrics : If any warning lights appear, check your drivers handbook if you don’t what they mean. If they are red and staying on don’t move!

Windscreen and Wipers: Clean them regularly, it helps you see out. Put some additive into your screen wash solution, it prevents smearing.

Tyres – Make sure to check tyre treads and walls for excessive wear and damage.

In Summary, care for your car and you will reap the rewards financially and from a safety viewpoint.



NCT – Information and news.

At the moment, there is a real problem getting your car tested. It seems that there is  a huge backlog of tests and the NCT centres are not able to cope with demand . A lot of people are complaining about being unable to get appointments in a timely fashion despite NCT Centres’ extended opening hours and working 7 days a week.

The notice on the NCT website today reads:

There is currently heavy demand for NCT appointments on-line. If the only dates available fall beyond the expiry of your current NCT, please contact our booking helpdesk on 01 4135992′.

Some points worth noting:

  • You must not drive a car which does not have a current NCT certificate. Its the law.
  • The Gardaí can impound your car if they stop you while  driving a car with an out of date NCT cert.
  • You can also be given 3 penalty points on your driving licence.

Some tips and Stats which might help you.

  • Prepare properly for the test by having your car serviced .
  • A lot of Garages now do a Pre NCT inspection. This can save you money and time.
  • Check all of the simple items by visual inspection like, all lights working,  tyre thread should be 3 mm min. depth. Seat belts etc.
  • If your car fails the first time the re-inspection costs you an extra €28 on top of the original €55 you paid.
  • Visit the NCT website where there is a lot of useful information which could help you.
  • Stats below from 2014 show just how many cars have to return and be reinspected.

Year   2014


      Fail       Refusal

Fail   Dangerous


Full Tests

609,575  (48.3%)

       648,106   (51.3%)

     4,542 (.4%)



581,977   (91%)

    57,187   (8.9%)

        770  (.1%)


Statistics from full year 2013

               The Main failure items for 2013 were:


   Front Suspension


   Tyre Condition


  Brake Line / Hoses


   Stop Lamps


  Steering Linkage

  • 2009 Reg Vehicles: First time Pass Rate was 73% and Re-test Pass Rate is 96%
  • 2007 Reg Vehicles: First time Pass Rate was 65% and Re-test Pass Rate is 95%
  • 2005 Reg Vehicles: First time Pass Rate is 53% and Re-test Pass Rate is 93%
  • 2003 and older Reg Vehicles: First time Pass Rate is 37% and Re-test Pass Rate is 89%

As  you can see from the above stat., as your vehicle gets older the fail rate increases, so preparing for the test is very important.

  • Car testing is not just another government imposition. It is very important that the vehicle you drive is in a roadworthy condition.
  •  Keeping your car in good condition makes driving safer for you and other road users.
  • A well maintained car is less likely to breakdown or be involved in a crash.
  • This could save your life or avoid injury to yourself or other road users.

For People involved in the Motor trade business, note:

You can now avail of the NCT trade scheme for Main Dealers, Independent Garages and sPSV Industry. This entitles you to:

  • Quick and smoother check in process, no need to produce identification as your details are already saved.
  • A monthly statement of your activity emailed directly to you containing such information as a full breakdown of the number of cars brought for inspection by your company during the month, where the vehicles were inspected, the dates of the inspection, the registration numbers  etc.
  • Receive regular updates regarding important information for them on NCT test criteria and other NCT related data that we feel will be of use to them.
  • The possibility in the future of been informed of cancellations/slots available in the centre nearest to you. 

You can sign up on line at choose the TRADE button. You will need to provide them with a copy of the following documents:

  • VAT Number – The Tax Clearance Certificate
  • TAN Number – For TAN numbers they do not require any documentation
  • Company Registration Number – Company Headed Paper
  • Personal Insurance Policy Number – Personal Car Insurance Policy
  • Motor Insurance Policy Number – Motor Traders Policy

The worry for  all going forward is that as the car parc gets older, as it has been doing for the past few years during the downturn the present NCT set up may not be able to cope with the increased demand for testing. It will be interesting to see how it will be handled by the Department of Transport and Applus+ Car Testing Service Ltd. At the very least in the short term a lenient view should be adopted by the authorities and the Gardaí if a motorist is driving a car which doesn’t have a current NCT cert, provided of course that the motorist can prove that they have applied and are waiting in the queue which seems to be getting longer by the day.

For more about NCT visit