Vehicles with the highest NCT error rate for the past year can be revealed in figures obtained from the Irish Independent.
An analysis of NCT test results from almost 1.42 million vehicles last year shows that a majority of 79 of the 200 most popular car models on Irish roads failed the test.
Overall, the average failure rate of all vehicles tested in 2021 was 47.2 percent – a significant decrease from the failure rate of 56.3 percent in 2020.
The failure rate has remained constant between 50 and 51 percent over the past three years.
However, the 2020 figures were skewed by problems with lifting equipment at NCT test centers, meaning checks on vehicle bodies and suspensions could not be performed for a period of time.
The numbers are released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) based on the results of all vehicles tested by the National Car Testing Service over the past year.
Preliminary figures for 2022 show that the default rate continues to fall, averaging 45.8 percent so far this year.
A spokesman for the RSA said it was very difficult to draw any conclusions or trends from the numbers, as research had found around a third of all motorists consistently use the NCT as a “diagnostic tool”. “They get a list of faults from the NCT and then go to their mechanic to have them fixed,” the spokesman noted.
“Our advice has always been that the NCT should not be used as a substitute for a full service as NCT testers cannot inspect a vehicle to the same level as a mechanic.
“The NCT results are just a snapshot of a vehicle at a given point in time, and drivers have an obligation to ensure their cars are in a roadworthy condition at all times.”
The highest failure rate last year was with the Lexus IS200 with 72.3pc of such models failing the NCT test the first time.
Other high failure rates among popular models included Volkswagen Bora (71.7 percent); Vauxhall Vectra (71.3 parts); Seat Cordoba (70.6 parts) and Nissan Primera (68.5 parts).
Other popular models with a failure rate of over 60 percent included the Citroen C5, Opel Zafira, Ford Fusion, Nissan Almera, Peugeot 206 and Hyundai Accent.
As in previous years, the 2021 NCT test results show a strong correlation between failure rates and a car’s age, with vehicles registered in 2017 showing a failure rate of just 17.4 percent, compared to 70.4 percent for cars , which were first approved in 1982.
They highlight that most models with high failure rates last year were older than the average years of registration for all vehicles, which was 2010.
However, the average age of some models with relatively high failure rates – Renault Grand Scenic (63.2 percent) and Peugeot Partner (60.5 percent) in 2011 and 2014 respectively, was below the overall average.
The RSA stressed that the results do not provide information on factors such as mileage, maintenance and service history of the vehicles.
The figures refer only to the first tests on cars and do not take into account the result of repeat tests.
At the other end of the scale, low failure rates have been recorded for several well-known models, with the Seat Ateca having the lowest failure rate among the top 200 models on Irish roads at just 13.7 per cent – or one in seven cars not to overtake NKT .
The average age of Seat Ateca models tested last year was four years – 2017 was the latest year that new cars could undergo a mandatory NCT in 2021.
Other models with below-average rates, which were also comparatively newer vehicles, were the Toyota C-HR (14.6 units); the Suzuki Vitara (18.2 parts); the Renault Kadjar (19.1 units) and the Mercedes-Benz CLA (19.8 units).
The oldest cars tested over the past year date from 1982, with 19 of the 27 vehicles, consisting of Ford Cortina, Volkswagen Golf and various Mercedes-Benz models, failing their NCT.
Classic cars, which are considered to be any vehicle over 40 years old, do not need to be submitted for an NCT if used for non-commercial purposes.
However, the RSA said owners of such vehicles still have a legal obligation to ensure their cars are roadworthy.
Across all models, Citroen was the automaker with the highest NCT failure rate among the top 25 brands last year, at 57 percent.
Other brands with above-average failure rates were Vauxhall (55.9 percent); Fiat (53.2 pcs), Peugeot (52.2 pcs) and Renault (51 pcs).
Lexus had the lowest failure rate at 38.4 percent, although the average age of its tested vehicles was the same as the vehicles with higher failure rates.
Dacia, whose 2021 vehicles were on average the newest tested, had the second-lowest failure rate at 39.6 percent.
The figures show the most common failures in vehicles over the past year related to lighting and electrical equipment, with 16.5 percent of all cars tested in this category failing – just ahead of steering and suspension (15.5 percent) and the side-slip test (12 percent) , which examines how far the vehicle deviates to the left or right with an untouched steering wheel.
More than one in ten vehicles failed the brake test, and a similar proportion had wheel or tire problems.
Less than 4 percent of all vehicles failed the emissions test.
The figures show that 82,065 cars were found to be in an unroadworthy condition when they were first tested last year, with 2,735 vehicles still found to be dangerous after a retest
More than 400,000 additional vehicles were tested in 2021 compared to the previous year, when many of the 49 NCT test centers were closed due to Covid-19. The Castlerea testing center had the highest failure rate at 61.9 percent, while the lowest rate was in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, at 39.8 percent.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/revealed-car-models-with-the-highest-nct-failure-rate-last-year-42244029.html Revealed: Car models with the highest NCT failure rate in the past year