I always feel a bit nervous arriving at the NCT centre. It’s similar to exam nerves except this time I’m nervous for the car and I always hope that “we will be ok”. It is at this special time that only comes around every two years that the car and I become one and like an anxious parent I wave goodbye and wish her well as the man in overalls takes the keys and drives her away.
But let’s backtrack a bit. For the best chance of success, preparation for the NCT begins in advance. You don’t just roll up at the centre and hope for the best with lights not working, bumper hanging off and the repair engine light showing.
The day before the test the oil and water get topped up, tyre pressures checked, boot cleared of all debris and hubcaps removed. Of course there is also the frantic last minute search for the driver’s registration booklet. And don’t forget to check your lights.
The day arrives and it’s off to the NCT centre. Even with all of the above taken care of, panic may set in at this stage. Rational can sometimes go out the window under the pressure. Even though your car has been functioning normally in the days and weeks before the NCT you become convinced that there must be something wrong and that the NCT will uncover some costly fault with your car that will cost a fortune to fix.
All this pressure means that you have probably arrived extra early at the NCT centre for fear of being late and missing your test. For this you can enjoy laps of the centre while you keep your car at “normal operating temperature”.
Then you part with your cash for the pleasure of taking the test and scurry into the viewing area to join the other anxious owners (parents) to watch your beloved. You wait anxiously for your car to appear. And here it comes. Phew you think to yourself, at least the car started! Then the bouncing, shaking, poking, and pulling begin as you look on with genuine concern for the welfare of your car after all this manhandling!
After your car has been bounced to within an inch of its life, it’s back to the office to face your fate.
Will it be a pass or fail? The tester’s face gives no clues. And then as he passes you your certificate you breathe a huge sigh of relief. We passed! You smugly take your certificate. After all the anxiety comes pure elation. In your heart you know you will have to return but for now you just feel happy that your car has been deemed roadworthy for another year!
13th December, 2012