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Road Users

Buying a car

What to look out for when buying a used car. 

When buying a used car, we strongly recommend that you put reliability and safety first. Today there are numerous ways to check the safety standards, mechanical condition and history of any car you are considering buying. car-inspection

Check the EuroNCAP rating

If you are thinking about buying a car, whether new or used, you should first check the safety rating of the model of car you are considering. A good source of information is the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).

Euro NCAP provides a realistic and independent assessment of the safety performance of some of the most popular cars sold in Europe by rating their performance in crash testing. Consumers can then compare the safety performance of similarly sized vehicles.



You can use the Euro NCAP lookup feature to compare results of the most popular cars sold in Europe.

Check the vehicle history

If you are buying a car privately, it’s a good idea to get a vehicle history check beforehand to ensure that the car has not been seriously damaged in a previous collision. 

There are a number of companies who will check the history of a car for you. All of them charge a fee, but the peace of mind you get will make it well worthwhile. 

You can also verify the odometer reading by checking the readings recorded on the car’s National Car Test (NCT) disc. 

A pre-purchase inspection of a used car by a qualified mechanic will give you a good sense of the vehicle’s overall condition and some idea of any work needed in future. 


Car safety

Car safety features and technology designed to help you avoid collisions. Videos featuring six key car safety features. Information about Euro NCAP rankings

About the NCT

Information about the National Car Test (NCT) certificate. Replacing a NCT certificate. Certificates when importing a car from an EU state. Odometer readings.

Written-off vehicles

A written-off vehicle can also be referred to as an insurance write-off. This is a vehicle which has been declared by the motor insurance company as being damaged beyond repair or financially not worth repairing.

There are two types of write-offs: 

Category write-offMethod of disposal
Category A or B

Cars which have been damaged to such an extent that they must never be used on the road again. These vehicles must be brought to an authorised treatment facility which will issue a certificate of destruction. 

Category C or D

Cars which have sustained damage and are identified by insurance companies as financially not worth repairing i.e., the repair would cost more than the value of the car. 

Financial write-offs can be put back on the road again but we strongly recommend you have it certified by a qualified mechanic beforehand.


Driving a written-off car can be extremely dangerous. The physical strength and operation of the vehicle may be seriously compromised. This also applies to written-off vehicles which have not been repaired correctly.  

End-of-life vehicles (ELV)

When a vehicle has reached the end of its useful life or has been damaged in a collision and is beyond repair, it must be properly disposed of by its registered owner.

The end-of-life vehicle regulations place responsibility on all importers of vehicles to play their part in the recycling and recovery of vehicles when they come to the end of their useful operational life.

Compliance means registering with either each of the 31 local authorities or just once with end-of-life vehicles environmental services (ELVES).

Vehicle registration

  • For any vehicle registration queries you may have, you will need to contact the Revenue Commissioners who have the responsibility for vehicle registration here in Ireland.  
  • For any motor taxation queries you may have, please contact your local motor tax office or DVCSD in Shannon.

Related pages

Car Drivers

Road safety advice and guidance for car drivers, from car safety and maintenance to selling or buying a car and medical fitness.


FAQs on passenger cars, e-Call, safety features, buying used and imported cars, electric cars, clocked cars.