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Road Users

Vehicle standards for vintage vehicles

The rules and regulations that apply to private and commercial vehicles more than 30 years old.

A vehicle becomes vintage 30 years after the date of first registration. For example, a vehicle first registered on 10 September 1988 became a vintage vehicle on 10 September 2018.

vintage-vehicle

Vintage vehicles up to the age of 40 must be tested

Vintage vehicles up to the age of 40 must still undergo a roadworthiness test, if used in a public place. Vehicles over 40 years old are exempt from roadworthiness testing but only if used for non-commercial purposes, and you are still required by law to ensure it's maintained in good condition and does not pose a risk to other road users.  If a vehicle is over 40 years old and is used for commercial reasons (e.g., as a wedding hire vehicle), a roadworthiness test is required. 

 


Frequently asked questions

This content is for general information only. It does not, and is not intended to, provide legal or technical advice or to represent a legal interpretation of the matters it addresses.

Vintage vehicles and roadworthiness testing

It refers to a 'vehicle of historical interest' which fulfils all the following conditions:

  • it was manufactured or registered for the first time at least 30 years ago,
  • its specific type as defined in the relevant national or union law is no longer in production.
  • it is historically preserved and maintained in its original state and has not undergone substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components.

Currently only private cars over 40 years old are exempt from NCT. Private cars aged between 30-39 years (inclusive) are required to do a roadworthiness test every two years. However, if the car is being used for commercial purposes, e.g., wedding hire then it will require a roadworthiness test. For more information, see our NCT webpage.

Vintage trucks can be used for commercial purposes i.e., to carry a load, and therefore they are required to be tested. These vehicles are tested to the standards that the vehicles concerned were originally designed to meet.

Yes. Regulations came into effect on 20 May 2018 regarding roadworthiness testing of vintage vehicles.

Vintage trucks first registered prior to 01 January 1980 which are being used solely for non-commercial purposes will not require roadworthiness testing.

Since 20 May 2018 vehicles between 30 and 40 years of age used for non- commercial purposes are required to undergo compulsory roadworthiness testing every two years instead of annually.

Since January 2020, any vehicle 40 years or older do not require a test.

Vintage vehicles used for commercial purposes will continue to undergo annual roadworthiness testing.

If it is being used to transport passengers or goods for hire or reward, it is considered to be used commercially.

Normally the colour should be amber, however if the vehicle was first registered before 01 July 1964 it can be any of the following:

(a) amber - where the indicator shows both to the front and the rear,

(b) amber or white - where the indicator shows only to the front,

(c) amber or red - where the indicator shows only to the rear.

When lit they should have a white or yellow light to the front and red to the rear.

Since January 2020 any motorhome 40 years or older do not require a test. Motorhomes aged between 30-39 years (inclusive) are required to do a roadworthiness test every two years.

Vintage agricultural tractors

A vintage agricultural tractor is defined as ‘a tractor that is over 30 years old’.

Yes, if they are rated at greater than 40km/h and being used for commercial purposes.

See our lighting and visibility laws for agricultural vehicles FAQ information

Vintage tractors which are rated at 40 km/h or less need a service brake with 25% braking efficiency and a parking brake with 16% braking efficiency.

Since 01 January 2016, all tractors and self-propelled machines are required to be fitted with a flashing amber beacon. However, only vintage tractors taking part in vintage rallies or displays are exempt from this requirement.

Yes. However, if either your tractor or trailer is un-plated, the maximum you can tow is 3 times the tractor’s unladen weight, e.g. if the unladen weight of your tractor is 1.4 tonnes, you are limited to towing a trailer with a laden weight not exceeding 4.2 tonnes.

If your tractor is designed to travel at speeds of 40 km/h or less, you can draw a trailer with a laden weight of 5 tonnes or less without brakes providing the laden weight of the trailer does not exceed three times the tractor’s unladen weight.

If your tractor is designed to travel at speeds over 40 km/h, you can only draw a trailer with a laden weight of 3.5 tonnes without brakes.

You will need to contact the original manufacturer or authorised distributor. If they are no longer in service, you could try contacting an existing tractor manufacturer near you to enquire if they will assist you in this matter.

Yes. Under S.I. No. 138 of 1969 all tractors shall be fitted with a safety frame or roll over protection system while used in a public place, irrespective of age or how it is being used.

You will need to contact Health & Safety Authority (HSA) who have responsibility for the legislation governing EU ROPS standards.

Road Safety Legislation

Road traffic legislation for vehicles in use on Irish roads. Type approval legislation for new vehicles. Irish and EU safety and environmental standards.