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Learner Drivers

Prepare your car or light van for the driving test

Ensuring your vehicle is ready. 

On the day of your driving test, it’s critical that your documentation is in order and your vehicle meets all of the safety requirements. Otherwise, your test won’t go ahead, you will lose your fee and you will have to book another test. 

Preparing for your test

The RSA driving test in Ireland. What you need to prepare for and take the car and motorcycle driving tests. Documents, vehicle checks, six month rule.

Get your vehicle ready

You need to supply a vehicle for your driving test and you must: 

  • be insured to drive it and display a valid, original insurance disc (white background with a green band along the left-hand side). This must clearly show the registration number (or fleet name) of your vehicle and the policy dates 
  • display a valid original motor tax disc on your vehicle 
  • display a valid NCT disc, if applicable 
  • display L-plates on the front and rear of your vehicle (a rectangular plate or sign bearing the letter 'L' not less than fifteen centimetres high in red on a white background and a border of at least 2 centimetres).
  • read and sign a statement confirming that your vehicle is roadworthy and the insurance cover is in place and adequate. 

The information you display on your vehicle must clearly show all details required by law. If the details are faded, you should get the relevant disc replaced prior to your test.  

If you have a driving test booked and you're not able to get an appointment at your chosen NCT centre before your test date, you can call the NCT on 01 4135992 as soon as possible to get a prioritised appointment.  Read more about NCT and your driving test

Your vehicle must also meet the minimum requirements for the category

Vehicle details to check in advance of your test  

It’s also a good idea to make sure your vehicle presents and looks well on the day of the test. More importantly, anything that compromises the safety of you or the tester should be checked and fixed in advance. 

You should: 

  • visibly inspect your tyres and make sure they are above the minimum tread depth requirement which is currently 1.6 mm for a car.  
  • make sure there are no bulges, cuts or uneven wear present on your tyres which you should inflate to the correct pressure for your make and model of vehicle 
  • check your spare tyre to make sure it is acceptable, i.e. the use of space saver-type spare wheels are not acceptable for test  
  • remove or properly secure loads 
  • remove or properly secure loose objects inside your vehicle, e.g. screwdrivers, knives, gas bottles, etc.  
  • ensure your windscreen is clean and free of excessive cracks
  • make sure your windscreen wipers and washer fluid system are fully operational 
  • check that your vehicle’s safety systems and warning lights are fully operational
  • ensure your brake and indicator lights, handbrake, driver and passenger safety belts, passenger door on the tester’s side, head restraints, etc, are working correctly
  • any warning lights indicating a malfunction or defect  which is displaying before or during your driving test may lead to your test not being conducted or completed 
  • ensure your vehicle is smoke-free as your vehicle is considered an enclosed workspace in accordance with the Public Health (Tobacco) Act, 2004  
  • ensure the front windows of your vehicles are working properly to allow for sufficient ventilation during the test in keeping with Covid requirements
  • make sure your vehicle has reasonably clean seating and seat covering, i.e. free from excessive dust and dirt, dampness or moisture.  


Taking your test in a vehicle with automatic transmission

You can learn to drive in an automatic or manual vehicle. Either way you will develop good driving skills, safe driver behaviour and road safety awareness. 

However, if you pass your test in an automatic vehicle, you are limited to driving vehicles in that category with automatic transmission. This restriction will appear on your driving licence as category code 78. 

If you later want to drive a manual car, you will have to apply for a learner permit, sit and pass the driving test again in a manual vehicle.

Helpful checklists

Read our Preparing for the driving test and Checklist for your practical driving test booklets which offer lots of tips and advice:

Preparing for your driving test (English) pdf | 11192 KB Preparing for your driving test (Irish) pdf | 1940 KB Checklist for your driving test (English) pdf | 1432 KB Checklist for your driving test (Irish) pdf | 977 KB
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