Last year I had to go through the misery that is the NCT. Basically the mechanics of the actual test itself are not so much of a problem as the lead up to it. Especially if you happen to be female, there is perception amongst mechanics (who are almost always in my experience, bar once, of the Y chromosone gender) that as a "stupid girl" you won't know anything about cars and therefore are ripe for the picking for a major price gouge.
Anyway last year I got the car serviced a few weeks before the test itself at an eye-watering rip off of 340 euros (ok it was from a city centre dealership related to the one I'd purchased the car from originally). A day before the test I realised that I'd blown a headlight bulb in the meantime, so I decided to go to what I genuinely, perhaps naively, believed would be a more flat rate deal from a local tyre/service place.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
It started with charging me a depicable 25 euros for a single halogen bulb, and then 40 euros to realign my lights. I was outraged but resentfully paid, and after paying the near 50 euros to pass the NCT grudgingly realised that I'd paid out the buts of 450 euros to get the car to the required standard.
Anyway last week I popped into Lidl and was curious to see for the princely sum of €5.99 pairs of H1, H4 and H7 halogen bulbs. Since 6 euro isn't a lot to lose, and I've blown the SAME headlight bulb since, I thought I'd have a go myself.
10 minutes spent poring over the covers to my headlamps and it took me about 90 seconds to get the whole bulb replaced. For 3 euros rather than 25.
Thats a net saving of 88% over what the gobshites down the quays gouged me to do. I had a quick scan around various websites and it seems that even the most pricey of bulbs come in at a mere 8 euros. You've really got to wonder what other small parts you can replace yourself without being thoroughly ripped off.