We had the car tested privately a few days later and it gave an 0.50, 0.45 and 0.35 reading. It was then returned to the test centre where it passed with a 0.25 level.
I would like to give some advice to all Peugeot HDI engine car owners who are about to do the NCT test. Apparently the HDI engine does not like slow driving. We were advised by the NCT centre not to drive at 30kph in fifth gear (if that’s possible) as the soot accumulates but does not clear the exhaust. Apparently the same applies to petrol cars. The NCT people (who were, in fact, doing their best) made the following amazing recommendations:
1. Before the test give the car a ‘hard run’. (I’m sure the gardaí would be interested in all the diesel HDI cars flying out the road and back.)
2. Keep the car in third gear for some of the time on the week before the test to burn the soot. (Do Peugeot dealers recommend this?)
3. Just before you bring it in, make sure your timing is good because a cold diesel engine gives a much higher emission than a warm one.
To date, my wife and I have spent €78, as well as taking time off work, to get the test done. We queried the NCT office in Dublin as we were naturally curious why 15-year-old cars were passing and our relatively new car wasn’t. NCT responded with the standard letter - test on the day, tests done, etc - but nothing really.
However, they should advise all Peugeot HDI car owners to do steps 1, 2 and 3 before they bring their cars in.
Conversely, this means that while my wife is doing 30kph in fifth gear (if that’s possible), she is actually polluting more and should be driving like a maniac in order to reduce the emission levels. Can any sane person in the trade advise what we should do next time - short of buying a bicycle?