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Vehicle Safety & Maintenance Checks
Vehicle Checks (Show / Tell Questions and Answers)

At the start of your practical driving test the examiner will ask you two basic vehicle safety check questions.  One question will be a "show me" (for example, opening the bonnet of your vehicle to identify where certain fluid levels are located and explaining how they should be checked) and the other a "tell me" (for example, explaining how you would check tyre pressures).

This page lists all the different questions the examiner might ask, together with a summary of the answers you should give.  Your Instructor will explain the answers and what to point at in more detail on your driving lessons.

'Show' questions

1 Testing the direction indicators
Q: Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.
A: Apply the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators. (May need to switch ignition on, but no need to start engine.)

2 Testing the brake lights
Q: Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car. (I can assist you, if you need to switch the ignition on, please don't start the engine.)
A: Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help. (May need to switch ignition on, but no need to start engine.)

3 Testing the power steering
Q: Show me / explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
A: If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made. Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

4 Testing the parking brake
Q: Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear, making sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.
A: Apply footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying parking brake (handbrake) so that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.

5 Checking the engine oil
Q: Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would
check that the engine has sufficient oil.
A: Identify dipstick / oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum / maximum markers.

6 Checking the engine coolant
Q: Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.
A: Identify high / low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

7 Checking the brake fluid
Q: Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
A: Identify reservoir, check level against high / low markings.

8 Using the horn
Q: Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
A: Check is carried out by using control (turn on ignition if necessary).

9 Cleaning the windscreen using washer and wipers
Q: Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.
A: Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary).

10 Using demisters
Q: Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively (this should include both front and rear screens).
A: Set all relevant controls including fan, temperature, air direction / source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows. Engine does not have to be started for this demonstration.

11 Using the fog light(s)
Q: Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it / them.
A: Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Rear (and front) fog lights must not be used unless visibility is seriously reduced, i.e. when when you cannot see further than 100 metres (328 feet).  Fog lights must be switched off as soon as visibility improves to avoid dazzle.

12 Using the headlights (dipped and main beam)
Q: Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.
A: Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

'Tell' (explain) questions

13 Testing that the brakes are working correctly
Q: Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
A: Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

14 Checking the windscreen wash
Q: Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.
A: Identify reservoir, make visual inspection or use washer to test if some liquid left.

15 Checking tyre pressures
Q: Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
A: Manufacturer's guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don't forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

16 Head restraint adjustment
Q: Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.
A: A properly adjusted head restraint prevents the head and neck from extending backwards on impact, significantly reducing the risk of injury. The head restraint should be adjusted so the top of rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. (Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.)

17 Checking tyres are road-worthy
Q: Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
A: No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

18 Testing the headlights and tail lights
Q: Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working. (No need to exit vehicle.)
A: Explanation: Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle. (As this is a "Tell Me" question, there is no need to physically check the lights.)

19 Detecting a problem with the Anti Lock Braking System (ABS)
Q: Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti lock braking system.
A: Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti lock braking system.


The examiner picks the questions you will be asked from a set of possible combinations.  The table below lists all the combinations of questions, together with the answers you should give.
Combination
Number

Question Type
(Show / Tell)

Question
Answer
1
Show
Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.

Apply the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators. (May need to switch ignition on, but no need to start engine.)

Tell
Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

2
Tell
Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.

Identify reservoir, make visual inspection or use washer to test if some liquid left.

Show
Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car. (I can assist you, if you need to switch the ignition on, please don't start the engine.)

Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help. (May need to switch ignition on, but no need to start engine.)

3
Show
Show me / explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made. Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained while the engine is started, should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assistance is functioning.

Tell
Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

Manufacturer's guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don't forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

4
Show
Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear, making sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.

Apply footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying parking brake (handbrake) so that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.

Tell
Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.

Identify reservoir, make visual inspection or use washer to test if some liquid left.

5
Show
Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would
check that the engine has sufficient oil.

Identify dipstick / oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum / maximum markers.

Tell
Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

Manufacturer's guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don't forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

6
Show
Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.

Identify high / low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

Tell
Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash.

A properly adjusted head restraint prevents the head and neck from extending backwards on impact, significantly reducing the risk of injury. The head restraint should be adjusted so the top of rigid part of the head restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears, and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable. (Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.)

7
Show
Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Identify reservoir, check level against high / low markings.

Tell
Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

8
Show
Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).

Check is carried out by using control (turn on ignition if necessary).

Tell
Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.

No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

9
Tell
Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

Show
Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.

Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary).

10
Tell
Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working. (No need to exit vehicle.)

Explanation: Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle. (As this is a "Tell Me" question, there is no need to physically check the lights.)

Show
Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, this should include both front and rear screens.

Set all relevant controls including; fan, temperature, air direction / source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows. Engine does not have to be started for this demonstration.

11
Show
Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it / them. (No need to exit vehicle.)

Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Rear (and front) fog lights must not be used unless visibility is seriously reduced, i.e. when when you cannot see further than 100 metres (328 feet).  Fog lights must be switched off as soon as visibility improves to avoid dazzle.

Tell
Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti lock braking system.

Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti lock braking system.

12
Show
Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car. (I can assist you, if you need to switch the ignition on, please don't start the engine.)

Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help. (May need to switch ignition on, but no need to start engine.)

Tell
Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working. (No need to exit vehicle.)

Explanation: Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle. (As this is a "Tell Me" question, there is no need to physically check the lights.)

13
Show
Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.

Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

Tell
Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti lock braking system.

Warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti lock braking system.

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