You’ve mastered the main manoeuvres, are no longer rolling back down inclines in the road and are confident navigating busy town centres. Your instructor tells you it’s time to take your test – but besides practicing your general driving, you may not be sure what else you can do to prepare. After the eyesight check where you will have to demonstrate that you can read a number plate from a distance, you will be asked two vehicle safety questions – also known as the ‘show me, tell me’ section. It can easily unsettle you for the practical part of the test if you struggle to answer them correctly and getting one or both wrong will lead to one minor fault before you’ve even hit the road. Here’s some example questions which should help you sail through the real questions with no trouble.
Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey
Heavy steering is an indication that there may be an issue. Before you set out on a trip, start the engine and gently press on the steering wheel. If the power assisted steering is working correctly, you will feel some movement as the system starts up. You can also turn the steering wheel immediately after moving which will show if there are any problems.
Show me how you would check that the horn is working off-road
Turn the ignition on, press the horn and listen.
Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on the car (examiner can help)
Either press the brake pedal and observe the reflection in windows, or ask the examiner to check.
Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working correctly
Turn on the indicators and walk around the car to check that they are all working properly. You can also activate the hazard warning lights as this will not require the ignition to be switched on.
Show me how you would check the handbrake for excessive wear
Apply the footbrake to stop the car from moving and pull the parking brake up. When working correctly it should hold itself in place and not be at the end of its working travel. You should feel significant tension when lifting the handbrake as the cable connecting the brakes to the lever tightens.
Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers
Turn the ignition on, operate the control and hold it for about three seconds to wash and wipe the windscreen. If it’s not clear after the first time, repeat as necessary.
Show me how you would use the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, including both the front and rear screens
Set controls such as the fan, temperature, air direction/source and heated screen. You do not need to start the engine to carry out this demonstration.
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
Turn the ignition on, operate the switch and explain that you should check for the main beam warning light.
Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them. There is no need to exit the vehicle.
Turn on the ignition, switch on the dipped headlights if necessary, operate the switch and check that the warning light is on. Explain that the fog lights must only be used in foggy, low visibility conditions and should be turned off when the fog disperses.
Show me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey
As you move off, operate the brakes. They are functioning incorrectly if they are spongy or the car pulls to one side.
Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check the engine has the correct level
Point out the engine coolant tank and check the minimum and maximum level indicator on the side of the tank. If it is below the minimum mark, more coolant will need to be added by unscrewing the tank cap when the engine is cold and pouring in coolant up to the maximum mark.
Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir tank is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid
Identify the brake fluid reservoir tank and check the brake fluid level against the minimum/maximum level indicator.
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.
Point out the dipstick, remove it and wipe clean the end where the minimum and maximum level indicator is and fully reinsert. Remove again and check the oil level against the minimum and maximum markings.
Open the bonnet, identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you check the level
Identify the reservoir tank, lift off the cap and check the level visually. Be sure to check the level regularly.
Tell me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working
Turn on the ignition, followed by the lights. Walk around the car and check that both the front and rear lights are working correctly.
Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked
You can find the information in the car manufacturer’s manual. Check the tyre pressures by using a pressure gauge when the tyres are cold, making sure that you also examine the spare tyre and refit the valve caps.
Tell me how to make sure that your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash
Adjust the head restraint so that the centre part is as high as the eye or top of the ears and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable.
Tell me how you would check the tyres to show that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road
Check for cuts, bulges, and that the tread depth is at least 1.6mm across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference. This can be measured using a tread depth gauge.
Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system
A warning light should illuminate on the dashboard if there is a problem with the anti-lock braking system.