Show me / Tell me Questions
At the start of your driving test you’ll be asked 2 questions about vehicle safety checks. One will be to show them something and the other to tell them something. If you get either or both questions wrong you usually just get 1 minor fault but it is possible to fail the test on this section if you lose control of the car as you are performing the checks.
Do not turn the car on unless the examiner is sitting in the passenger seat. Turning the engine on while you are alone in the car counts as driving without a licence. Many cars now have a diagnostic system which shows you any problems with the vehicle on the dashboard.
You are not allowed to just say that the car would just tell you of any problems because the system may be faulty where as a manual check is more reliable. The only exception to this is the question about testing your ABS as it’s safer to see if the light is on than put yourself into a skid to find out! Below are the questions you could be asked and examples of how they could be responded to on your test day.
A1: 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.
A2: Apply footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying parking brake so that when it is fully applied it secures itself and is not at the end of the working travel.
A3: Check is carried out by pressing gently on the control (turn on ignition if necessary).
A4: Applying the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators. You may need to switch the ignition on, however, you should not start the engine.
A5: Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help. As this is now a show me question the examiner may check the brake lights for you. You may need to switch the ignition on, however you should not start the engine.
A6: Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen. You may need to switch the ignition on, however, you should not start the engine.
A7: 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.
A8: Operate the rear fog switch after switching on dipped headlights, check switch is illuminated and explain that they should only be used when visibility is reduced to 100 metres or less.
A9: Move the stalk attached to the steering column forwards which will illuminate a blue warning light on the instrument panel.
A1: Brakes should be tested as you set off by applying gentle pressure at slow speed. Brakes should not feel spongy or slack and the vehicle should not pull to one side.
A2: Recommended pressures can be found In the 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.
A3: Tyres should be checked to ensure there are no cuts or bulges. There should be 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference. This can be checked with a tyre depth guage or the depth markers in the tyres themselves.
A4: Adjust the rigid part of the restraint so that it is close to the back of your head and level with your eyes or top of your ears.
A5: Turn on the relevant switch and walk around the car checking that they are working.
A6: The ABS warning light would become illuminated on the instrument panel if there is a fault.
A7: Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum/maximum markers.
A8: Identify reservoir, check fluid level is between high/low markings.
A9: Identify high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap and describe how to top up to correct level.
A10: Explain how the washer fluid should be filled to a level between the min and max markers on the side of the reservoir. They can be checked by simply operating them.
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