Before you start your practical test, your examiner will ask you two show me/tell me questions, which require you to either show or explain to him how you would undertake simple maintenance tasks on your car.
Fail to answer one or both of these questions and you’ll notch up a driving fault before you’ve even got into the car – so make sure you’re not caught out. Fall at this first hurdle and it won’t do your confidence much good for the rest of the test, but just getting these questions wrong won’t lead to you failing the test.
There are 12 show me questions and seven tell me questions, and they’re asked in fixed combinations. So whichever show me question you’re asked, you know what the tell me question will be:
Show me questions
S1 – asked with T4
Q: Open the bonnet and show where you would check the engine oil level. Also tell me how you would check that the engine has enough oil.
A: Identify the dipstick, pull it out and check the oil level against the min/max markings.
S2 – asked with T4
Q: Show me how you would check the power steering is working before starting a journey.
A. If the steering is heavy it may be faulty. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made:
- Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, with the engine running, should produce a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate.
- Turning the steering wheel after just moving off will give an immediate indication that the power steering is functioning correctly.
S3 – asked with T6
Q: 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.
A: Identify the engine coolant tank and check the min/max markings. If the coolant is below the min mark, more coolant needs to be added. To do this, unscrew the cap and pour in coolant until the max mark is reached.
S4 – asked with T1
Q: Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear; make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.
A: Apply the parking brake firmly. Demonstrate that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.
S5 – asked with T5
Q: Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
A: Press the horn and listen (turn on the ignition if necessary).
S6 – asked with T5
Q: Open the bonnet, identify where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have enough hydraulic brake fluid.
A: Identify the brake fluid reservoir and check the fluid level against the min/max levels.
S7 – asked with T2
Q: Show me how you would check that the indicators are working correctly.
A. Switch on the indicators or hazard warning lights and walk around the car to see if all the indicators are working correctly.
S8 – asked with T3
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. You’ll probably need to switch the ignition on, but not the engine.
S9 – asked with T2
Q: Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.
A: Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen; you’ll need to switch on the ignition.
S10 – asked with T3
Q: Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, to include both front and rear screens.
A: Set all relevant controls including the fan, temperature, air direction / source and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows. The engine doesn’t need to be started for this.
S11 – asked with T7
Q: 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).
A: Operate switch (turn on dipped headlights and ignition if necessary). Check warning light is on. Explain use.
S12 – asked with T7
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); point out the main beam warning light.
Tell Me Questions
T1 – asked with S4, S8
Q: Open the bonnet, identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you check the level.
A: Identify reservoir, lift off cap and make a visual check of level as there are no external markings on the reservoir.
T2 – asked with S7, S9
Q: Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
A: As you move off check the brakes. They should not feel spongy and the car should not pull to one side.
T3 – asked with S8, S10
Q: Tell me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working.
A: Turn on lights (switch on ignition if necessary), walk around car and check that the lights are on.
T4 – asked with S1, S2
Q: Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how its tyre pressures should be checked.
A: Information will be found using the car manufacturer's manual; the figures may also be inside the driver’s door, fuel filler flap or on the back of one of the sun visors. Check the tyre pressures by using a reliable pressure gauge when the tyres are cold. Don't forget the spare and remember to refit the valve caps.
T5 – asked with S5, S6
Q: 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.
A: A safe tyre will have no cuts or bulges. The tread depth should be at least 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.
T6 – asked with S3
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: The head restraint should be adjusted so the 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. Bear in mind that some restraints aren’t adjustable.
T7 – asked with S11, S12
Q: Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
A: A warning light should illuminate if there is a fault.