Show Me / Tell Me

Vehicle safety questions - Show Me, Tell Me

Practical Driving Test candidates will need to answer two questions on routine vehicle safety checks at the start of the test. One question will be a "show me" (i.e. you will need to show the examiner how you would carry out the procedure) and one will be a "tell me" (only a verbal explanation of the procedure is required).

There are nineteen questions in total and they are asked in set pairs. All nineteen questions are listed below along with suitable answers.

Getting either or both of the Show Me / Tell Me questions wrong would only result in a single driving fault being marked. However, as these questions are asked at the very beginning of your test, it makes sense to show the examiner that you are well prepared for the test so make sure you know how to answer all the questions.

Engine Oil Level

You will be asked : Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has a sufficient level of oil.

How you should respond : Identify the dipstick in the engine bay, and describe how you would check the oil by waiting until the engine is cold and you are parked on flat, level ground. You would pull the dipstick out, wipe it clean and put it back. You would then pull it out again and check that the oil level is between the minimum and maximum marks.

As this is a "tell me" question, you should not actually pull the dipstick out, merely pointing to it and describing how you check the level is sufficient.

Engine Coolant Level

You will be asked : Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has a sufficient level of coolant.

How you should respond : Identify the header tank in the engine bay. Describe how you would check the coolant by waiting until the engine is cold and you are parked on flat, level ground. You would look at the side of the header tank and check that the coolant level is between the minimum and maximum marks. Explain how you would top the tank up to the maximum level by opening the lid and adding more coolant if necessary.

Brake Fluid Level

You will be asked : Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the brake fluid level and tell me how you would check that the brake fluid level was sufficient.

How you should respond : Identify the brake fluid reservoir in the engine bay. Describe how you would check that the level of brake fluid is between the minimum and maximum marks.

Windscreen Washer Fluid Level

You will be asked : Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the windscreen washer fluid level and tell me how you would check that there was a sufficient level of windscreen washer fluid.

How you should respond : Identify the windscreen washer reservoir in the engine bay. Describe how you would carry out a visual check to ensure that the car has a sufficient level of windscreen washer fluid and top up as necessary.

Headlights and Tail Lights

You will be asked : Tell me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working properly. There is no need to exit the vehicle.

How you should respond : You should tell the examiner that you would turn on the headlights by turning the ignition (but not the engine) on, operating the light switch and then walking around the car checking that all the lights come on both front and rear.

This is a "tell me" question, so you will not be expected to actually check the lights - just explain how you would do so.

Direction Indicators

You will be asked : Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working properly.

How you should respond : Turn on the hazard warning lights with the triangular button on the dashboard and walk around car checking that all six lights are flashing. Don't forget to turn the lights off again when you finish.

This is a "show me" question, so you will be expected to actually check the indicators rather than just describing the method.

The Horn

You will be asked : Show me how you would check that the horn is working properly.

How you should respond : All you need to do is turn on the ignition (but not the engine) and press horn push (in the centre of the steering wheel) and ensure it sounds.

Parking Brake

You will be asked : Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear. Make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.

How you should respond : The "parking brake" simply means the handbrake. Place your right foot on footbrake to prevent the car rolling. Take your handbrake off and then reapply the handbrake. Describe how when you release the button, it should secure itself and not drop back down or have travelled up too high which would indicate that it had reached the end of its working travel.

This is a "show me" question, so you will be expected to actually check the handbrake rather than just describing the method.

Power Steering

You will be asked : Show me / explain how you would check that the power-assisted steering is working properly.

How you should respond : Holding the steering wheel with one hand, turn the wheel to one side a little and hold the wheel in that position as you start the engine. Describe how the steering should jolt slightly as the power-assisted steering becomes operative.

This is a "show me" question, so you will be expected to actually check the steering rather than just describing the method.

Brake Lights

You will be asked : 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.

How you should respond : If necessary, turn on the vehicle's ignition but do not start the engine. If there is a suitable reflective surface behind the car (eg. Windows, a garage door etc.) then apply the brakes and check for the reflections in the mirrors. If not, ask the examiner to stand to the rear of the car whilst you apply the brakes.

Tyre Tread Depth

You will be asked : Tell me how you would check that the tyres have the required minimum tread depth and that their general condition is safe for use on the road.

How you should respond : Describe how you would use a tread depth gauge to check that there is 1.6mm minimum tread depth across the central three-quarters of the width of the tyre around the complete circumference. There should be no cuts or bulges in the tyre.

Tyre Pressures

You will be asked : Tell me where you would find information on the recommended tyre pressures for this vehicle and how you would check that the tyres are at the correct pressure.

How you should respond : The information is in the car handbook or manual. Describe how you would use an accurate tyre pressure gauge applied to the valve when the tyres are cold. Compare the reading to the reading in the handbook and remember to reapply the dustcaps. Don't forget to check all four tyres and the spare if you have one.

Footbrake

You will be asked : Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working properly before starting a journey.

How you should respond : Brakes should feel firm, not spongy or slack and should stop the car properly without pulling to one side.

Windscreen Washers and Wipers

You will be asked : Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.

How you should respond : You should operate the wash and wipe cycle of the windscreen wipers as explained by your instructor.

Windscreen Demister

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

How you should respond : You do not need to turn on the the engine. Turn the heat control up to maximum, switch the fan control on to full speed and ensure the air direction control is on the windscreen setting. Turn on the air conditioning if not already on and then explain that you would press the heated rear-window control once the engine was started.

Fog Lights

You will be asked : Show me how you would switch on the rear fog lights and explain when you would use them. There's no need to exit the vehicle. Please don't start the engine.

How you should respond : You should turn on the ignition but not the engine and then turn on the headlights and fog lights. A warning light will appear on the dashboard. You should then explain that you would only use the fog lights when visibility was seriously reduced to 100 metres or less.

Main Beam Headlights

You will be asked : Show me how you switch your headlights from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know that main beam was on whilst inside the car.

How you should respond : You should turn on the ignition but not the engine and then turn on the headlights. Move the indicator stalk into the main beam position. Explain that the blue warning light on the dashboard tells you that main beam is on and then move the indicator stalk back into its normal position to turn main beam off.

Head Restraint

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

How you should respond : Explain to the examiner that the head restraint should provide the maximum protection to the head and neck by being positioned at least as high as the eye or the top of the ears and as close to the back of the head as is comfortable.

Anti-Lock Brakes

You will be asked : Tell me how you know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

How you should respond : Explain to the examiner that, in the event of a fault, the ABS warning light would remain illuminated.