Pupil Zone
Main Site
 Theory Test
Show Me, Tell Me
Practical Test

Collingwood Learner Driver Insurance

Show Me, Tell Me

At the start of the practical test you will be asked 2 questions about the maintenance of the car, usually one question you will be asked to show the examiner how you would do something, the second questions will be tell the examiner without showing them, listen carefully to the question.

Q1. 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 how you would check the oil level against the minimum / maximum markers.

Q2. 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.

Q3. Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.

Identify reservoir and check level.

Q4. 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.

Q5. Tell me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car.

Operate brake pedal, make use of any reflections in windows, garage doors etc, or ask someone to help.

Q6. Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

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

Q7. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

Tyre pressures are in manufacturers manual, use a reliable pressure gauge, check tyre pressures when cold,(Once a week) don't forget spare and remember to refit dust caps.

Q8. Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and their general condition is safe to use on the road.

No cuts or bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central 3/4 of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire circumference.

Q9. 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 checks can be made. With the wheel turned slightly, maintained while the engine is started, you notice a slight movement in the wheel as the system begins to operate. Alternatively turning the steering wheel just after moving off will give an instant indication the power steering is functioning ok

Q10. Show me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working.

Turn on ignition (if necessary), operate switch for lights, walk round the vehicle.

Q11. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.

Apply indicators or hazard warning lights and check all indicators.

Q12. Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).

Turn on ignition (if necessary). Operate horn.

Q13. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear.

Demonstrate by applying the handbrake and when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.

(Below are new questions added 1st July 2008)

Q14. Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is
correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection
in the event of a crash.

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. N.B. Some restraints
might not be adjustable

Q15. 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.

Q16.  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.)

Q17. 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.

Q18. 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.
Explain use.

Q19. 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.

Q20. 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, prompt not to
start engine).

Q21. 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.

Note: Failure on one or both of the show me tell me questions will result in one minor fault.

Pre-Flight Checks

Before driving a vehicle it is important that the driver is sure that the vehicle is fully legal and roadworthy.  At the start of your practical driving test you will be asked a few basic questions about maintaining a car, beyond the test you remain liable for prosecution should you drive a vehicle which is not road worthy.

How to check?

Carry out a F.L.O.W.E.R. check.

F = Fuel

Do you know which fuel your vehicle uses? The majority of cars in the UK use petrol or diesel fuels, some cars use LPG gas, there are other sources of energy being experimented with but are less mainstream.
Do you know how to find out? At the fuel filling point on the vehicle there is normally a sticker indicating the type and grade of fuel to be used. In the past colour coding was used but this has largely been phased out. There are different grades of fuel it is important to check which is most appropriate to your vehicle. Using the wrong type or grade of fuel can result in expensive damage to your engine.

How much fuel do you have, is it enough for your journey? You will have seen the fuel gauge on the dash board, many modern vehicles also have fuel computers which can advise the average speed, fuel consumption and range in distance available based on the amount of fuel in your tank at that time. There will also be a warning light and buzzer to alert you that the tank is nearly empty. It is not advisable to drive with this light on as the engine may cut out at any time and you risk sucking dirt up from the bottom of the tank which could damage the engine.

L = Lights

Do you know how to operate all of the external lights on the vehicle? Are they all working?
Do you carry spare bulbs and know how to replace bulbs?
When did you last check your brake lights? Did you know you could be prosecuted for driving with defective lights?

See and be seen.

Side and tail lights, these are small white lights on the front of the car and red lights on the back of the car to illuminate the vehicle in the dark to prevent other vehicles hitting your car, it also illuminates the rear number plate and lights up the dashboard. This is the primary switch on most vehicles to use all other head lights and fog lights.

Headlights are spot lights which light up the road ahead, there are 2 modes, dipped which prevents dazzle for oncoming traffic and full or main beam which lights up the whole road. Dipped lights are angled down to the left and illuminate the pavement on the left, full beam are angled forwards in all directions so can easily blind oncoming traffic.

Front fog lights are high intensity main beam bulbs normally mounted lower than the bumper for use in thick fog, they can easily dazzle other road users and should never be used unless the visibility is severely reduced under 100m. You can be prosecuted for using these lights in clear visibility.

Rear fog lights are high intensity red lights mounted on the rear of the vehicle so that following traffic can see you in fog, again it is illegal to use these in clear visibility. As a rough rule, if you can see the car behind you turn off the fog light as it will dazzle the following driver, it also makes it difficult for other drivers to see your brake lights, as the fog light is brighter than the brake light.

Parking lights are similar to side and tail lights, they often don't illuminate the dashboard or rear number plate to conserve battery power, so you can leave them on all night. Legally you must use parking lights on roads which have a speed limit over 30mph or when there are no street lights. You must park on the left facing the direction of travel, unless in a marked bay or on a one way street. Drivers expect to see red on their left and white on their right in order to find the road ahead.

Warn others of your intentions.

Brake lights are red lights mounted on the rear of your car to alert following traffic that you have pressed the foot brake. Older cars have 2 brake lights, recent cars have 3 or more. Legally all the brake lights must be fully operational. If your brake lights are not working you run the risk of being hit by a following vehicle.

Indicator lights are amber, 3 on each side of the car and are operated by the indicator switch or hazard warning light switch.

O = Oil

There are 3 types of oil to check on most vehicles:

Engine oil. You are less likely to break down away from home if you check your engine oil before a journey, engine oil lubricates and helps cool the engine. If you don't have enough oil the engine can suffer long term damage and could seize, disabling the vehicle and destroying the engine. Check the vehicles user manual for the correct type and grade of engine oil to protect the moving parts of the engine.

Brake fluid is required to actuate the brakes when the foot brake is applied, if you don't have brake fluid the brakes won't work, so you won't be able to stop! If you notice the brake fluid level dropping, report the problem to your garage, don't drive if you suspect a problem with the braking system, it is dangerous and illegal.

Power Steering fluid, you may be able to check the level of this depending on the vehicle, some vehicles you cannot access this. It can be dangerous to operate a vehicle with defective power steering.

W = Water

There are 2 types of water:

Coolant. The engine on most vehicles is water cooled, you will have an expansion header tank where you can check the level. You may notice the liquid inside is coloured, the liquid has 3 main properties, firstly it prevents rusting of the inside of the engine, secondly it prevents the liquid freezing at 0'c and thirdly it prevents the liquid boiling at 100'c. You can top the coolant up with tap water when the engine is cold, don't attempt to do this when the engine is hot as you may be scalded, modern cars consume very little coolant, again if it appears to use alot take it to the garage as it could indicate a problem. If you top it up too much you will dilute the coolant removing the properties mentioned before.

Windscreen wash is a legal requirement, it must be kept topped up or you could be prosecuted as you will be unable to clean the windscreen to see properly, in winter use a screen wash with freeze resistant properties or you could damage the pump. Don't put engine anti-freeze in this bottle as it could take the paint off your car!

E = Electrics

OK we covered the lights earlier, but we still have the horn, windscreen wipers and washers, demisters and blowers, the radio for traffic and weather information. Also check the dashboard for any warning lights which may remain on when the engine is running, yellow lights indicate a problem, red lights are a warning to stop the vehicle and switch off the engine.

R = Rubber

Windscreen wipers, front and back, should be in good condition and clear the windscreen of water, if not get them replaced.

Tyres, rubber has a shelf life of around 6 years, old tyres perish, go brittle and can break apart in a similar way to elastic bands. Legally you must have 1.6mm tread but it is safer to replace tyres at around 3mm to retain good stopping ability in the wet.

New tyres should be put on the rear axle and part worn tyres moved to the front. Tyres should be properly inflated as per the user manual for the load to be carried, you may need to adjust the pressure depending on how you use the vehicle. Under inflated tyres can increase fuel consumption and over inflated tyres can adversly affect vehicle handling.

Your tyres are the only thing holding you onto the road so look after them.  If in any doubt about a tyre get it replaced, it is cheaper to replace a tyre than to replace the car or yourself! This is why tyre defects carry a £1000 fine for the driver.

© Drive Me Bananas School of Motoring Edinburgh 2008