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Show Tell Questions

Car Practical Test, Show / Tell Questions

During the practical test you will be asked two 'show me / tell me' questions.

Before you start driving the examiner will ask you a 'tell me' question where you will be required to explain how you would carry out a safety task.

The examiner will ask you one 'show me' question where you will be required to show how you would carry out a simple safety task whilst you are driving.

Each question you get incorrect will result in a driver (minor) fault being recorded on the marking sheet.

'Tell me'

'Tell me' Questions

1.) Tell me how you’d check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that after starting the engine press the brake pedal several times to ensure it does not feel spongy or slack. When applying the brakes on the move the vehicle should slow down and stop as normal, and not pull to either side.

2.) Tell me where you’d find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that pressures can be found in either the manufacturer's handbook or an information plate located somewhere on the vehicle body of some cars. Pressures should be checked using a reliable pressure gauge when the tyres are cold (as air expands when hot), especially before starting a long journey, or extra weight is to be carried. Ensure the spare tyre is checked too, and all valve caps are replaced once checked.

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

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that the head restraint should be adjusted so that the rigid part (centre) of the head restraint is at least level with the eyes or top of the ears, and as close as possible to the back of the head whilst still being comfortable so that it offers maximum support in the event of a crash. NOTE: Restraints on some vehicles might not be adjustable.

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

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that you should regularly inspect the tyres ensuring that there are no cuts, bulges or other obvious damage. Then explain that there should be 1.6mm of tread depth across the centre three-quarters of the breadth of (across) the tyre and around the entire outer circumference (all the way around) of the tyre.

5.) Tell me how you’d check that the headlights and tail lights are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that you would need to turn on the ignition first, and then turn on the headlight switch. Depending on the vehicle this will normally be located on one of the stalks, or a switch on the dashboard. There will normally be three positions on the switch (off, side lights, and dipped beam) There will be a green icon shown on the instrument panel. You would then explain that you would walk around the car before a journey to ensure both headlights, and both red tail lights are working.

6.) Tell me how you’d know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain that if there was a fault with the system the ABS warning light on the dashboard would either stay on or flash after the engine has started.

7.) Tell me how you’d check the direction indicators are working. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain you would turn on ignition; apply each direction indicator individually; walk around the vehicle to ensure that they are all (six!) are working. Alternatively turn on the hazard warning lights and walk around the vehicle to check bulbs are working correctly. As this is a tell me question there is no need to exit the vehicle.

8.) Tell me how you’d check the brake lights are working on this car.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Turn on ignition, but do not start the engine. Press brake pedal and ask someone to go behind the vehicle and check that all of the lights are working. Alternatively you could explain if you are by yourself then you could reverse up to a reflective surface like a window or garage door and see the reflection of the lights. There is no need to exit the vehicle, as this is a tell me question.

9.) Tell me how you’d check the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain you would apply gentle pressure to the wheel with one hand whilst starting the engine with the other hand. Once the engine starts there should be a noticeable movement of the wheel as the system begins to operate. If the steering becomes noticeably heavy whilst driving there may be a fault with the system.

10.) Tell me how you’d switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you’d use it/them. You don’t need to exit the vehicle.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Explain you would turn on ignition and switch headlights to dipped beam setting, then operate the fog light switch and identify the warning light on the dashboard. Explain that fog light should only be used when visibility is reduced to less than 100 metres.

11.) Tell me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you’d know the main beam is on.

Answer (Tell before driving)

Switch ignition on if necessary, and turn lights switch to normal headlights (dipped beam), and then turn on main beam switch, which depending on vehicle is normally done by pulling or pushing the indicator stalk.

12.) Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

Answer (Open bonnet and tell before driving)

Open the bonnet, there will on most cars be a release lever you will need to pull from within the cockpit first, and then there will be a secondary catch under the bonnet to fully release before you can open it. Then point out the engine oil dipstick. Then explain that you would check the oil on a regular basis, particularly before starting a long journey. You should check the oil when the engine is cold and the car is parked on a flat level ground. Check it by pulling out the dipstick and wiping clean, then re-dipping and checking the level against the minimum and maximum markers on the stick. Once explained ensure bonnet is FULLY closed.

13.) Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.

Answer (Open bonnet and tell before driving)

Open the bonnet, there will on most cars be a release lever you will need to pull from within the cockpit first, and then there will be a secondary catch under the bonnet to fully release before you can open it. Then identify the reservoir and point out the high and low level markings on the header tank. Explain that if topping up is required then this should be done when the engine is cold to avoid burning your hand when removing the cap. Once explained ensure bonnet is FULLY closed.

14.) Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Answer (Open bonnet and tell before driving)

Open the bonnet, there will on most cars be a release lever you will need to pull from within the cockpit first, and then there will be a secondary catch under the bonnet to fully release before you can open it. Then identify the brake fluid reservoir. Point out the minimum and maximum markings and explain that the level should be between these. Ensure that the car is parked on a flat level surface before checking. Once explained ensure bonnet is FULLY closed.

'Show me'

'Show me' Questions

1.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen?

Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe and you will not be distracted, operate the rear screen washer switch / button / lever, and wipers if necessary. How to operate this will depend on the make and model of the vehicle.

2.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen?

Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe and you will not be distracted, operate the screen washer switch / button / lever, and wipers if necessary. How to operate this will depend on the make and model of the vehicle.

3.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d switch on your dipped headlights?

Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe and you will not be distracted, turn on the headlight switch. Depending on the vehicle this will normally be located on one of the stalks, or a switch on the dashboard. There will normally be three positions on the switch (off, side lights, and dipped beam) depending on the make and model of the vehicle.

4.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d set the rear demister?

Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe, and you won't be distracted, turn on rear screen heater. There is normally a button near the fan and temperature controls, but will depend on the make and model of the vehicle. If the screen does steam up whilst driving you can also turn on Air Conditioning (AC), as this will help to remove the moisture from the air inside the car. It's useful to note that on most modern vehicles the rear screen heater control will also heat the door mirrors to improve visability.

5.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d operate the horn?

Answer (Show when driving)

When safe to do so, when you wont be distracted, and it won't affect or mislead other road users, press the horn control; depending on the make and model of the vehicle this will normally be located on the steering wheel. The horn must not be used between the hours of 11.30pm and 7am in a built-up area.

6.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d demist the front windscreen?

Answer (Show when driving)

When it is safe, and you won't be distracted, turn on the front screen heater. There is normally a button near the fan and temperature controls, but will depend on the make and model of the vehicle. If there is not a button, you will need to turn the fan speed up, turn temperature control up, and direct the air flow towards the screen. You should also turn on the Air Conditioning (AC) if fitted to the vehicle, as this will help to remove the moisture from the air inside the car.

7.) When it’s safe to do so, can you show me how you’d open and close the side window?

Answer (Show when driving)

When it's safe to do so and you won't be distracted, operate the front side window switches, normally located on the driver's door or the dashboard.