Guidance

Car 'show me, tell me' vehicle safety questions (to 3 December 2017)

Updated 15 April 2017

1. About the questions

You’ll be asked 2 vehicle safety questions at the start of your car driving test. These are also known as the ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

The examiner will ask you:

  • one ‘show me’ question, where you have to show them how you’d carry out a check
  • one ‘tell me’ question, where you have to explain how you’d carry out the check

2. Inside the car

Show me, tell me: inside the car

2.1 ‘Show me’ questions

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

Applying the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators.

You may need to switch the ignition on, but don’t start the engine.

Show me how you would check the brake lights are working on this car, (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).

Show me, or 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 2 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.

Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear; make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.

Apply footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying parking brake (handbrake) so that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.

Show me how you would check that the horn is working.

Check is carried out by using control (turn on ignition if necessary).

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).

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.

Show me how you switch your headlight from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on.

Operate switch (with ignition or engine on if necessary), check with main beam warning light.

Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively.

Set all relevant controls including fan, temperature air direction and source, and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows.

Engine does not have to be started for this demonstration.

2.2 ‘Tell me’ questions

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

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

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.

Note: Some restraints might not be adjustable.

Tell me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working (no need to exit vehicle).

Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle. As this is a ‘tell me’ question, there’s no need to physically check the lights.

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.

3. Outside the car

Show me, tell me: outside the car

3.1 ‘Tell me’ questions

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.

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

No cuts and bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference of the tyre.

4. Under the bonnet

Show me, tell me: under the bonnet

4.1 ‘Tell me’ questions

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 check of oil level against the minimum and maximum markers.

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 the high and low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

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 and low markings.

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

Identify reservoir and explain how to check level.