If you’re preparing for your practical driving test in the UK, you’ll need to be ready for the ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ section. This is where the examiner will test your knowledge on basic car safety and maintenance. The questions are designed to demonstrate that you know how to check that your car is safe for driving. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions you might be asked.
These are asked at the beginning of your test before you start driving.
You should explain that you’d check the brakes by pressing them before you start moving. They should not feel spongy or slack and the car should not pull to one side.
You’d find this information in the manufacturer’s guide, and you should use a reliable pressure gauge to check that the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure when they are cold.
The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part 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.
There should be no cuts or bulges on the tyres, and there should be at least 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.
Explain that you’d turn on the ignition and then operate the switch for the headlights (turning on the lights), and walk around the vehicle to check that the lights are working.
The ABS warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.
Switch your dipped headlights on first, then press the front main beam light (commonly on the left stork behind the steering wheel, push the stork forwards), until the blue main beam light comes on the dashboard. Turn off once demonstrated.
Open the bonnet using the bonnet open lever, once securely open identify the engine coolant bottle and explain that you can check the level using the MAX / MIN measurement lines on the sides of the bottle, top up when at the low level.
Open the bonnet using the bonnet open lever, once securely open identify the brake fluid reservoir and identify the MAX / MIN level check on the side of the bottle, top up when it reaches the MIN level.
Open the bonnet using the bonnet open lever, locate the dipstick, (normally on top / side of the engine) and explain that you would pull it out, clean with a tissue, reinsert then pull out again on a level/ flat road surface and check that the oil is between the MAX / MIN lines on the dipstick, you would top up as required.
These are on-the-move questions, which you’ll be asked while you’re driving.
You can explain that you’d operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows or doors, or ask someone to help check.
Say that you’d activate the indicators or hazard warning lights and then check functioning lights by walking around the car (though, for safety reasons, you may not need to exit your vehicle during the test).
You’d check the horn by using it.
If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. Before starting a journey, two 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.
You’d operate the switch (turn on dipped headlights and the fog lights), then check the warning light is on and explain use when visibility is seriously reduced.
Set the relevant controls including fan, temperature, air direction/source, and heated screen to clear windscreen and windows.
Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (without causing distraction). You should know how to operate both the front and rear windscreen as either or both is asked.
Operate the switch (with ignition if necessary), and check the dashboard for the dipped headlight symbol.
These ‘Show Me, Tell Me’ questions are an important part of demonstrating vehicle safety knowledge. You won’t fail your driving test for getting one or two of these questions wrong, but you can incur a minor fault if you get either of the two wrong, up-to a maximum of 1 minor fault.
Remember, it’s not just about memorizing the questions and answers; it’s about understanding the principles behind them. Practice them with your car, get comfortable with where all the controls and indicators are, and you’ll not only impress the examiner