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Lesson Plan 16 - Show Me, Tell Me

At the beginning of the driving test the examiner will ask some basic vehicle safety checks. You must ensure the vehicle to be used is in good working order, taxed and insured otherwise the test may not go ahead. As well as the basic vehicle checks, make sure you know how to use all functions of the vehicle for the test – windscreen wipers, de-misters etc.

Make sure you know how to open up the bonnet for the vehicle you are using.


Below are the questions you may be asked:

“Show me” – open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and “tell me” how you would check the engine has sufficient oil.

Ensure the vehicle is on the flat and ideally check when engine is cool. Identify dipstick and explain how you would take dipstick out and clean it with a cloth, re-insert dipstick leaving for a few seconds before taking it out for a reading.

Check oil level is between the min/max mark.

“Show me” – open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant and “tell me” how you would check the engine has the correct level.

“Show me” – open the bonnet, identify where the windscreen washer is and “tell me” how you would check the windscreen washer level.

Identify coolant reservoir and explain how the level should be close to the maximum but not exceed it.

Identify washer reservoir and explain how you can fill reservoir to the top. You can spray some on the windscreen (usually) by pulling wiper arm towards the steering wheel.

“Show me” – 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 and explain how you can check level against min/max mark.

“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 at eye level 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).

“Tell me” how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

A warning light should illuminate if there is a fault with the anti-lock braking system.

“Tell me” how you would check the brake lights are working on this car.

Press on the brake pedal whilst you get the examiner to check lights or make use of reflections in windows, garage doors etc. (You may need the key turned to allow electrics to work!)

“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 or bulges, 1.6mm of tread depth across the central 3/4 of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

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

Check the handbook or manufacturer’s guide to see where to get the information for the driving test vehicle. Use a pressure gauge and check pressures when tyres are cold. Ensure your spare is checked and you re-fit the valve caps.

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

The brakes should not feel spongy or slack. You will test the brakes as you set off, the vehicle may pull to one side when faulty and sometimes make a strange noise.

“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. The dipping headlights would show a green light and full beam show a blue light.

“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 – when visibility is less than 100 metres.

“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.

“Show me” how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wiper.

Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen (turn ignition on if necessary).

“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 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 that the headlights and tail lights are working.

Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), walk round vehicle.

“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.

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

Check is carried out by using control – usually located on the steering wheel or end of the stalk used for indicating (turn on ignition if necesssary).

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

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