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Maintenance questions: These are the things you may be asked how to do:


Never turn the ignition key unless you are sitting in the car, you have the gear lever in neutral with the handbrake on, and the footbrake and clutch are down. If you operate the starter by mistake when turning the key and you are not in the car it may jump forwards and run the examiner over: and then he will fail you!


There are new show me tell me questions from December 2017

>> Click here to view <<

For the "Show me" questions that refer to items under the bonnet; "Show me" just means show me by opening the bonnet, then you tell the examiner how you would check - remember, don't touch:

Checking the engine oil level:
With the bonnet open - show the examiner where the dipstick is and tell him that you would “pull it out and wipe it, then put it back in, then pull it out again and check that the oil level is between the two marks.”
note: If you check it when it is hot, you should turn the engine off for 10 minutes to let the oil drain back down into the sump. As Modern engine oils are very thin, and are very difficult to see when hot, it is best to check your oil when the engine is cold. You would fill it, if necessary, via the oil filler cap.

Checking the engine coolant level:
With the bonnet open – show the examiner where the engine coolant reservoir is and tell him that "the level should be between the minimum and maximum marks."
Memory aid: "Pink is Cool"

note: Coolant is either blue or pink, and is antifreeze and water. Antifreeze should always be present because it is also a corrosion inhibitor. Ford antifreeze is pink.

Checking the windscreen washer level:
With the bonnet open – show the examiner where the windscreen washer fluid reservoir is and tell him that it needs to be filled up to the top to see the level.
Memory aid: "Washers on the Wight (right)"

note: There is no minimum / maximum marks because the washer fluid just squirts out, and doesn't re-circulate. All the other fluids re-circulate. Washer fluid should be detergent and water. There are increased incidents of legionnaire's disease amongst drivers who have used water alone over a long period. The cap on the washer bottle is blue on our car.

Checking the brake fluid level:
With the bonnet open – show the examiner where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell him that the level should be between the “max.” and “min“. marks.
Memory aid: "Brakes at the Back"

note: The handrake warning light on the dashboard is also a brake fluid level warning light. If it comes on when you are driving, check the handbrake is down: If it is, then you could have low brake fluid, and be in danger of the brakes not working properly. On some cars the clutch is operated from the same reservoir, hence the clutch will fail before the brakes, if the fluid is lost.

Checking the power steering fluid level:
With the bonnet open – show the examiner where the power steering fluid reservoir is and tell him that the level should be between the “max.” and “min“. marks.
Not on our car !

note: Only if your car has hydraulic power steering. many new cars, including our Fiesta, have electric power steering, and hence no reservoir.


There are 3 controls inside the car to physically check:

Checking the parking brake is not worn:
Put your foot on the footbrake: Release the handbrake and re-apply. You should feel tension as you pull up, meaning that it doesn’t come all the way up and hit the stop. It should lock firmly when the button is released.
Keyphrase- "Should feel tension and should lock."
note: The handbrake can be pulled on more firmly, and released more easily, if you put pressure on the footbrake when using the handbrake..

Checking that your footbrake is working:
Put heavy pressure on the brake pedal and HOLD. It should feel normal and firm. If it doesn’t or sinks downwards, or feels spongy, then there is a fault.
Keyphrase - "Shouldn't sink or feel spongy."
Or, tell the examiner that you would move the car slowly along, check that it was safe behind, depress the clutch then apply the foot-brake firmly – the car should stop in a straight line without pulling sideways.
note: If you have been pumping the footbrake with the engine off, it will sink a little when you turn the engine on. This is normal and means that the power assistance (vacuum servo) is working.

Checking that the power assisted steering is working:
Tell the examiner that you can test it by applying pressure to the steering wheel whilst starting the engine (pull down with your left hand while turning the key) – the steering should feel lighter if the power assistance is working.
Keyphrase - "Should feel lighter when the engine starts."
Or, you could say that you could drive the car slowly along, check that it was safe behind, turn the steering from side to side, and it should feel normal.
note: This only applies if your car has power steering.


There are only 2 electrical items that you actually check are working:

Checking that the brake lights are working:
Tell them that you need to sit in the car: turn on the ignition and press the brake pedal to make them work. You would ask someone to look for you, or use a reflection if there was no-one to help. The examiner will then ask you to get in the car and offer to look at the brake lights for you as you switch them on.
Remember that before you turn the key you should do the normal pre-start procedure of: footbrake down, clutch down, handbrake, neutral.
Only turn the key 2 clicks so that the ignition lights come on - Do NOT start the engine.

Checking indicators are working:
Open the passenger door, lean in and press the hazard flasher switch - then get out and check front and rear of the car to see that all the bulbs are working. Remember to stay on the pavement while doing this. To use the hazard flashers the key doesn't have to be in.
Or if asked to: turn on the ignition, switch on the left indicator and get out to check they work front and back, do the same for the right indicator.


The following electrical items you may be asked to turn on, but you don't have to get out to check them.

Checking that the headlights & rear lights are working:
Headlight switch is on the right-hand side of the dashboard, near the door. Say "I would turn on the ignition and switch on the headlights and get out to check they work.”
Don't get out and actually check them.
note: If an examiner finds that a light isn't working they won't allow the test to take place.

Switching on the rear fog light and when you would use it:
Switch on the ignition. Turn on the headlights. Switch on the foglights. Foglights should only be used in visibility less then 100 metres. On our car the fog-light switch is on the right, next to the headlight switch.
note: In fog dipped headlights are usually more effective than front foglights.

Switching the headlights to main beam, and how you could tell it was on:
Ignition on, headlights on. Switch main beam on by clicking the indicator arm rearwards. The main beam will come on and a blue warning light will show on the dashboard.


These items you may need to turn on:

Demisting the front and rear screens:
Set the front demister controls (blower on, heat on, direct vents onto screen). Switch on the heated rear window.
All heater controls fully clockwise, and press the heated rear window switch.

note: You can also use the air conditioning to demist, which is most effective if you recycle the interior air as well.

Cleaning the windscreens using washers and wipers:
Switch on the ignition and then switch on the front wipers (right hand stalk UP ) and press the wash button (on end of wiper arm). You may also need to do the same for the back screen (wiper arm click rearwards once for rear wiper on, pull back again for rear washer).

Checking that the horn is working:
At the roadside just point to the horn button at the steering wheel centre, and say "I would press here" It is only legal to use the horn while stationary if you are off-road. To use it on the road you should get moving first.


Miscellaneous items

Setting your head restraint:
It should be set so that the top of the headrest is above your eye level.
note: Headrests are really whiplash protectors. If they are set too low they can cause neck injuries.

How could you tell if there was a problem with your anti-lock brakes?
Say that the orange (ABS) warning light on the dashboard would not go out after starting, or would come on whilst driving.
note: Only if your car has ABS. Most cars built after 2005 have ABS as standard.

Checking the tyre pressures:
Tell the examiner that the tyre pressures for the car are found in the handbook, and they should be checked when the tyres are cold using a tyre pressure gauge. This is done by removing the dust cap on the tyre valve and pressing the gauge on. Don’t forget to mention the spare tyre.

Checking the tyre condition:
Tell the examiner that you “use the tyre tread gauge, place it on the tread and push it in, then read off the depth” (minimum legal depth is 1.6mm over the whole circumference and over the central 3/4 of the width). Look around the side-wall of the tyre and say “there must not be any cuts or bulges.”
note: tyres have small blocks in the tread grooves which are wear indicators, the tread should be higher than these.

Tyre condition photo >>>>






Teaching people to drive for over 30 years! Professional driving lessons with Alan J Barker BA DSA ADI.
Covering Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge areas