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Car Safety Checks

The Driving Test includes two questions designed to examine your knowledge of car safety checks. Here are some examples. Your Instructor will be able to show you where the necesary controls and switches are for the car you are training in.

SHOW ME questions - you need to demonstrate

1. Examiner: Please show me how to check that your power steering is working before the start of a journey.

Answer: Check that it is safe to start the engine. Apply a steady light downwards pull to the steering wheel with your left hand and then start the engine. Explain that a noticeable kick or movement shows the power steering is operating. Also, state that when moving off, the wheel should feel light and not excessively heavy.

2. Examiner: Please show me how to check the parking/hand brake is effective. Please ensure the vehicle cannot move when you perform this check.

Answer: Press firmly on the footbrake. Pull firmly (but without excessive effort) on the handbrake. Explain that it has locked off, feels tight, not loose and has not come to the top of its travel.

3. Examiner: Please show me how to check the horn works correctly.

(This is carried out off road only). (Some vehicles may require the ignition to be on – do not start the engine).

Answer: Locate and press the horn briefly – the horn should sound.

4. Examiner: Please show me how to check all the indicators operate.

(Some vehicles may require the ignition to be on – do not start the engine).

Answer: Locate and switch on the hazard warning lights, walk round the vehicle checking that all the indicator bulbs are flashing.

5. Examiner: Please show me how to check the brake lights are operating on this car. I will assist you if needed.

(Some vehicles may require the ignition to be on – do not start the engine).

Answer: Ask the examiner to go to the back of the vehicle, then you press on the brake pedal. All appropriate brake lights should operate. Or if there is a reflective surface behind the car, look for the reflections.

6. Examiner: Please show me how to use the washer/wipers to clean the windscreen.

(Most vehicles require the ignition to be on – do not start the engine).

Answer: Locate and operate the control for washing and wiping the front and rear windscreens.

7. Examiner: Please show me how to demist the front side and rear windscreens in this vehicle.

(Most vehicles require the ignition to be on – do not start the engine).

Answer: Locate and set the front windscreen demist control, set the fan control to a high setting, adjust (if appropriate) the air ducts to point at the side windscreens. Locate and set the rear window demister. Return all controls to the original settings unless weather conditions require them to be set to demist. (Do not try to start the engine with the rear demist control on or the fan set to high).

8. Examiner: Show me how to set the rear fog lights on, and tell me when you would use them.

(Some vehicles may require the ignition to be on – do not start the engine).

Answer: Locate and set the appropriate switch, turning on the ignition and/or dipped headlights if necessary. Show the examiner the fog light warning light in the control panel. Switch off all lights and switches afterwards. Explain that the Highway Code requires that fog and high visibility lights are only to be used where the visibility is severely reduced (to below 100m).

9. Examiner: Please show me how to select main beams when your headlights are on dipped, tell me how you would know that the main beam is selected when you are driving.

(Some vehicles may require the ignition to be on – do not start the engine unless the particular vehicle requires the engine to be running).

Answer: Locate and switch on the headlights, then use the appropriate control to change from dipped headlight to main beams. Show the examiner the blue warning light in the control panel. Return the main beams to dipped and switch off the lights afterwards.

SHOW & TELL ME questions – you need open the bonnet and indicate the relevant item then explain how to perform the check – don’t touch anything under the bonnet as it may still be very hot.

10. Examiner: Please open the bonnet and show me where you would check to ensure there is sufficient engine oil. Tell me how you would perform the check.

Answer: Open the bonnet. Point out the dipstick. Say that you would remove it, clean it,  return it to full depth and remove again to check that the level is between the high and low marks.

11. Examiner: Please open the bonnet and show me where you would check the engine coolant. Tell me how you would know if the level is correct.

Answer: Open the bonnet. Point out the engine coolant reservoir and the high and low coolant level markings. State that you would ensure the visible coolant level is between the two marks.

12. Examiner: Please open the bonnet and show me where you would check the hydraulic brake fluid level. Tell me how you would know if the level is correct.

Answer: Open the bonnet. Point out the hydraulic brake fluid reservoir and the high and low fluid level markings. State that you would ensure the visible fluid level is between the two marks.

13. Examiner: Please open the bonnet and show me the windscreen washer reservoir. Tell me how you would check the level.

Answer: Open the bonnet. Point out the washer reservoir. If there is a level indicator, point it out, otherwise explain that you would top it up regularly to the full level or close to the top of the filler tube.

TELL ME questions – you need to explain

14. Examiner: Explain how you check that the brakes operate correctly before a journey.

Answer: Tell the examiner that you would press on the footbrake. It should feel firm and not spongy. It should not go all the way to the floor. After moving away brake lightly, the car should hold straight.

15. Examiner: Explain how you check that the headlights and tail lights are operating (don’t perform the check).

Answer: Tell the examiner that you would switch on the head and tail lights, and then walk round the car checking all the bulbs are working, including the rear number plate light.

16. Examiner: Explain where to look for the recommended tyre pressures and tell me how you would check the pressures.

Answer: Look in the correct table in the vehicle hand book and check and adjust all four tyres (and the spare) when they are cold, using a reliable pressure gauge and remember to replace the valve caps.

17. Examiner: What is the legal tread depth for tyres, and how would you check the general safe condition of the tyres.Tread Depth

Answer: Tell the examiner that you would check that the depth was at least 1.6mm in the central ¾ band all round the tyre using a reliable tread depth gauge. There must be no cuts or bulges in the side walls of the tyre.

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18. Examiner: Explain how to check the head restraint is properly adjusted to provide protection against injury in an accident.

Answer: Tell the examiner that you ensure the rigid part of the restraint is as high as the level of the eyes or top of the ears when sitting normally. It should be reasonably close to the back of the head. Explain that some head restraints may not be fully adjustable.

19. Examiner: Explain how to tell if the anti-lock braking system is defective.

Answer: Tell the examiner you would see a warning light come on in the control panel.

Remember to ask your instructor to show you the controls and switches specific to the car you are using for test.

END

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