Show me tell me vehicle check questions & answers for the driving test

On this page about the “Show me, tell me” vehicle checks, which is section 7 on the driving test report form, you will first discover what they are. You will also learn how to answer the “Show me, Tell me” questions to UK driving test standard. You can be sure that this is what the examiner wants to see as it is based on information from a number of official sources:

You’ll also discover not just how to do it but also what happens when you have to do the “Show me, Tell me” checks on your driving test.

We’ll start by finding out what is expected of you in general terms.

Current and historical guidance from the driving test report explanation sheet

You will need a basic knowledge of the fundamental safety checks applicable to your vehicle. These are also known as the ‘Show me, tell me questions’

What happens during the test

The ‘Tell me’ questions are asked at the beginning of the test before starting the engine. They, only require you to explain to the examiner how to do something rather than demonstrate it.

The ‘Show me’ questions are asked while you are driving along and require you to demonstrate to the examiner how to operate a specific switch or switches.

How to answer the Vehicle check “Show me, Tell me” questions to UK driving test standard

These are the vehicle safety questions used by driving examiners in car driving tests.
Tell me questions

  1. Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
    • The brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

     

  2. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
    • A: Tyre pressure information is in the manufacturer’s vehicle handbook, and often on the driver’s door pillar or inside the fuel filler cover. Tyre pressure information sticker on door post To check the pressures remove the tyre valve caps and apply a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

     

  3. 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.

     

  4. 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 3/4 of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

     

  5. Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working. (No need to exit vehicle)
    • Explanation: Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle. (As this is a “Tell Me” question, there is no need to physically check the lights).

     

  6. 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.

     

  7. Tell me how you would check the direction indicators are working. (No need to exit the vehicle)
    • Explanation: Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), then walk round vehicle. (As this is a “Tell Me” question, there is no need to physically check the lights).

     

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

    • Explanation: Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc., or ask someone to help.

     

  9. Tell me how you would check the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
    • Explanation: 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.

     

  10. Tell 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.

     

  11. Tell 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.

     

  12. Open the bonnet 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/ maximum markers.

     

  13. Open the bonnet and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient engine coolant.
    • Identify high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

     

  14. Open the bonnet and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.
    • Identify reservoir, check level against high/low markings.

 

‘Show me’ questions

  1. When it is safe to do so can you show me how you wash and clean the rear windscreen.
    • Operate the rear wash wipe switch. Make sure the icon has a rectangular shape.

     

  2. When it is safe to do so can you show me how you wash and clean the front windscreen.
    • Operate the rear wash wipe switch. Make sure the icon doesn’t have a rectangular shape.Front windscreen wash-wipe icon showing curved screen representation

     

  3. When it is safe to do so can you show me how you would switch on your dipped headlights.
    • This is normally done by twisting the end of the light switch stalkHeadlamp-stalk-switch

     

  4. When it is safe to do so can you show me how you would set the rear demister.
    • Operate the rear defroster switchRear screen defroster switch showing icon of three bi-curved arrows pointing into a rectangular box

     

  5. When it is safe to do so can you show me how you would operate the horn.
    • The horn push is frequently in the centre of the steering wheel.Centre of steering wheel horn being sounded

     

  6. When it is safe to do so can you show me how you would demist the front windscreen.
    • The heater, fan and outlet controls are turned all the way in a clockwise direction.car-heater-fan-and-outlet-controls

     

  7. When it is safe can you show me how you would open and close the side window.
    • The drivers door switch is generally on the drivers door in at the front right.Car door window switches

How the examiner assesses and marks your use of the ancillary controls

Expected outcome / competence

Display and demonstrate a basic knowledge and use of the fundamental controls and safety checks applicable to the vehicle. For example safe fluid levels, lighting and tyre checks and washing the windscreen.

Assessment criteria (examples)

Driving fault

Answering one ‘tell me’ question incorrectly and/or displaying a minor loss of vehicle control whilst demonstrating the on-road ‘show me’ question.

Serious fault

Displaying serious loss of control whilst demonstrating the on-road ‘show me’ question.

Dangerous fault

Displaying an actual dangerous loss of vehicle control whilst demonstrating the on-road ‘show me’ question requiring examiner action to prevent a collision.

The National Driving Standard for use of the ancillary controls

Performance standards

You must be able to:

  • monitor and respond correctly to gauges, warning lights and other aids when driving
  • monitor and respond appropriately to instructions provided by sat nav systems without being distracted from the driving task
  • respond to the actual situation on the road ahead
  • make effective use of driving aids such as adaptive cruise control, daytime running lights, automatic headlights and lane warning systems and override or disable them if it is safer to do so
  • make effective use of mirrors and other aids to vision to identify and monitor other road users and hazards
  • judge speed and distance correctly and effectively
  • signal your intentions correctly to other road users in a safe and systematic way
  • use the vehicle’s lights, indicators and horn correctly
  • use the windows, wipers, demisters and climate and ventilation controls so that you can see clearly

Knowledge and understanding requirements

You must know and understand:

  • the purpose and meaning of dashboard warning lights
  • the location of switches and controls and how to use them without being distracted or losing control of the vehicle while on the move
  • that you must always act on the basis of what is in front of you and not just rely on the information provided by sat nav systems or other aids
  • when it is safer to override or disable driving aids
  • when and how to use dipped headlights
  • the rules that apply to the use of fog lights
  • how different types of mirror can make other road users appear to be nearer or further away than they actually are
  • how to identify and respond to changes in road surfaces and weather conditions

Examiner’s guidance from the DVSA about the “Show me, Tell me” vehicle check questions

Before moving away candidates must be asked one ‘tell me’ vehicle safety check question. Whilst on the move candidates must be asked to demonstrate one ‘show me’ question. To ensure uniformity the questions must be selected from those listed. The questions used should be recorded on the rear of the DL25, for example S1 and T7 – there is no need to write out the whole question.

As a general rule the questions should be used in rotation. However, examiners will need to exercise common sense and discretion at times, for example in deciding whether a question which involves opening the bonnet is appropriate in high winds or heavy rain. Examiners should choose a suitable road to ask the ‘on the move show me’ question.

Although some checks may involve the candidate in opening the bonnet to identify where fluid levels would be checked, candidates must not be asked to touch a hot engine or physically check the fluid levels.

Assessment

One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault being recorded on the DL25 in the appropriate box. However, examiners should not pursue questions unduly in an attempt to elicit the precise responses listed; they should bear in mind that these are basic safety checks, and that in-depth knowledge is not required for the answers to be acceptable.

If the candidate committed a serious/dangerous fault whilst demonstrating the ‘show me’ question on the move, this will be recorded as a serious/dangerous fault at ‘Vehicle checks’. If, during the ‘tell me’ question, the candidate attempts to turn the ignition then the Examiner should intervene and explain that this is not necessary as a demonstration is not required. If, however, the candidate continues and turns the ignition and inadvertently starts the car up in gear and the Examiner has to take action then an ETA would be recorded and a serious fault recorded as ‘Precautions’ on the DL25. The candidate may however complete the check correctly and therefore nothing would be recorded under ‘Safety Questions’.

As vehicle technology advances, more cars are being equipped with electronic diagnostic systems which inform the driver of the state of the engine fluid levels, tyre pressures, etc. It is acceptable for a candidate to refer to the vehicle information system (if fitted) when answering questions on topics such as fluid levels or tyre pressures. Examiners need to be aware that although it may be necessary in order to carry out some of the checks, the ability to open the bonnet is, in itself, not one of the competencies which candidates are required to demonstrate. Instructors are expected to teach it, but should a candidate experience difficulty, it will be acceptable for the accompanying driver to assist in the opening and closing of the bonnet. Candidates should not be penalised if this proves necessary.

Special needs

Where a special need prevents a candidate from carrying out a practical activity for the ‘tell me’ question they should be asked to demonstrate understanding by oral explanation, however they should be expected to carry out the ‘show me’ question on the move. Reasonable consideration must be adopted in cases of disability and if adaptations don’t allow candidates to operate windows or demisters on the move, and they are unable to do so, then an alternative question should be asked.

Health and safety

Examiners must wear fluorescent vests (not full jackets) when asking the vehicle safety questions on the road. If necessary, candidates should be discouraged from standing in a vulnerable location (eg along the offside of the vehicle in a busy road) when carrying out these checks.