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Show Me Tell Me

Show me / tell me questions

At the start of your driving test you’ll be asked 2 questions about vehicle safety checks. One will be to show them something and the other to tell them something. If you get either or both questions wrong you usually just get 1 minor fault but it is possible to fail the test on this section if you lose control of the car as you are performing the checks.

Do not turn the car on unless the examiner is sitting in the passenger seat. Turning the engine on while you are alone in the car counts as driving without a licence. Many cars now have a diagnostic system which shows you any problems with the vehicle on the dashboard.

You are not allowed to just say that the car would just tell you of any problems because the system may be faulty where as a manual check is more reliable. The only exception to this is the question about testing your ABS as it’s safer to see if the light is on than put yourself into a skid to find out!

Want to read the official DVSA list of show me/tell me questions and answers? click here


Below are the questions you could be asked and examples of how they could be responded to on your test day.

Tell me questions:

Q1 : Tell me how you would check the brakes are working before starting a journey?
A1 : Brakes should be tested as you set off by applying gentle pressure at slow speed. Brakes should not feel spongy or slack and the vehicle should not pull to one side.
Q2 : Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked?
A2 : Recommended pressures can be found In the manufacturer’s guide. Use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.
Q3 : 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?
A3 : Tyres should be checked to ensure there are no cuts or bulges. There should be 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference. This can be checked with a tyre depth guage or the depth markers in the tyres themselves.
Q4 : Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection in the event of a crash?
A4 : Adjust the rigid part of the restraint so that it is close to the back of your head and level with your eyes or top of your ears.
Q5 : Tell me how you would check that the headlights & tail lights are working?
A5 : Turn on the relevant switch and walk around the car checking that they are working.
Q6 : Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system?
A6 : The ABS warning light would become illuminated on the instrument panel if there is a fault.
Q7 : Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil?
A7 : Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe check of oil level against the minimum/maximum markers.
Q8 : 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?
A8 : Identify reservoir, check fluid level is between high/low markings.
Q9 : Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level?
A9 : Identify high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap and describe how to top up to correct level.
Q10 : Tell me where the windscreen wash reservoir is and how you would check the level?
A10 : Explain how the washer fluid should be filled to a level between the min and max markers on the side of the reservoir. They can be checked by simply operating them.

Show me questions:

Q1 : Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey?
A11 : 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.
Q2 : Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear, make sure you keep control of the vehicle?
A12 : Apply footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying parking brake so that when it is fully applied it secures itself and is not at the end of the working travel.
Q3 : Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only)?
A13 : Check is carried out by pressing gently on the control (turn on ignition if necessary).
Q4 : Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working?
A14 : Applying the indicators or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators. You may need to switch the ignition on, however, you should not start the engine.
Q5 : Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car (I can assist you, if you need to switch the ignition on, please don’t start the engine)?
A15 : Operate brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc, or ask someone to help. As this is now a show me question the examiner may check the brake lights for you. You may need to switch the ignition on, however you should not start the engine.
Q6 : Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washers and wipers?
A16 : Operate control to wash and wipe windscreen. You may need to switch the ignition on, however, you should not start the engine.
Q7 : Show me how you would set the demister controls to clear all the windows effectively, this should include both front and rear screens?
A17 : 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.
Q8 : Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them (no need to exit the vehicle)?
A18 : Operate the rear fog switch after switching on dipped headlights, check switch is illuminated and explain that they should only be used when visibility is reduced to 100 metres or less.
Q9 : Show me how you switch your headlights from dipped to main beam and explain how you know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.?
A19 : Move the stalk attached to the steering column forwards which will illuminate a blue warning light on the instrument panel.

Our Videos

This video goes through all of the questions and answers for my car:

Video 01

DVSA Videos

Click to view videos from the DVSA covering the Show me / tell me section of the test.

Video 01
Video 02
Video 03

As well as being needed as part of your practical test, you can save yourself a lot of grief and expense after you´ve passed by having a basic knowledge of car maintenance and safety checks. Your test begins with one show me question and one tell me question.

These relate to the maintenance and operation of your car and failure to answer both correctly will result in a driver fault – remember you are only allowed 15 in total on your test report.