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Before The Test - Information that you may require before your driving test.
Theory Test - Some useful hints and tips which will help with your theory test.
Practical Test - Helpful advice to get you through your practical driving test.
After The Test - A guide to general motoring for when you have passed your test.

PRACTICAL TEST - Under the bonnet




At the start of the driving test candidates are asked two questions, one ‘show me’ and one ‘tell me’. One or both questions answered incorrectly will result in one driving fault (i.e. minor fault) being recorded. The questions that are used by the examiner are as follows:

Mechanic Shows a Lady Under The Bonnet of her CarOpen the bonnet, identify:

  • Where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficient oil?
  • Where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level?
  • Where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level?
  • Where the brake fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid?


Tell me how you would check that the:

  • Brake lights are working on this car?
  • Brakes are working before starting a journey?
  • Tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road?
  • Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressure for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked?

Checking Over a Car Before PurchasingShow me how you would check the:

  • Headlights & taillights are working?
  • Direction indicators are working?
  • Horn is working (off road only)?
  • Handbrake for excessive wear?
  • The power assisted steering is working before starting a journey?


The examiner will use one of the following 12 combinations, of the questions above, on the test.

Combination 1
1. 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?
Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe checking of oil level against the minimum/maximum markers.

2. Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey?
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 (Although a “Show me” question, examiners should recognise and accept that candidates answers may involve a significant proportion of explanation rather than demonstration).


Combination 2
1. Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level and tell me how you would check the engine has the correct level?
Identify high/low level markings on header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap and describe how to top up to the correct level.

2. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear?
Demonstrate by applying parking brake that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.


Combination 3
This combination will only be used where the test centre has a car park and where annoyance will not be caused to others.
1. Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level?
Identify reservoir and explain how to check level.

2. Show me how you would check if the horn is working (off road only)?
Check is carried out by using control (turn on ignition if necessary)


Combination 4
1. Open the bonnet, identify where the fluid reservoir is and tell me how you would check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid?
Identify reservoir, check level against high/low marking.

2. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working?
Applying the indicators or hazard warning switch and checking functioning of all indicators.


Combination 5
1. Tell me how you would check that the engine brake lights are working on this car?
Operate brake pedal, make use of reflection in windows, garage doors etc or ask someone to help.

2. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear?
Demonstrate by applying parking brake that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.


Combination 6
1. Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey?
Brakes should not feel spongy or slack Brakes should be tested as you set off. Vehicle should not pull to one side.

2. Show me how you would check that the headlights & taillights are working?
Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), walk round vehicle.


Combination 7
1. Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure that they have sufficient tread depth that their general condition is safe to use on the road?
No cuts and bulges. 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the breath of the tyre and around the entire outer circumferences.

2. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working?
Applying the indicators or hazard warning switch and checking functioning of all indicators.


Combination 8
1. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressure for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked?
Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget the spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

2. Show me how you would check that the headlights & taillights are working?
Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary), walk round the car.


Combination 9
This combination will only be used where the test centre has a car park and where annoyance will not be caused to others.
1. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressure for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked?
Manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget the spare tyre, remember to refit valve caps.

2. Show me how you would check if the horn is working (off road only)?
Check is carried out by using control.


Combination 10
1. 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, check level against high/low markings.

2. Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey?
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. If the steering becomes heavy the system may not be working properly. (Although a “Show me” question, examiners should recognise and accept that candidates answers may involve a significant proportion of explanation rather than demonstration).


Combination 11
1. 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?
Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe checking oil level against the minimum/maximum marker.

2. Show me how you would check that the headlights & taillights are working?
Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary) walk round car.


Combination 12
1. 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?
Identify high/low level markings on the header tank where fitted or radiator filler cap, and describe how to top up to correct level.

2. Show me how you would check that the headlights & taillights are working?
Operate switch (turn on ignition if necessary) walk round car