Show & tell

Basic car maintenance and checks

Knowing how to perform basic checks and maintenance is not just required as part of your test but it also very useful once you are driving on your own. You can see the questions that could be put to you below.

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How would you check that the engine oil level is correct?

Identify dipstick/oil level indicator, describe how you would remove the dipstick, wipe with a clean cloth, re-insert dipstick and remove it for a true reading checking the level of oil against the minimum/maximum markings on the dipstick. Identify oil filler cap for top up if required.


How would you check for the correct coolant level?

Open the bonnet, identify the coolant tank and describe how you would check the coolant level against the minimum/maximum markings on the coolant tank. If top up is required it is advisable to leave the engine to cool for at least 10 minutes and then unscrew the lid carefully allowing any remaining pressure to escape slowly.


How would you check the windscreen washer fluid level?

Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and describe how it should be topped up frequently and particularly before a long journey.


How would you check that you have a safe level of brake fluid?

Identify the brake fluid reservoir and describe how you would check the brake fluid level against the minimum/maximum markings on the reservoir and that if top up is required then it is important that hygiene is observed in order to prevent any dirt entering the brake system that may lead to loss of brake performance.


How do you check your lights?

For head&tail lights, you can simply switch these on (with ignition on) and walk around the car to check they are operating correctly. To check the brake light, you would need to operate the brake pedal, make use of any reflections in windows/garage doors etc or if none are available then ask someone to help.


Show me how you would check that the horn is working?

Check to be careful not to startle other road users and apply pressure on the horn control.


Show me / tell me how you would check that the power assisted steering is working correctly before starting a journey?

If the steering becomes heavy then the system may not be working correctly. Apply and maintain gentle pressure on the steering wheel while at the same time start the engine. This should result in a slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. Alternatively, turning the wheel just after moving off will give an immediate indication if the power assistance is working correctly.


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?

There should be no cuts or bulges and 1.6mm of tread depth across the central ¾ of the tyres breadth and around the entire outer circumference.


Show me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working?

Turn on the ignition (if necessary) and turn on the headlights checking all lights are working, remembering to check front and rear.


Show me how you would check that the directional indicators are working correctly?

Turn on the ignition (if necessary) and apply the indicators ensuring that both left and right indicators are working at the front, side and rear of the vehicle.

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