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It`s worth getting to know what's under the bonnet

As part of the driving test you will be asked two questions which relate to the safety of the vehicle and general maintenance, below is the full list of the questions that you may be asked, but first have a look at the set of video`s by the DSA.


Tyres are the only contact with the road. It therefore stands to reason they must be looked after.

The following video`s offer good advise and an extremely good guide to how they should be looked after.


Vehicle Safety checks

  •  Examiner ;    Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has sufficiant oil.


  • Candidate: Identify dipstick describe how you would wipe and re apply and check against the marker on dipstick.




  • Examiner: Show me/explain  how you would check that the power steering is working before starting your journey.


  •  Candidate: If steering becomes heavy when engine is running the system may not be working correctly.To test, pull lightly on the steering wheel,this should move easily without excessive force.




  • Examiner: Open the bonnet, identify where you would check the engine coolant level (radiator water) and tell me how you would check that the engine has the correct level.


  •  Candidate : Identify the high low marking on the filling tank and top up accordingly. CAUTION hot water pressure within the system can be dangerous and cause severe scalding, if necessary, to release pressure due to overheating of engine,allow to cool down as much as possible  before opening cap with protection on hand and release slowly. 





  •  Examiner : Show me how you would check the parking brake(hand brake) for excessive wear.


  • Candidate : Apply the parking brake when it is fully applied it should secure itself and not reach the end of it`s working travel.





  • Examiner : Identify where the windsreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the level.


  • Candidate : Identify and explain how to check by lifting cap and assessing correct level.





  • Examiner : Show me how you would check that the horn is working.


  • Candidate: Press horn





  • Examiner :  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.


  • Candidate : Identify reservoir and check against high/low level.





  • Examiner : Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.


  • Candidate : Apply the hazard warning lights and check that all indicators are working correctly.





  • Examiner : Tell me how you would check that the brake lights are working on the vehicle.


  • Candidate : In the absence of someone to assist, press brake pedal and make use of reflective surface such as garage doors other vehicles or windows.





  • Examiner : Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.


  • Candidate : Brakes should not feel spongey or slack, at very slow speed press brake,vehicle should not pull to one side.





  • Examiner : Show me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working.


  • Candidate : Operate switch,walk round vehicle and check all lights.





  • Examiner : Tell me where you would find information for the recommended tyre pressures for the vehicle and how tyre pressures should be checked.


  • Candidate : In the vehicle owners handbook,use a good pressure gauge,and adjust pressures when tyres are cold,remembering to check spare tyre also and to refit dust caps.





  • Examiner : Tell me how you would check the tyres to ensure they have sufficient tread depth amd the condition is safe to use on the road.


  • Candidate : Look for cuts and bulges, feeling also for problems on the inside of the tyre. There should be at least 1.6 mm of tread across the central three quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire circumference. NOTE 1.6mm is an absolute minimum you would be advised to change the tyre when the depth of the tread reaches around 3mm. 




  • Examiner : Show me how you would clean the windsreen using the windscreen wipers and washers.


  • Candidate : Operate the windcreen wiper control by pulling the lever towards you. until water  sprays onto the screen  for a few seconds the wipers will move for a limited period even after you have stopped the spray.





  • Examiner : Tell me how you would check the headlights and tail lights  are working.


  • Candidate :  Explain that you would  turn the light switch (clockwise) then walk around the vehicle and check front and rear lights. Note: the examiner has asked you to TELL them therefore it will not be necessary to walk around the vehicle.






  • Examiner : Show me how you change your headlights from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know if main beam is on when inside the car


  •  Candidate : operate the switch located on the indicator stalk. The blue light will appear in the dashboard dial when the lights are on.






  •  Examiner : Show me how you would set all the demister  controls to clear all the windows effectively. This should include front and rear screens.


  •  Candidate : Use all the controls in the central console and demonstrate by turning the dials and explain where you would position the dial for clearing the screen of condensation. Next press the switch to clear the rear windsreen.


  • Note the engine or ignition need not be on for this demonstration.





  • Examiner : Show me how you would switch on the rear fog lights and explain when you would use them. ( no need to exit the vehicle)


  • Candidate : The fog light switch is close to the front and rear light switch.and are only possible to use when the lights are switched on to dipped headlights or high beam. The fog lights should only be used when visibility is seriously reduced and should be switched off as soon as conditions improve. To warn me that the lights are active a light will illuminate  within the speedometer.






  • Examiner : Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working.( I can assist you if necessary)


  •  Candidate : Turn on the ignition (NOT THE ENGINE)  press the brake pedal and check through nearby reflection of window or vehicle or you may  ask examiner to clarify that the lights are in working order.





  • Examiner : Tell me how you make sure your head restraint is correctly adjusted so it provides the best protection for you in the event of a crash.


  • Candidate : The head restraint should be adjusted so the rigid part of the restraint is at least as high as the eye or top of the ears,and is close to the back of the head as is comfortable.





  • Examiner : Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti lock braking sysyem


  • Candidate : A warning light will illuminate on the vehicle dashboard.

Please note:- As the safety checks are also dealing with legal aspects such as faulty lights/indicators/horn and tyres,  any faults  identified when carrying out the checks will be deemed unroadworthy therefore the examiner will refuse to take the test any further.


Oil filler Cap and Dipstick
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The Brake fluid Reservoir
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Check brake fluid levels are between maximum and minimum.

IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTE. The level of the brake fluid should not fall and it is advisable NOT to open the filler cap. If the levels start to fall you must seek immediate mechanical attention from a qualified person.


Water Coolant and Screenwash
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The windscreen wash/wiper control
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To operate, Pull  towards yourself to clean windcreen. allow water to spray on screen for around 5 seconds.

To operate the rear screen wash, push the control control toward dashboard.

The windsreen operation can be automatic, when a slight upward push is made this will operate the auto system which will then come on when water is sensored on the windscreen. To operate normally push the arm a further upward notch.


Demister and heated rear screen controls
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High beam light switch
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The blue "High beam" light is visible when head lights are on and indicator stalk is pushed forward. Use this when on roads without steet lamps and ensure they are switched off when other vehicles are driving towards (pull lever towards you to switch off).  so as not to dazzle. You should also be aware that you may dazzle drivers whom you are following.

To flash lights (for warning purposes only) pull indicator lever towards you.


ABS warning light
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The ABS light will illuminate when a problem occurs with the ANTI LOCK BRAKING SYSTEM


Rear fog light switch
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The rear fog lights are used when visibility is seriously reduced. they can only be used when head lights are switched on.

the switch is located at the outside bottom of the main light switch.


Other lights
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The rear fog warning light is visible inside the speedometer. Remember to switch off once visibility has improved.



Also visible within the speedometer are other warning signs. Front fog lights, Handbrake warning light (with audible warning)and seatbelt  not on  light ( with audible warning)

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