OMG!…Maintenance Questions – Help!!!
Panic not! The questions are really simple and you will only be asked one “Show Me” question and one “Tell Me” question. Some of the questions may be asked in either the “Show Me” or the “Tell Me” format so make sure you pay attention and listen to the question carefully.
Here are all the Questions and the Answers – 19 in all (Some of the Answers will have additional information in italics. You don’t need to remember all this as well, it is there just to help you.)
Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level? (This is a Show Me)
Open the bonnet, and point out the windscreen washer bottle and explain how you would check the level. In most cases it is just a visual check to see how much fluid is in the bottle.(You may have a picture of a windscreen and a wiper on the lid. The lid on my car is blue but it could be any colour. The washer liquid can also be any colour, the most usual one is blue but I have seen it in pink and yellow too).
Tell Me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
Explain that the brakes should not feel spongy or slack. Brakes should be tested as you set off. The vehicle should not pull to one side. (To test the brakes drive forwards slowly as you set off and when it is safe (mirrors!) apply the footbrake. The brakes should feel good and firm. If the car feels as though it is pulling more to one side than the other, then part of the brake system could be faulty. However, it will pull a little to the left, if the camber is steep. The brakes should also be fairly quiet. Listen for any graunchy noises or squealing. If in any doubt about your brakes, contact your local service centre.)
Tell me how you would check that the head lights and tail lights are working before starting a journey.
Explain that you would operate the switch (turning on the ignition if necessary for your vehicle), then walk round the vehicle to check that none of the bulbs are dud. (This is a “Tell Me” question, you don’t need to exit the vehicle, to physically check the lights. Some vehicles have a warning system and will tell you if one of the bulbs has blown, but might not tell you which one.)
Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
Refer to the manufacturer’s guide, use a reliable pressure gauge, check and adjust the pressures when tyres are cold, don’t forget the spare tyre, remember to refit the valve caps. ( Some cars have a metal label fixed in a prominent position, such as on the inside of either the driver’s or passenger door pillar like the one shown or on the inside of the fuel cap door. The location of this notice, if there is one, will be found in the handbook anyway.)
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 in the tyre. There must beat least 1.6mm of tread depth across the central three quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference. (Get into the habit of checking tyre condition and pressures at least once a week. Good tyres are essential for road holding and controlled braking. Replace badly worn or damaged tyres immediately. Apart from the danger risks, you could also be fined and get 3 points on your licence for each faulty tyre. Remember that if you get 6 points during the first two years of receiving your full licence, it will be revoked and you will have to pass both your theory and practical test all over again.)
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 that the centre of the head restraint is level with the bumpy bit on the back of your head. (If you look at someone else’s head, you will notice that the bumpy bit is level with the top of their ears and also level with their eyes. To check that you have the restraint in the correct position turn your head towards the restraint and see if your eyes are pointing to the centre. If you are particularly tall or short, it might not be possible to move the restraint as far as you need it to be. Also some restraints might not be adjustable.)
Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.
A warning light would show up on the dashboard if there is a fault. (All your warning lights come on when you turn on the ignition. As the vehicle’s computer goes through all it’s checks the lights will go out. If any of them stay on then there is a problem. However, the brake light will stay on until you touch the brakes. You should know the meaning of all the warning lights on the instrument panel and the appropriate action to take, if any of them come on while driving or stay on after the initial power on test. Refer to the vehicle hand book to see what they all mean.)
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 the dipstick and explain how you would check the oil level. (You won’t be asked to actually check the oil in case you get dirty. You just need to point to it and explain that the vehicle should have been stationary for a few minutes and that the vehicle should be parked on a level surface. To check the oil you remove the dipstick and wipe it with an old rag or some kitchen paper, dip the stick back fully into it’s socket, then remove it and read where the level is between the minimum and maximum markers. )
Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
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. (A fault with the power assisted steering may be indicated by a warning light on the instrument panel. Not all vehicles have a warning light as you would know instantly if it stopped working. The steering becomes exceedingly heavy. )
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 the coolant reservoir and point out the Min/Max level indicators and describe how to top up to the correct level. (The coolant system is pressurised and it can be dangerous to unscrew the filler cap when the engine is hot! It is safest to check the coolant level when the engine is cold. If the collant needs a top up then there is probably a leak somewhere. Top up with tap water, then take it to a service centre for them to check it out and restore the correct balance of water to anti-freeze. )
Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear, make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.
Apply the footbrake firmly. Demonstrate by applying the paring brake so that when it is fully applied, it secures itself and is not at the end of the woking travel. (When the vehicle is new, the handbrake (parking brake) only pulls about halfway up to the top of the opening. As it gets worn, it pulls up higher and higher until eventually it would pull right up to the top if it was allowed to get that bad. At which point, it may not hold the vehicle firmly when parked on a hill. Your service station will adjust this when you take the car in for service or for an MOT. )
Show me how you would check the horn is working (Off road only)
Check is carried out by beeping the horn (turn on ignition if necessary). (You won’t be asked this question at Bournemouth because you will be parked on the road at the beginning of your test and at no time will you ever be off the road during your test. If you are asked this at another test centre, then make sure there isn’t anyone walking by at the time that might be alarmed by the beep. )
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 the reservoir and point out the minimum and maximum markings. (Most modern cars have a picture symbolising the brakes and the reservoir is opaque plastic, allowing you to see the contents without opening the cap. With older cars you may have to open the cap and look inside to see the min/max markings. If this is the case make sure you don’t contaminate the fluid with dust, dirt or water. Wipe the cap to remove all residue before attempting to remove it. )
Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.
Operate the hazard warning switch and walk round the vehicle to check that all the bulbs are working. (You can use the indictor switch as well but then you need to do one side, flick the switch in the opposite direction and then check the other side. You will probably need to turn on the ignition too, whereas the hazard switch will work without the ignition and you can check all four corners in one go. )
Show me how you would check the brake lights are working on this car.
Operate the brake pedal, make use of reflections in windows, garage doors etc., or ask someone to help. (the examiner will offer to help) (You will probably need to switch on the ignition for this. It is a good idea to wind the driver’s window down too, so that you can speak to the examiner while you press the brake pedal. This is the only light checking question where you can’t walk round and have a look yourself, because you need to have your foot on the brake pedal. If you were at home on your own and couldn’t find anything to reflect against, you could probably put something heavy, like a brick, on the pedal.)
Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washer and wipers.
Operate the control to wash and wipe the screen. (You may need to switch on the ignition for this but there is no need to start the engine.)
Show me how you would set the de-mister controls to clear all the windows effectively, this should include both the front and rear screens.
Set all the relevant controls including; fan speed to fastest speed, temperature to hottest temperature and air direction – all to screen. This will clear the windscreen at the front and will also direct some air towards the side windows.( You can angle the side vents towards the windows too. ) You also need to switch on the rear screen heater to clear the back window. ( This switch may also heat the door mirrors if they are electric ).
Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it/them. ( There is no need to exit the vehicle.)
Operate the switch ( Turn on dipped head lights and ignition if necessary ). Check warning light is on and explain use. ( Remember that these are high intensity lights and they can dazzle following drivers. Fog lights should only be used when visibility is seriously reduced to less than 100 meters. )
Show me how you switch your headlights form dipped to main beam and explain how you would know that the main beam is on whilst inside the car.
Operate the switch (with ignition on if necessary) check to see if you have a main beam light on. The dipped warning light is green and the beam lines are pointing down. The main beam warning light is blue and the beam lines are horizontal. ( Remember that you can dazzle approaching drivers and those you are following if you don’t dip your headlights in good time ).