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Know Your Car

Know your car

Basic car maintenance is something every car owner should know. Being able to check the engine oil, the pressure of the tyres and the overall condition of the brakes can save you money, and you won't need to rely on the skills of a mechanic to do everything.

As part of the driving test you will be asked some questions on basic car maintenance these are just some examples of the questions and the answers:

Q1. 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.
A. Identify the coolant tank and check the min/max markings. If the coolant is below the min mark then more coolant will need to be added. To do this, unscrew the cap and pour in coolant until the max mark is reached.

Q2. 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.
A. Identify the brake fluid reservoir and check the fluid level against the min/max levels.

Q3. Show me/explain how you would check that the power assisted steering is working before starting a journey.
A. If the steering becomes heavy the steering may be faulty. Before starting a journey two simple checks can be made. 1) Gentle pressure on the steering wheel, maintained whilst the engine is started, should result in slight but noticeable movement as the system begins to operate. 2) Turning the steering wheel after just moving off will give an immediate indication that the power assisted steering is functioning correctly.

Q4. Tell me how you would check that the brake lights are working.
A. Activate the brake pedal and make use of reflections in garage doors etc to see if the brake lights come on or ask someone to help.

Q5. Open the bonnet identify, where you would check the engine oil level and tell me how you would check that the engine has enough oil.
A. Identify the dipstick, pull it out and check the oil level against the min/max markings

Q6. Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off road only).
A. Press the horn and listen (turn on ignition if necessary).

Q7. Identify where the windscreen washer reservoir is and tell me how you would check the windscreen washer level.
A. Identify the windscreen washer level reservoir and explain how to check the level. Your car manual will give you further details.

Q8. Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey.
A. As you move off check the brakes. They should not feel spongy and the car should not pull to one side.

Q9. Show me how you would check that the headlights and tail lights are working.
A. Turn on lights (turn ignition if necessary), walk around car and check that the lights are on.

Q10. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working correctly.
A. Activate the indicators or hazard warning lights and walk around the car to see if all the indicators are working correctly.

Q11. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.
A. Information will be found using the car manufacturer's manual. Check the tyre pressures by using a reliable pressure gauge when the tyres are cold. Don't forget the spare and remember to refit the valve caps.

Q12. Tell me how you would check the tyres to show that they have sufficient tread depth and that their general condition is safe to use on the road.
A. A safe tyre will have no cuts or bulges. The tread depth should be at least 1.6mm across the central 3/4s of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

Q13. Show me how you would check the parking brake for excessive wear.
A. Apply the parking brake. When it is fully applied it should secure itself.


View Under the Bonnet Video