Your practical driving test isn’t just about the physical act of driving. Before you even get in the car you’ll be asked some questions which we call Tell Me questions. You’ll be asked one Tell Me question before you start driving and one Show Me questions when you’re in the car.

Knowing the answers to all these questions isn’t just important to pass your test but it’s important for your everyday driving.

We’ve broken down the questions for you, so read on to prepare yourself for the official Tell Me questions and answers.

Checking engine


Be a driving pro –

Make sure you know how to open the bonnet of the car and close it safely

  • Make sure ties, hair, necklaces etc. do NOT get caught in the engine!
  • If it’s in a clear plastic container, it’s meant to be checked visually
  • Different parts of the engine are coloured to draw attention to them so familiarise yourself with your car and it’s colours (remember each car is different!)
  • Oil and brakes have a red warning lights on the dashboard inside the car and engine coolant has a temperature gauge
  • Red means danger! (Pull over as soon as you can safely)
  • Make sure the engine is off before opening the bonnet.

TOP TIP: Every car is different. However, ALWAYS check your handbook to see where things are and how to maintain them properly and if you’re not sure…pop to your friendly local garage and they’ll be happy to help you out!

1. Examiner: Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that the engine has sufficient oil.

man checking oil

Pupil: On a flat and level surface, having let the oil settle, you identify the dipstick/oil level indicator and check the oil level against the minimum and maximum markers by removing the dipstick, wiping it clean putting it back in and pulling it back out again.

Impress your examiner: Know exactly where to put the oil and what kind of oil you need.

Oil warning light
Be safe:
Remember there is an oil warning light on your dashboard and if it goes red, pull over (as soon as you can safely)!

2. Examiner: Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that you have a safe level of hydraulic brake fluid.

Shom Me, Tell Me brake fluid reservoir

Pupil: You identify the correct reservoir and check that the level is between the minimum and maximum.

Top Tip: Your handbrake is linked to the warning light on your dashboard. You need to make sure your handbrake is completely off when you’re driving as, if it’s not, the car can still move but the warning light can mask any danger if your handbrake is partially on.

 Brake warning light



3. Examiner: Open the bonnet and tell me how you’d check that your engine has sufficient engine coolant.

SMTM Engine coolant reservoir

Pupil: You would identify the correct reservoir, check the level against the markings or the radiator filler cap and describe how you would fill to the correct level.

Top tip: If the coolant level is low, add the correct coolant to the reservoir (not the radiator itself).  When the coolant rises to the cold fill line, replace the cap and tighten it until you feel it click. But always check your handbook oh and if you take the top off when it’s still hot and under pressure, you’ll be covered in boiling hot engine coolant, so be careful!


Engine temperature gauge

Be safe: Remember, your engine coolant is connected to a temperature gauge on your dashboard!


Next week we’ll be looking at more Tell Me questions (yes, there’s more) but you’ll be a Tell Me Pro in no time!


For driving lessons in Gosport, Portsmouth , Southsea and the surrounding area with patient professional Instructors, Contact us on 02393 75 25 25 or use our  online contact form.