Help for learner drivers

I've collated this page to help my students prepare themselves for taking their driving theory and practical driving test. Some of the information is suitable for anyone learning to drive, however I have collected some content specifically to help learner drivers who will be taking their driving test in Darlington, County Durham.

engine bay questions driving test

Questions you may be asked on your driving test

Below is a list of potential questions you will be asked on your test. You will be asked two of these safety questions below so you should become familiar with them so you can confidently answer them to get your test off to the best start.  some will be about ancillary controles including wipers, demisters and some will be about the outside lighrs and how to check they are working fully effectively. You may also get questions about the compartments around the engine. Please find a picture of our actual car and we can identify wher each reservoir is when you open the bonnet.

1. 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.

Answer: Identify dipstick / oil-level indicator; describe check of oil level against the minimum / maximum markers.

2. 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.

Answer: Identify high / low level markings on the header tank where fitted or radiator filler-cap; describe how to top up to correct level.

3. Identify where the windscreen-washer reservoir is, and tell me how you would check the windscreen-washer level.

Answer: Identify reservoir and explain how to check level.

4. 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.

Answer: Identify reservoir and check level against high / low markings.

5. Show me how you would check that the brake lights are working on this car. (The examiner can assist you. If you need to switch the ignition on, please don’t start the engine).

Answer: Operate brake pedal; make use of reflections in windows, garage doors, etc. or ask someone to help.

6. Tell me how you would check that the brakes are working before starting a journey. Brakes should not feel spongy or slack.

Answer: The brakes should be tested as you set off and the vehicle should not pull to one side.

7. Tell me where you would find the information for the recommended tyre-pressures for this car and how tyre pressures should be checked.

Answer: You would need to check the manufacturer’s handbook. You should check and adjust pressures when tyres are cold, using a reliable pressure gauge. Remember to re-fit the valve caps and to check the spare tyre.

8. 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.

Answer: There should be no cuts and / or bulges; 1.6 mm of tread depth across the central three quarters of the breadth of the tyre and around the entire outer circumference.

9. Show me / explain how you would check that the power-assisted steering is working before starting a journey.

Answer: 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.

10. Tell me how you would check that the headlights and tail-lights are working. (No need to exit the vehicle).

Answer: Operate switch – (turn on ignition if necessary); walk round vehicle.

11. Show me how you would check that the direction indicators are working.

Answer: Apply the indicators – (turn on ignition if necessary) – or hazard warning switch and check functioning of all indicators.

12. Show me how you would check that the horn is working (off-road only).

Answer: The check is carried out by using the control (turn on ignition if necessary).

13. Show me how you would check the parking brake (handbrake) for excessive wear. Make sure you keep safe control of the vehicle.

Answer: Demonstrate by applying the parking brake so that when it is fully applied it secures itself, and is not at the end of the working travel.

14. Show me how you would clean the windscreen using the windscreen washers and wipers.

Answer: Operate the appropriate switch as per the manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to switch the ignition on to do this.

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

Answer: Operate the appropriate controls / switch for both front and rear screens as per the manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to switch the ignition on to do this.

16. Show me how you would switch on the rear fog light(s) and explain when you would use it / them. (No need to exit vehicle, please don’t start the engine).

Answer: Operate the appropriate switch as per the manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to switch the ignition on to do this. You would use the rear fog lights when visibility is reduced to less than 100 metres (Highway Code).

17. Show me how you would switch your headlights from dipped to main beam and explain how you would know the main beam is on whilst inside the car.

Answer: Operate the appropriate switch as per manufacturer’s instructions and note the colour of the warning light displayed on the instrument panel.

The standard code is green for dipped and blue for main beam. For those people who are unable to differentiate between the colours, note the different layout of the symbols used.

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

Answer: Follow the advice given in the official publication, ’Driving-the essential skills’.

19. Tell me how you would know if there was a problem with your anti-lock braking system.

Answer: Check that the appropriate symbol used in the instrument panel goes out when the engine is started and remains off for the duration of your journey.

Traffic lights and roundabouts in Darlington town centre

The traffic lights at Parkgate and the Freeman's Place roundabout (Halfords) are known for causing problems for a number of drivers not just learners.

Below are a number of video’s showing the correct way to negotiate the traffic lights and roundabouts when approaching from different directions.

External links and resources for learners

These are a compilation of links I've found on the internet that will help my students prepare for their driving test.