Can You Answer These Common Sense Car Questions?

By: Robert Bacon
Estimated Completion Time
5 min
Can You Answer These Common Sense Car Questions?
Image: Thomas Barwick/ DigitalVision/ Getty Images

About This Quiz

For some, knowing how and when to set up your AWD system doesn't matter ... right up until they need a snow-covered road. The same people might not realize that generally speaking, AWD cars also use more fuel than a two-wheel-drive car. A relatively large amount of these people probably rarely need the traction an AWD system provides, and end up paying for it at the pumps. 

A recent study found that nearly three-quarters of millennials wouldn't feel confident enough to change a car's tire. So in the event of a puncture, they'd need to use a breakdown service: yet more money needlessly spent.

Common car knowledge won't just save you money, it could save your life. For instance, do you know how to react should your car begin to skid on black ice? Or if you pull up to a junction with four roads of equal importance, who has the right of way? A wrong move in one of these situations could leave a dent in your wallet and car, or worse!

If you think you have what it takes to ace this common-sense automotive quiz, show us! If you don't, you might learn something which could save you money, or maybe even your life!

Question 1 - skid on ice What should you do if your car starts to skid on ice?
Counter-steer
If your rear end starts to step out while you're driving over ice, you should counter-steer to correct the unwanted drift. For example, if you're going around a right-hand bend and the rear of your vehicle steps out to the left, you should turn your steering wheel to the left to correct the drift.
Steer in the same direction as the skid.
Brake hard
Accelerate hard

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Question 2 - tailgating Which of these sayings helps you know if you're driving too closely to another vehicle?
Not today, tailgate away
One for me, two for you.
Only a fool breaks the two-second rule.
Pick a point on the road ahead. As soon as the vehicle in front of you passes that point, say to yourself, "Only a fool breaks the two-second rule." If you can finish this saying before you pass the point you initially picked, you should be a safe distance behind the vehicle ahead of you. If it's wet, repeat this saying twice.
Don't tailgate, won't tailgate.

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Question 3 - automatic transmission If a car is in sound working order, which of the following would cause its automatic gearbox to stall?
Coming to a stop too quickly
Putting the car into reverse while driving forward
It's almost impossible to stall a modern automatic car if it's mechanically sound. If your vehicle doesn't have a reverse inhibit feature and you put it into reverse while moving forward in drive, you may stall the engine.
Pulling away too quickly
Pulling away too slowly

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Question 4 - jumper cables BW What colors are jumper cables?
Black and white
Blue and red
Black and red
Jumper cables are always black and red, and for good reason. The black cable always houses the negative (-) part and the red cable always houses the positive (+) part.
Red and white

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Question 5 - lost traction If your car is understeering, which wheels have lost traction?
All of them
The front wheels
Understeer occurs when your front tires lose traction while cornering. If you're carrying too much momentum when trying to turn, your car will keep traveling in the same direction even as you turn the steering wheel.
The rear wheels
It depends on the direction you're turning.

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Question 6 - tires On a FWD car, which tires generally wear out first?
The rear
They all wear at the same rate.
It depends on where the engine is mounted.
The front
On front-wheel-drive (FWD) the front tires generally wear out faster than the rear. This is because the front tires need to deal with accelerating, turning and the majority of the braking.

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Question 7 - roadster How many seats does a roadster have?
One
Two
The term "roadster" was an American term given to two-seat cars which offered no weather protection. Now, however, the term is used internationally to include two-seat convertibles.
Four
Five

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Question 8 - headlights When do your vehicle's headlights need to be turned on?
6 p.m.
At sunset
30 minutes before sunset
Twilight, or the short time preceding the sunset, can be quite a dangerous time to be on the road. Visibility is greatly reduced yet many people don't switch on their headlights. To combat this, you must legally switch on your headlights 30 minutes before sunset in all states.
7 p.m.

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Question 9 - highway When can you cross a solid white line on the highway?
Any time
To make a U-turn
To overtake someone
If traffic conditions require
Normally you are never supposed to cross a solid white line on a highway. But, sometimes, traffic conditions may require you to cross a solid white line. For instance, if there was a collision in the lane ahead, you may need to cross the white line to keep traffic moving.

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Question 10 - yellow traffic light What does a flashing yellow traffic light mean?
Stop on the line.
Proceed with caution.
Unlike a solid yellow traffic light, which generally means slow down and stop, a flashing yellow light means to proceed with caution. The traffic facing the flashing yellow light has the right-of-way, whereas cross-traffic will have a flashing red light.
Pass through the junction quickly.
You will merge with traffic ahead.

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Question 11 - highway lines If there's a broken yellow line on your side of the road and a solid yellow line on the other side, when can you pass?
Whenever you want
In an emergency
When the vehicle you're passing is traveling less than 30 mph
If traffic is clear
A broken yellow line indicates that passing is allowed. However, you can't just pass whenever you want and must ensure that oncoming traffic is far enough away for you to complete the maneuver safely.

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Question 12 - breathalyzer One of these statements is true about BAC (blood alcohol content), but which one?
You need a chemical BAC test for an alcohol conviction.
A Breathalyzer doesn't test your BAC.
A Breathalyzer tests your BAC.
A Breathalyzer is a device used to test someone's blood alcohol level (BAC). If it shows that you're over the legal limit to drive, then you could be convicted.
If you're physically fit, you'll have reduced BAC.

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Question 13 - exit off the expressway You're approaching your exit off the expressway. When do you need to indicate?
The moment you get to the exit
100 feet before the exit ramp
You need to turn on your indicator and signal a turn at least 100 feet before the turn. This gives other drivers enough warning that you're about to initiate a maneuver.
200 feet before the exit ramp
35 feet before the exit

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Question 14 - V8 gasoline engine How many spark plugs in a V-8 gasoline engine?
Four
Eight
A V-8 gasoline engine has eight cylinders. Each cylinder on a gasoline engine has a spark plug, so a V-8 powerplant has eight spark plugs.
Six
None

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Question 15 - tire tread What is the main purpose for the treads on tires?
To provide grip when the road is very hot
To provide better grip on a cold day
To indicate when a tire has worn down too much
To provide better grip when it's raining
As you drive over a wet surface, the treads on your tires essentially kick the water out to the side. This means that the part of the road your tires are in contact with is slightly drier and therefore has more grip.

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Question 16 - ABS If your vehicle's ABS is broken, which of the following could happen?
The vehicle won't start.
Its wheels might lock up under heavy braking.
A car's ABS (anti-lock braking system) stops the wheels from skidding when they begin to lose grip. This maintains tractive contact with the road surface and ensures better braking performance.
Its acceleration will be worse than usual.
It will have a rough idle.

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Bently
Volkswagen Beetle
Mercedes-Benz
BMW
BMW has a cult-like following, so of course it has some nicknames. "Bimmer" is just one of the many nicknames for a BMW, another popular one is "Beamer".

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Question 18 - carbureted engine What should you do to help an old car with a carbureted engine start on a cold morning?
Pull the choke
When you pull the choke on a carbureted engine, it restricts the airflow to the air/fuel mixture. This enriches the mixture which will then combust more easily.
Keep the accelerator pedal down
Twist the key back and forth three times before trying to start it
Keep the hood up while trying to start it

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Question 19 - slow-moving vehicle If you're driving behind a slow-moving vehicle, what sign would you see?
A green square
An orange square
An orange triangle
Orange triangular signs are placed on slow-moving vehicles (or smv). SMVs are vehicles which are being towed, or which are unable to reach speeds over 25 mph.
A red circle

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Question 20 - odometer Do you know what an odometer shows?
How fast you're traveling
Your engine's RPM
The distance your vehicle has traveled
An odometer, also known as an odograph, measures the distance that a vehicle has traveled. This is something you'll always want to check on a second-hand car to see if it's had a long life on the road.
The temperature inside the car

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Question 21 - F150 Ford's F-150 is the second-best selling vehicle of all time, but do you know what it's classed as?
SUV
Pickup
To qualify as a pickup, the vehicle must have an enclosed cab and an open cargo area with a tailgate and low sides. In America, Ford's F-150 has been the best-selling pickup for more than 40 years and the best-selling vehicle for over 30 years.
MVP
Crossover

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Question 22 - car If you were driving a FWD car, what wheels would be propelling the car?
All of them
The rear
It depends on the model.
The front
FWD stands for "front-wheel drive." In FWD vehicles, all the engine's power is sent to the front two wheels.

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Question 23 - hydroplaning At what speed does your risk of hydroplaning become a lot more likely?
5 mph
15 mph
25 mph
35 mph
It's true that it's possible to hydroplane below 35 mph. However, it's not very likely. Your chances of hydroplaning go up considerably once you hit 35 mph, and continue to rise if your speed increases beyond that.

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Question 24 - brake pedal What's the first thing you should do if your brake pedal fails and drops to the floor while driving?
Turn off the engine
Keep pumping the brake pedal to increase pressure.
If your brake pedal drops to the floor, there's a chance that it's just lost pressure and you can build this pressure up by pumping the pedal repeatedly. If this works, it will hopefully provide enough stopping power to bring you to a complete stop, but you shouldn't drive again before fixing the problem.
Lift the brake pedal up with your foot.
Put the transmission into neutral

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Question 25 - black ice Which of the following should you not do when driving over black ice?
Hit the brakes.
Skids on black ice are the result of change. This could be a change in direction or speed, so the last thing you want to do is hit the brakes.
Slow down by easing your foot off the accelerator.
Try to drive in a straight line at a constant speed.
Drive in a lower gear.

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Question 26 - bump start Can you bump start an automatic car?
Yes
It depends on the engine temperature.
It depends on the model.
No
You need to quickly engage a car's clutch in order to bump start it. Automatic cars don't have a manual clutch, therefore you can't manually engage it.

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Rolling-wheel drive
Right-wheel drive
Rear-wheel drive
RWD stands for "rear-wheel drive." In RWD cars, all the power is sent to the rear wheels.
Rear-wing diffuser

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Question 28 - Corvette In the automotive world, what is a "Vette?"
A Corvette
The Corvette is possibly the most recognized American sports car ever made. And you don't get to be so popular without picking up some nicknames along the way. So this model is sometimes affectionately known as a "Vette."
A veterinarian's car
A veteran's car
A car with a V-12 engine

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Question 29 - lost traction If your car is oversteering, which wheels have lost traction?
The front
All of them
The rear
When a car oversteers, the rear wheels lose traction. This is more common on rear-wheel-drive cars, and generally happens when the driver applies more power than the tires can handle.
It depends on which direction you're turning.

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Question 30 - speeding In auto lingo, if your friend told you that they "did the ton," what are they talking about?
Driving a vehicle with 1,000 horsepower
Towing a ton worth of cargo
Going over 100 mph
Doing the "ton" means traveling 100 mph or above and originated from the British café racing culture of the '60s. Achieving the magical 100 mph mark was a dream for the "Ton-Up-Boys" who tuned their motorcycles to go as fast as possible and usually rode a Vincent twin, Norton or Triumph.
Driving a car that weighs less than a ton.

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Question 31 - four-wheel-drive What does a "4X" refer to?
A pickup truck
A four-wheel-drive vehicle
If a vehicle is "4X," it has a four-wheel-drive system. Not so long ago this would've been described as "4X4," but has lost the last "4" recently.
A vehicle with four flat tires
A vehicle with a four-cylinder engine

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Question 32 - drag racing Which of the following is the best-known drag racing distance?
A quarter-mile
A quarter-mile is the most common distance most people associate with drag racing. However, racing over an eighth-mile track is becoming more and more popular, and the premier drag racing classes run over 1,000 feet.
A half-mile
A mile
Two miles

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Question 33 - RPM What does "RPM" stand for?
Revolutions per meter
Rotations per meter
Rotations per minute
Revolutions per minute
In the automotive world, when we talk about RPM we're referring to revolutions per minute. Specifically, this measures the number of times your engine's crankshaft makes one full rotation per minute.

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Question 34 - Mustang Ford dominated the American muscle scene in the late '60s with which model?
Capri
Mustang
The Mustang was revealed to the public at the New York World's Fair in 1964 and proceeded to dominate the American muscle scene. The 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 deserves a special mention with its 7.0-liter V-8 engine which pumped out a whopping 355 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque.
Thunderbird
GT40

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Question 35 - Electronic fuel injection Do you know what system has replaced carburetors in modern engines?
Manual fuel injection
Electronic carburetors
Electronic fuel injection
Most modern engines have EFI (or electronic fuel injection). With this system, injectors directly deliver the fuel into the combustion chamber.
Rotational carburetors

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