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29 April 2021

Here are our tips for keeping your car roadworthy and passing its MOT first time

Did you know that according to government figures, the overall failure rate is almost a third! In the year to Jan 2020, 31.7% of class 3 & 4 (which covers the majority of private passenger vehicles) failed their initial MOT test.

Not only does MOT failure cause motorists inconvenience, but it suggests they could be unknowingly driving vehicles that are not roadworthy before their MOT test is due. This is an offence that can result in hefty fines and, more importantly, is unsafe and could endanger lives. However, with the right regular care and maintenance, there is no reason why your vehicle shouldn’t stay in good roadworthy condition and sale through its MOT each time.

Based on the government data, we have identified the 5 top categories for MOT failure and provided our tips for keeping your vehicle in good condition to help pass its MOT:

1.Lamps, reflectors and electrical equipment – 27% of failures 

Over a quarter of MOT failures come under this category, which could easily be avoided with a few checks at home. We recommend you regularly:

  • Switch on your lights and walk round your vehicle to check the front and back lamps are working (not forgetting the license plate light). If not, they may have blown a bulb
  • When you use your indicators, do they flash as they should?
  • Ask someone to check your brake lights work when you press the brake pedal
  • Check whether any of your lamps have become misty or cracked


2. Suspension – 18% of failures

Almost 1 in 5 failures are caused by problems with suspension. These can be highly dangerous but are often well hidden. However, there are still things you can do to identify a potential issue:

  • When you park your vehicle, does it look level?
  • When you push on each corner, does it return to its normal level without bouncing up and down?
  • Listen to any unusual noises (clunks) especially on uneven road surfaces or going round corners

If you experience any suspension issues, please ask us to take a look ASAP


3. Brakes – 16.8% of failures

It’s staggering to think that something so obviously dangerous causes 1 in 6 failures. Look out for the following:

  • Funny noises from your brakes. This could be a sign that your brake pads are low
  • Your vehicle pulling to one side when you stop
  • Handbrake is unable to hold your vehicle when you are on a hill

If you experience any of the above, please get your brakes looked at ASAP


4. Tyres – 11.6% of failures

Keeping tyres in good condition is an important safety measure. With the wrong pressure or low tread, your stopping distance will be severely impaired and you could potentially experience a blow-out.

Ask us to show you how to check your tread – it should be a minimum 1.6mm across all three quarters.

Proper wheel alignment will also reduce tyre wear and extend the life of your tyres – find out more


5. Visibility – 8% of failures It’s no surprise that a driver must be able to see clearly to drive safely.

Check your windscreen regularly for cracks and chips in the driver’s eyeline and ensure your windscreen wipers are working properly, the rubber is undamaged and your windscreen wash is regularly topped up. Your mirrors should also be in good working order.

Don’t’ forget these other common failures:

Vehicle Identification: Your registration plate must be fully visible to other drivers. A broke light or a crack can make the plate illegible and cause failure

Noise, emissions and leaks: Regularly check your vehicle for any rust, corrosion or any missing parts that could cause any leaks or issues with your exhaust.

Seatbelts and restraints: Seatbelts should be in good working order with no knots and tangles preventing them from functioning correctly.

Steering: Check your power steering fluid has not reached its minimum level.

If you have any concerns about your vehicle’s condition or safety, please call 020 8977 5865 as we can advise on all of the above. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and never hurts to talk.

03 February 2021

News is just in that we have been ranked in January as the No.2 Volkswagen Group Approved Bodyshop, moving up from No.13
H&L Motors has been Manufacturer Approved for VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda from the VW Group for many years, following their stringent guidelines to pass their annual audits as a guarantee that we will always deliver the highest of standards for your vehicle. 
Customer satisfaction drives everything we do and this ranking, based on VW Group customer reviews, demonstrates how we have continued to strive for improvement even during these difficult times. With over 150 VWG Approved Bodyshops in the UK, we are extremely proud of this achievement, which is testament to our amazing team of vehicle technicians who have continually pulled out all the stops to deliver the best customer service they can. 
We would like to take this opportunity to personally thank our team for their dedication and to our customers for their business and loyalty. 

20 August 2020

We were very excited to learn that in spite of the COVID lockdown, Park Lane Stables RDA group has been shortlisted, once again, for the Carriage Driving Awards 2020.   They have been nominated under the category ‘Driving for the Disabled Group of the Year’ and an award ceremony will be held on 24 November at the Steam Museum in Swindon. We have long been a supported of Park Lane Stables and are delighted to see them to continue their incredible work.

Like everyone else, they had to close the stables when the lockdown began in March. They are gradually starting to open once again to experienced riders, but since their RDA participants are in the high risk category and need lots of support, they cannot offer any riding or carriage driving at present due to the strict social distancing regulations.

Whizz pays a visit to a RDA birthday girl

Horses are expensive to feed and care for, and with no income coming in from participants, this period has been difficult for the stable. Resourceful as ever, they nonetheless managed to secure a few government COVID grants and have done lots of fundraising activities to keep going, such as their popular ‘Sponsor a Pony’ campaign.

They have been coming up with all sorts of innovative ways to bring joy to the community, including their famous Pony Visits, which you may have seen on the BBC and ITV news. This involves taking a pony to visit the streets and houses of children (and some adults) who have been in isolation due to COVID, particularly those with disabilities and mental health issues and giving light relief to their parents and carers too. Sometimes it’s for a child’s birthday surprise and often the bunting comes out and the whole street gets involved. They have also visited care homes and keyworker children at school. They have been doing at least one visit per day, covering the Teddington, Hampton, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston areas and beyond – the record was 26 visits in one day!

Sam who usually pulls the H&L carriage is put to good use working in the field

With proven wellbeing benefits of being near horses and ponies, Park Lane Stables have also recently started a new Wellbeing in Wellies session – no riding involved, just giving children and young adults, particularly those with mental health issues (which have been exacerbated during lockdown) the opportunity to spend some time with a pony for serious cuddles.

Hopefully we will see the stables continue to thrive and will once again see the carriage on our streets, but in the meantime we wish them all the best. If you are able to help or want to participate in any of their activities, please see their website for more details.

With best wishes from the H&L team

(main picture – Pony club member Claudia celebrates her 12th birthday with a socially distanced ride)

02 July 2020

With the further easing of lockdown restrictions, the Department for Transport announced on Monday 29th June, that the 6-month MOT extension (introduced during the COVID-19 crisis) will end earlier than planned, on the 1st August 2020.

The extension will now apply to vehicles originally due to be tested before 1st August, after which normal testing rules will return due to fears that lockdown easing could lead to more than a million unsafe cars on our UK roads.


With increased vehicle numbers back on the road due to staycation travel and more non-essential services re-opening from the 4th July, having an up-to-date MOT will help keep vehicles safe to drive. For the latest Government advice please CLICK HERE


As we have always stressed, it has remained an offence to drive any vehicle that is not roadworthy regardless of its MOT status. So, if you have your MOT due soon, or have any other vehicle safety concerns, why not beat the rush and contact us now to book in your MOT. 020 8977 5865 – or get in touch here


17 June 2020

We are pleased to introduce you to Matthew Wren, your new Service Manager.

Matthew first joined us in 2010 and remained with us until 2016.
After working with H&L,  he spent 2 years in Australia gaining further valuable experience working at Australia’s largest BMW dealer before returning to the UK and rejoining the H&L team this May.

We are delighted to have him back on the team. We know that he is looking forward to meeting you in person when he can, but if you have any service queries please call reception or contact

12 May 2020

Look what arrived this morning! This Power-Clean AC has been tested and proven to eliminate 99.99% of viruses, including Covid-19!

It’s no news that clean engines improve a vehicle’s performance. But did you realise your vehicle’s heating system should be cleaned regularly?   Whether you are using your heater or air conditioning, condensation builds up in the system and becomes a breeding ground for all sorts of nasties, including bacteria, mould and fungi, which can be spread through the vehicle’s air vents to cause infections as well as unpleasant odours, eye irritation, sore throats and allergic reactions.

The Power-Clean AC has been fully tested and proven to eliminate 99.99% of bacteria and viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) (EN14476+A@:2019 Test results). It not only cleans your system, but a fine mist also sanitises your vehicle’s internal surfaces.

To give you peace of mind that you are breathing cleaner and healthier air, each time you step in your car.

COVID-19 test results Forte[2206]

Contact us now to find out how you could protect your vehicle from Covid-19
on 020 8977 5865 – or get in touch here

26 March 2020

On the 25th March 2020, in response to the Covid-19 crisis, Government extended MOTs by 6 months for any cars, vans and motorcycles due their MOT from 30th March 2020. This new flexibility will remain in place until confirmed otherwise and allows vehicle owners to continue to be able to get to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home or to do essential shopping.

Motorists should be aware, however, that it remains an offence to drive any vehicle that is not in a roadworthy condition and they can still face prosecution if they drive an unsafe vehicle during the Covid-19 crisis, regardless of their MOT status.

For example, this Mercedes came in for its MOT recently. Its lower arm subframe mounting point was corroded and snapped, which would have made it unbelievably dangerous to drive.

We remain open and are committed to providing the best quality service to our customers, so if you have any doubt about your vehicle’s condition, £40 is a small price to pay for peace of mind that it is safe to rely on. And whilst performing any MOT during Covid-19, we will also check your vehicle’s tyre pressure and levels free of charge.

Please rest assured that our number one priority is the wellbeing and safety of our customers and colleagues, so we are continually following Government advice. All the team is adhering to stringent daily actions including frequent hand washing, careful vehicle preparation, wearing gloves and vastly increased cleaning of our offices and workshops.

Since the Government announced the MOT extensions, the Independent Garage Association (IGA) has confirmed with the DVSA that extensions will be applied approximately 7 days before the MOT expiry date. These extensions will be stopped once it is judged safe to do so, at which point arrangements will be put in place for a smooth return to normal MOT testing. For the latest Government advice please CLICK HERE

04 March 2020

In May 2018, new MOT rules were introduced, which categorised any fail as being due to dangerous faults or major faults (instead of a simple pass or fail as for previous MOTs). If you took your test before your MOT expired and it failed due to a major fault, you would be able to drive it away. If it failed due to a dangerous fault you would be prevented from driving it, regardless of the MOT expiry date, until that fault was fixed.

Now these rules have been changed again. As long as your existing MOT has not expired, you are able to drive any failed vehicle home, even if it has a dangerous fault. Although this simplifies things, we would obviously not recommend driving a failed vehicle as it could have a serious impact on road safety.   The public should also be aware that anyone driving with a dangerous or major fault that makes their vehicle unroadworthy (no matter what their MOT status) will be driving illegally and therefore be liable to prosecution and a hefty fine.

For further details regarding MOT testing in general, please click here, and if you should have any concerns regarding the safety of your vehicle, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.


16 December 2019

We know that if your vehicle needs a repair at this time of year, it can be challenging on the bank account. Everyone has so many outgoings in the festive season, so it can easily be tempting to turn to online deals to reduce your bill.

At H&L Motors, whatever the time of year, we always use original manufacturer approved parts. This is the only way to guarantee they are reputable, of high quality and not faulty and to ensure you have a warranty if anything should go wrong. You may be able to make a small saving online, but the evidence is there to show that it could cause you more problems and cost in the long run, and it may be more than your wallet that is at stake.

According to a recent government survey (see P35), there is a huge and rising problem of counterfeit vehicle parts online and vehicle owners are therefore being warned of the dangers of buying parts online. The worldwide counterfeit market is thought to run into billions of pounds and filters, brake pads, lights, wheel rims and airbags have been found to be among the most-common counterfeited car part.

Officials say such parts put road users at risk from a catastrophic failure of vital car components which may not adhere to safety standards. Essentially you could be putting yourself and passengers at risk.

Buying parts online has become hugely popular, but The Independent Garage Association (IGA) and The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) are among the trade bodies that have voiced support to raise awareness about the risks posed by counterfeit car parts. Trying to identify these counterfeit, poor quality and potentially unsafe parts is hugely challenging as the seller websites are becoming very sophisticated and often appear legitimate. Sometimes there may be some clues such as very cheap prices or a typo in the part description. If you are purchasing online, you should watch out for these clues, however at H&L Motors we never recommend buying new or second hand parts online because the only sure way to remain safe from fraudster and poor quality suppliers is to purchase manufacture approved parts from your garage.

03 December 2019

We’re delighted to announce the arrival of the next and 4th generation Laney.
Henry William Peter Laney was born to Jonathon and Sarah on the 25th November 2019 at 11.27pm, weighing a healthy 7lb 6

He has been named after his grandfather Henry Laney, who founded our family business, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to the family.