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Getting away this summer?
What are the rules for driving in Europe post Brexit
With the prospect of European travel now a possibility, you may be planning to get away at last this summer. Whether you plan to take your own car or hire one when you get to your destination, you’ll need to remember that as well as following the relevant Covid regulations, the UK is no longer part of the EU so the rules for driving in Europe have changed.
Here’s our summary of what you need to know when driving in Europe post Brexit. For more detail, please check the government website for the latest information:
Do I need an International Driving Permit (IDP)? For the most part, no, your British driving licence is accepted in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein as long as it is a photocard driving licence. If you have a paper licence or your licence was issued in Gibraltar, Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man, you may need an IDP. If in doubt, please check the government’s list of countries and their licence requirements.
What insurance do I need? If you are hiring a car, the insurance will be offered through your rental car provider. However, if you plan to drive your own car you will need to obtain a motor insurance green card from your existing insurance provider to prove you have adequate cover driving abroad.
Do I need my registration documents? Yes. This rule was already in place before Brexit and hasn’t changed. You should have your vehicle logbook (VC5) in your car at all times when driving abroad, and if you are taking a UK-registered hire car you will need a VE103 certificate to prove you have the authority to drive it overseas.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE AN ACCIDENT ABROAD? If you are involved in an accident and need to make a claim against another motorist, you will need to make that claim in the country where the accident happened. Therefore, we recommend that, before you travel, you check with your insurer that they will contact the motorist’s insurer and deal with the claim on your behalf. Otherwise, you could find yourself needing to deal with a foreign insurance company in a foreign language.
WHAT IF I BREAKDOWN? Make sure you have European breakdown cover before you go away. There are many types available including single trip cover or annual cover. You should also have with you a warning triangle and high visibility jackets for anyone who gets out of the car on to a main road.
DO I NEED TO DO ANYTHING TO MY CAR? Yes. If your car is right hand drive you will need to have headlamp beam deflectors. You will also need to display a GB sticker unless your car is fitted with a licence plate that features the GB logo separately or the Union Flag. (As opposed to the pre-Brexit plates with the GB / EU combined logo). These are very straight forward to organise, so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8977 5865 if you would like us to order and fit one to your vehicle.
Finally, before you travel, we’d always advise you check the local driving rules, including speed limits, and the latest covid guidance.
It’s also a good idea to check your car before travelling. Please get in touch on 020 8977 5865 if you’d like us to arrange a pre-road trip check.
Did you know that changes are afoot to the petrol we purchase?
This summer the standard E5 petrol grade (known as 95 Octane or “unleaded”) that we are used to seeing, will become E10. It is being introduced to help reduce CO2 emissions associated with petrol vehicles and is already widely used around the world including across Europe, Australia and the US.
Make sure you are aware of this change and how it could affect you as a small number of vehicles are not compatible with E10. An awareness campaign has been launched by the government this month, but here is a quick overview:
What is E10 Petrol?
E10 petrol contains up to 10% renewable ethanol, a low carbon fuel that can be blended to reduce the amount of fossil fuel in petrol. The current standard unleaded petrol E5 only contains up to 5% ethanol.
How do I know if my vehicle is compatible with E10?
Most vehicles will be compatible with this new grade of petrol, including all cars built since 2011. You can use this online E10 vehicle compatibility checker, which has been issued by The Department for Transport, to find out if your car, motorcycle or moped can use E10 fuel. If you have a diesel vehicle, these changes will not affect you.
What if I can’t use E10?
The Department of Transport estimates around 5% of vehicles will not be able use the E10 fuel. For petrol vehicles not compatible with E10, they will need to keep using E5 petrol, which will remain available in the ‘super’ grade of petrol (97+ octane).
Incorrectly fuelling a vehicle with E10 petrol will not cause immediate harm, but if it is used regularly it could damage engine parts over time.
Therefore, if you find yourself in a position where you urgently need to refuel and E5 is not available, then it is recommended to refuel with the minimum amount of E10 and then fill up with E5 as soon as you are able to get to a forecourt that sells it. Unlike putting petrol into a diesel engine, you shouldn’t need to drain the tank.
If you’d like to know more, please check out the government link E10 fuel explained, and if you have any concerns or questions, please do not hesitate to call us on 020 8977 5865
Did you realise that poor wheel alignment can be the cause of many driving issues, cost you money and affect safe driving?
It only takes a small misalignment to cause problems, but ensuring your wheels are accurately aligned according to your manufacturer’s recommendations will help to:
At H&L Motors we have invested in world-leading wheel alignment technology with the Pro-Align Hunter model to provide Four Wheel Alignment for the most accurate results. Find out more
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:
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:
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:
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.
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)
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
We are pleased to introduce you to Matthew Wren, your new Service Manager.
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.
Contact us now to find out how you could protect your vehicle from Covid-19
on 020 8977 5865 – or get in touch here
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
70 – 72 Wellington Road