Taking the car abroad? Call AYCEN for a pre-holiday once over
If you’re planning a family holiday or business trip to the Continent and thinking of taking the car, it’s worth popping in to your local AYCEN garage for a pre-holiday once over. We can check out your air conditioning system and pollen filter, clean out the fuel system or carry out our 15 point safety check – giving your motoring holiday the best possible start.
Of course, we would also advise you take out adequate breakdown cover. Both the AA and the RAC provide 24 hour English speaking assistance across Europe, emergency roadside assistance, vehicle recovery to the UK, and emergency car hire and accommodation. Green Flag also provide a European breakdown service. Check out their respective websites for further information.
What to take with you…
Regulations vary from country to country but the GB sticker is a legal requirement across Europe, along with your original registration documents and vehicle insurance certificate. The warning triangle and headlamp adjusters are compulsory or recommended in the majority of countries. Fire extinguisher and first aid kit are only compulsory in Austria – but, for peace of mind, we’d advise you carry these, even within the UK.
An international driving permit (IDP) is not strictly required by UK licence holders. However, you should be able to produce photographic proof of identity, such as a passport and, in Spain, Portugal and Italy, where the older green style UK licence is not guaranteed to be accepted, you might want to take along an IDP for good measure.
If you have a UK passport which was not issued in the UK, or a foreign passport issued outside Europe, you may also need a visa for certain countries.
Headlamp adjustment kits, comprising a set of adhesive masks are available through the main motoring organisations, and even as a last minute purchase at the ferry terminals. But vehicles with Zenon, halogen or high intensity discharge headlamps may require adjustment by a qualified technician. We recommend you check this out well before your departure – with our pre-holiday once over – as requirements vary from vehicle to vehicle. Without adjustment, the dipped beam will dazzle oncoming drivers which could result in a fine. In some countries it is also compulsory to use dipped headlights throughout the day.
And, just to confuse matters – and given that some lamps may require that qualified technician to change them – if you’re travelling to Spain, you are still required to carry spare bulbs and the tools to change them.
…and careful what you bring back
With luck your European motoring experience will be trouble free – door to door and back again. But it’s often the final few miles when the problems start.
Picture the scene. You’ve stocked up with local wine, beer, cheese and cigarettes, there’s a long and tedious drive ahead of you – well, you just want to get home now, don’t you? – tempers are beginning to fray and the car splutters to a halt. Now, you’re marooned in a lay-by, awaiting the rescue services.
The AA report regular calls to overloaded cars, fresh off the return ferry from the Continent, breaking down on this, the last leg of the journey. ‘Remember, five cases of wine is equivalent to another passenger in the car,’ they warn. And, much as we’d love to see you, overloading may cost you dearly in repairs with the potential for damaged suspension, burnt out clutch and punctures.
You have been warned! Have a good trip and drive safely!