July 4, 2023

Taking Your Classic Car to Europe This Summer? Here’s Our Checklist

Since the UK bid farewell to the EU, British drivers now have some new requirements when it comes to entering and driving in European countries. 

Don't worry though; we've got you covered. The team at White’s Bodyworks has put together a handy checklist to help you prepare your classic car for a road trip across Europe.

Essential Documents and Items You Need to Take With You

Before you set off on your European adventure, make sure you have the following items with you:

  • Passport: An absolute must-have for any international travel.
  • Valid UK driving licence: Ensure your driving licence is up to date.
  • National Insurance Number: Keep this important number handy.
  • Copy of your DVLA driver record: While not completely necessary, it's always good to have a copy, just in case.
  • Copy of your vehicle's insurance.
  • Your vehicle's logbook.
  • European Breakdown Cover papers.
  • International driving permit: You will need to check if the country you're visiting requires this permit, there are variations. You might also need one if you still have a paper driving licence. Find out more here. 
  • Reflective jacket for each passenger: This is a safety requirement in many European countries. Some also require you to carry a self-breathalyser kit. Again, it’s worth checking. 
  • Warning triangle: An important item to have in case of emergencies.
  • First aid kit: This is not mandatory yet in EU countries but is recommended.

Some additional items can come in handy during your European road trip but aren’t legal necessities. These include:

  • Replacement headlamp bulbs.
  • Torch.
  • Fuel can.
  • Extra engine oil, coolant, and screen wash.
  • Paper road map and GPS.
  • Tyre repair kit.

Schedule a Car Checkup

Before setting off, it's always a good idea to take your car to a local auto shop for a thorough checkup. Ask for a basic inspection and fluid replacement. A simple tune-up can work wonders and give you peace of mind.

Check for Worn Seals and Gaskets

Inspect the gaskets, seals, and belts in your car. If you notice any signs of wear or cracking, something that’s common in older vehicles, it's crucial to replace them before your trip. Finding repairs and replacements when you’re in a foreign country can be challenging.

Inspect Your Tyres

You should do this regularly anyway. If you’re going on a long trip and your tyres are just on the edge of respectable, then it’s worth changing. Again, with classic cars, finding replacements when you’re somewhere new can be difficult. 

Brakes

Give your brakes a good test to make sure they are operating properly. If you have any concerns, then have them checked out by a garage to make sure they will last the journey. 

Bodywork

Just like a sturdy home needs a strong foundation, your car's chassis and frame are vital for its stability. Ensure that your vehicle sits level and doesn't lean to one side. Leaning can indicate problems with the chassis, shocks, springs, struts, or suspension. Check for any rusty, damaged, bent, or broken components that may compromise the car's overall stability and need attention before you start your journey.

Cooling

If you're expecting hot weather during your summer road trip, it's important to keep your car cool, especially if it’s a classic. Flush the cooling system and replace the coolant with fresh fluid to prevent overheating if possible. Additionally, inspect the radiator fins for any debris that may impede proper airflow. Finally, ensure the radiator cap fits snugly to maintain optimal cooling performance.

Test Performance

After examining your car and completing all the necessary preparations, it's also a good idea to have a fairly arduous test run to check everything is okay. 

Take your classic car for a drive for a minimum of 100 miles, hopefully, where you can maintain a speed of at least 55 mph for approximately 30 per cent of the time. This distance and speed should help identify any potential issues that may arise when the engine is hot and under greater stress. 

If the test drive goes smoothly without any problems, you can feel confident that your car is ready for the road. However, if you encounter any issues, it's crucial to address and resolve them before embarking on your trip.

Check-in With White’s Bodyworks

At White’s Bodyworks, we don’t just help repair and restore old cars but we can also provide a good service and check everything is working properly before you begin your European trip. Our fully equipped garage has all the tools and skills you need to be confident that you can head out into the French countryside or tackle those hills in Italy without any problem. 

If you do have a problem that needs to be solved before your journey, we can make sure repairs are carried out quickly so that you’re ready to go with the minimum of fuss.

If you’re planning a trip abroad in your classic car this summer, contact the team at White’s Bodyworks to see how we can help. 

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