It is strongly recommended that your car is fully serviced ten days before departure so that any problems can be identified and rectified before you leave.
You should also let your insurance company know you are planning to take your car abroad to ensure you are covered. Some insurance companies may make an additional charge for this.
Before you set off, check the tread and pressure of all tyres including the spare. As your car is likely to be fully loaded, ensure that the tyres are inflated to the pressures recommended in your car handbook.
You will need to buy a headlight beam adaptor kit from a car accessory shop. You stick the adaptors over part of the headlights which prevents your beam from dazzling other drivers when you drive on the right. These are compulsory in France, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Remember to only attach these once you are on the continent if part of your journey is overnight in the UK!
Dipped headlights must be used all day in Switzerland. In Italy, dipped headlights must be used when driving on motorways or dual carriageways.
If you are driving in Spain, it is compulsory to carry a spare set of front, rear and indicator bulbs for your car.
It is compulsory to carry a warning triangle if you are driving in Europe in case of a breakdown or accident. It should be placed 30 metres from the car to warn oncoming traffic. In Spain, you also need to put a warning triangle in front of the car.
It is also compulsory to carry high visibility jackets in France (one per passenger), Germany, Spain, Austria, Belgium, Italy and Croatia. These should be accessible in your car at all times and must be worn if leaving the vehicle on the carriageway of a motorway or non-urban highway at anytime, day or night.
It is compulsory to carry a breathalyzer kit if you are driving in France. The single use kits are available in the UK (they must meet the French certified standards) or at Channel ports.
If you are stopped and breathalysed by the police, they won’t ask you to use your own kit, but you can be fined if you don’t have one. The kits are intended to prevent people who may be over the limit from driving.
As in the UK, it is against the law to use hand held mobile phones whilst driving across Europe. If you are caught you are liable to a heavy on-the-spot fine.
From the 1st April 2017 a windscreen sticker is required to drive in Paris, Grenoble and Lyon to reduce levels of pollution. There are six stickers of different colours that identify the levels of emissions produced by your car. You can be refused entry depending on the certification of your car on days where the cities are reaching high levels of emissions. The sticker costs €4.80 for vehicles registered outside of France, but within the EU. The clean air certificates apply to all cars, motorbikes and lorries. You can be fined upwards of £60 for not complying. Get your certificate here.