Importing a continental motorhome

Some campers consider buying a motorhome from a dealer based in Europe, either for ease of obtaining a left-hand-drive motorhome or for potential cost savings. Savings are not always so evident when you factor in the lower specification of European motorhomes intended for their home market compared with those specified for the British market. Any savings made also have to be put against the cost and hassle of the import procedure. This procedure includes dealing with vehicle insurance in Europe and in the UK before being registered with the DVLA and appropriate notifications and documentation to HM Revenue and Customs and the DVLA.

Details of how to proceed with the personal importation of a motorhome are covered on the Government website.

It is important to ensure an imported vehicle complies with UK legislation. While all European vehicle design and manufacture is covered by EU directives and type approval, there are three elements where a motorhome built specifically for mainland Europe use may not be legal in the UK, namely incorrect headlamp alignment, speedometer dial showing only kilometres per hour and the incorrect location of a rear fog lamp. All three items need to be dealt with before the DVLA will register the vehicle for use in the UK.

Using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in a caravan or motorhome is a flexible and convenient way to provide heating, cooking and refrigeration facilities, while remaining independent of site supplies.

LPG is normally supplied in a pressurised cylinder, where the fuel inside is stored under pressure as a liquid and only becomes gaseous when released and fed to the appliance. This has to be done at a suitable pressure for the appliances to use and is normally achieved by the use of a pressure-reducing regulator that supplies gas at a standard pressure to the system. Two different gases are used, propane and butane. Both are LPG products but they have slightly different characteristics.

This guide will help you make the best of your LPG installation in a caravan or motorhome, but please remember that any work on LPG equipment needs to be done by suitably qualified personnel. In the Club’s opinion this means properly trained and experienced gas experts.