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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m driving to France soon and by law you need to carry a spare bulb kit. My ‘66 plate Passat GTE has the advanced LED pack, and the manual suggests I shouldn’t be changing LEDs myself.

I’ve emailed the dealer and they say there are no lights I can change myself.

So... what am I meant to tell the French police if they pull me over! What do other people do?
 

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I was wondering the exact same thing myself! As far as I know, there are no bulbs in a Passat GTE that should require a change. I just took my spare bulb kit from my old car and put it in the Passat anyway, so if any police on the continent stop me I can just show them the kit and it should save a conversation. I doubt they care whether the bulbs actually fit the car - if you can show you've got the stuff their laws require I think you'd be on your way. It would only be an issue if they stopped you because you had a bulb out and you were unable to change it. In theory that shouldn't happen with LED bulbs... at least not for about 10 years. The thing that might go in any car is a fuse... so I carry a a few of those in the bulb kit too.

Speaking of things required on the continent, in Germany you have to have hi-vis vests in the passenger compartment - having them in the boot isn't good enough. I was pleased to see that the Passat has a space especially for that in each front door pocket which is nice. But they didn't put any in the back and you have to have as many vests as passengers...
 

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If you're worried just buy the cheapest kit available. I've been travelling to and from France 4 times a year for more than 15 years and never been stopped to see if I've got a bulb kit. I was driving through the night once and a road in a town had been closed with gendarmes diverting traffic. I had a headlight bulb gone which I wasn't aware of and they just pointed to it and waved me on my way. I've also been stopped for a breathalyser but they didn't do an inspection to see if I had vests, bulbs etc. However, if they catch you speeding they take your licence away and won't let you drive.
I might add that the breath test was negative and I've never been caught speeding!
 

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Never carried a bulb kit in Europe, ever. As for the GTE, there are none you can replace as all LED.

I do carry vests and this year I did buy breathalysers, not that they are currently enforceable. Didn't bother to place a GB badge on the back. I did enjoy switching over the RHS/LHS beam pattern from the comfort of the driving seat on the ferry.
 

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I got pulled over in Austria once for not having a GB badge on the back. The car I had at the time didn't have EU-GB plates and I was hoping to avoid having to put a sticker on it but I did have one with me so when he pulled me over I had to slap it on. I'm hoping we don't have to go back to those white stickers after Brexit. If we do then I'll get a magnetic one and only put it on when I have to. I prefer to just have the blue EU-GB bits on the actual number plates because the car looks smarter and you blend in a bit better - it's not so obvious that the car is from outside the country.
 

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The only non-LED bulb I’ve found in my GTE estate is the boot light (must look for an LED equivalent!), and I’m sure the gendarmes aren’t going to check that. In 25 years I’ve never been asked if I’m carrying any of the mandatory items, but then I’ve always stayed out of trouble. Would be interested in any French locals’ feedback. Vests are a great idea and I would recommend them in any case; far quicker to spot at distance on the motorway hard shoulder than hazard lights, at least in daylight.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone, you’ve put my mind at rest! Hi-viz vests in the front, small GB stickers on the number plate, and the lights switched to driving on the other side.

First time driving abroad in about 10 years. All I need to do is not drive the wrong way round the roundabout...
 

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My continental-guy-going-to-Scotland experience was that I didn't drive the wrong way round, but I DID look to the wrong side (and only the wrong side) when checking if it's safe to enter the roundabout.
 

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We h
The only non-LED bulb I’ve found in my GTE estate is the boot light (must look for an LED equivalent!), and I’m sure the gendarmes aren’t going to check that. In 25 years I’ve never been asked if I’m carrying any of the mandatory items, but then I’ve always stayed out of trouble. Would be interested in any French locals’ feedback. Vests are a great idea and I would recommend them in any case; far quicker to spot at distance on the motorway hard shoulder than hazard lights, at least in daylight.
We had a house in France for 10 years and my post was about our experiences whilst there. Numerous people were done for speeding and had their licences taken away but never heard of anyone having their kit inspected. The french who were "de-licensed" used to drive around in little cars (can't remember the name) which they didn't need a license for. One was a well known (french) actress who lived in our village.
 

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I got pulled over in Austria once for not having a GB badge on the back. The car I had at the time didn't have EU-GB plates and I was hoping to avoid having to put a sticker on it but I did have one with me so when he pulled me over I had to slap it on. I'm hoping we don't have to go back to those white stickers after Brexit. If we do then I'll get a magnetic one and only put it on when I have to. I prefer to just have the blue EU-GB bits on the actual number plates because the car looks smarter and you blend in a bit better - it's not so obvious that the car is from outside the country.
I bought magnetic GB sticker this Summer. Didn't use it but was armed just in case

The GB/EU reg plates must be outlawed if we do Brexit surely????!!!! Brexit means Brexit I keep hearing from the Brexiteers ...... so why would we be driving around with Euro plates???? I didn't request them on the current car.
 

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I don't think anybody will be forced to remove the the EU-GB things, but I expect they will lose their validity. I think we'll lose the intra-EU exception and have to fall back on the standard international rule of the white stickers. I've noticed Swiss people who live near the borders usually have the white stickers on their cars - I assume they're not entitled to use the intra-EU exception.

Norway, Turkey and I think some other countries put a blue stripe on the number plate with their country code - it looks like the EU things just without the actual EU stars. I don't know if it is actually a valid alternative to a white sticker though... I suspect not. It would be nicer than having to put a white sticker on the car.

Of course at this rate, we'll be lucky if our driving licences are even valid...
 

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Looking forward to applying for an 'international' or EU driving licence. Oh the fun of applying for Visa's to travel again ........ Let alone travelling with a Carne to prove all possessions are not required to import duty and taxes going in and out of EU!!
 
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