Saturday 25th September 2021

Why do import vehicles often have to be converted?

Reading time approx. 7 Minutes

Restomod 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle with LS3 V8 2 Why do import vehicles often have to be converted?

The registration regulations in Germany provide strict regulations for the registration of a vehicle. For import vehicles, a so-called Full report be created by an expert. The vehicle is checked for technical defects. At the same time, it is checked whether the vehicle also complies with the German registration regulations. These can be little things that cause problems. However, essential vehicle parts can also not comply with the German rules, so that a larger and more expensive retrofit is required. Without the conversion, the vehicle cannot be registered in Germany. However, exceptions to the regulations are possible within a very limited and narrow framework.

Conversion measures on the import vehicle

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat V8 compressor 16 Why do import vehicles often have to be converted?

There is a special import vehicle guideline for the necessary conversion measures, which provides precise information for important areas. The vehicles are checked by the expert according to certain specifications. If all features within the meaning of the directive are met, no further measures are required. Example: The windows of the vehicle need at least a DOT marking. Or does the car have one Trailer coupling, then this must have the ball diameter prescribed in Germany. Versions from the USA are not permitted for the towbars.

Towbar cover Ball head Ball protection cap2 Why do import vehicles often have to be converted?

And the headlights of the vehicle must also have a European test mark. If this is not available, the headlights must be converted. The headlight color must always be white. Furthermore, vehicles registered in Germany require a reversing light if the first registration was made after January 1, 1987. No exception is made, so retrofitting may be required. This is then somewhat more complex. After all, the reversing light must be connected to the circuit of the vehicle. In addition, the rear lights must always be secured separately. This is to ensure that at least one lamp is always on. Reflectors are only possible in the color red.

Which areas need to be upgraded?

If the vehicle was registered for the first time after January 1, 1991, a in Nebelschlussleuch to be available. Turn signals must also be yellow. There are exceptions to the blinker rule for vehicles that had their first registration between January 1, 1970 and December 31.12.1989, XNUMX. These are historical vehicles, for one Exemption can be granted. If the vehicle was first registered before 1970, the vehicles may also have red indicators at the rear, which should, however, be in their original condition. If the vehicle has a spare wheel on the outside of the car, then double protection must be in place. With regard to the brake system, an additional brake test is carried out by the expert on cars that were first registered from January 1, 1991.

Furthermore, the import vehicle must have one in the front area tow hooks have to be admitted. In addition, the vehicle must have a hazard warning system. In addition to a possible mileage display, the speedometer must also have a km / h scale. Retrofitting or permanent marking is required here so that the import vehicle can be approved. In addition, the car must have a rating plate on the front right of the frame.

on the vehicle
Retrofitting /
Approximate effect /
Vehicle windowsApproximate effect
"DOT" marking
Trailer couplingUS version
Ball diameter
(High / low beam)
Fog Lights
with european
Lighting technology Assessment
for individuals
Headlights possible
to shine
Approximate effect
Colour: white
Approximate effect
from EZ 01.01.1987
rear lightsApproximate effect
brake-lightsApproximate effect
vehicles with
EZ before 01.01.1970/XNUMX/XNUMX
to shine
with triple
use in red
Priority circuit)
reflectorconvert / or
Spotlight with
E sign
only color red
Rear fog
Approximate effect
conceivable or
from EZ 01.01.1991
BlinkerApproximate effect
Color yellow!
Motor vehicle acc. §23StVZO
with EZ 01.01.1970
until December 31.12.1989, XNUMX via
also in red
EZ before 1970/XNUMX/XNUMX
red indicators too
possible in the back
(if original)
lightbulbsApproximate effect
conceivable at
US certification mark
Replacement lamps
Take along x 2
Approximate effect
seat beltsApproximate effect
US standard
Bremsanlagefrom single room
01.01.1991 with
from EZ 01.01.1991
Brake test after
VdTÜV bulletin
tow hooksblock in front,
if trailer load
from EZ 01.01.1974
exhaust emissions
set a link from your homepage to
for moving goods
Light range
from single room
not necessary
Hazard warning
set a link from your homepage to
TachometerScale in
km / h to
convert or
permanent bases
e.g. 20/50/90 ...
necessary if
in miles
Not retrofitting
Name plate or
necessaryon the frame of re.
on the frame
vo. re.
consultation with
for vehicles
with EZ
from 1.10.2002
the befrag

Certificate of Origin, Certificate of Title, Certificate of Destruction

The "Certificate of Origin“Is only for New vehicles available. A vehicle that is sold used in the USA must have a "Certificate of Title“Own. If you want to register such a vehicle in this country, one of these certificates is absolutely necessary. Is there a Change of owner one used Vehicle will a new "Certificate of Title" created. The date of the first registration is then at the latest from the second change of owner no longer comprehensible. Just that model year (Model Year) is indicated. In case of doubt, a registration office in Germany will be called upon to indicate "day of first registration“In the registration certificate Part II 1. July of the respective Year of construction enter. The assessment in a test center loudly Section 21 StVZO is carried out according to the applicable technical and licensing regulations from this date.

Certificate of Destruction Why do imported vehicles often have to be converted?

You should be careful if a vehicle with the so-called "Salvage Certificate"Or with a"Certificate of Destruction“Is offered. Such a vehicle had one considerable damage, and the American authorities or insurance companies have caused the vehicle to be classified as economic total loss (approx. 75% of the initial value) is to be classified. For example, the cause can be a Accident damage, water damage or even one Fire damage be. If such a vehicle is to be imported, the exact extent of the damage should be known. Attention:  in some states a "Salvage Title“Also for one stolen vehicle stand. This is for example in Oregon, Oklahoma, New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, Minnesota, Maryland, Illinois, Georgia, Florida or in Arizona so.

Title Washing = superficial repair

One should be careful before the purchase and before import in front of a vehicle with a so-called "Title Washing". Here was only one damage superficial repaired and the car afterwards from one state to another brought. There was then a new registration without "Salvage Title". Owns such a vehicle new documents without notice of an accident and will then go to Europe exported.

"Auto clipping“Is a pretty bad variant. Heavy equipment is used to create several Junk vehicles connected to a roadworthy vehicle. Such a vehicle then has flawless papers and is often called rolling Junk pile bought blind. If, on the other hand, a vehicle has a so-called "Rebuilt salvage title“And was made by a Specialist workshop repaired and delivered with appropriate receipts, then it can be a first class vehicle be. If you plan to import a vehicle, then there is, among other things, the consumer protection database CARFAX ( where to go for a fee the Vehicle history can be sent. Tip: do not buy a vehicle without a "title".

Conclusion on the conversion of the import vehicle

On the basis of EU approval regulations, the retrofitting ensures that the performance characteristics of a motor vehicle are suitable for being approved in Europe. Unfortunately, new and used vehicles (especially overseas classic cars) mostly not the technical requirements for Europe or especially Germany. Homologation and approval is therefore excluded. Means conversion or Exemption a later homologation including approval can be made possible. However, a technically perfect condition is the prerequisite for a successful changeover. After the conversion of the US car, full acceptance is inevitable. Once you have received the required full report, there is nothing standing in the way of approval of the US car.

Restomod 1957 Chevrolet 3100 Pickup with Airride V8 9 Why do import vehicles often have to be converted?

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Restomod 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle with LS3 V8 4 Why do import vehicles often have to be converted?

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Test report - no longer valid
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