FAQ - Frequently asked questions
You can find the answers to the most frequently asked questions by clicking on the individual questions here.
However, we would also be happy to assist you personally on +49-6471-50888-4130.
Why Airstream Germany?
We are the official AIRSTREAM importer for Europe.
Our products have a factory warranty of 2 years and only with us you get the official Airstream European models. These have been specially developed and optimised for the European market and have all the necessary approval documents.
We will be happy to advise you!
As enthusiastic AIRSTREAM owners, we know our products very well. We offer you comprehensive advice on the purchase of your AIRSTREAM. All accessory options offered by us are tested by us in advance. No matter whether multimedia, combustion toilet, solar panel or other unusual accessories - just ask us. We will be happy to advise you!
We offer service
Even after the purchase, we are there for you and offer you a extensive service including the procurement of original spare parts from the USA. In the event of a repair, our manufacturer-trained technicians will ensure that your vehicle is soon available again without any noticeable damage. We have almost all spare parts in stock for our customers and are also available for you outside business hours or in case of emergencies.
No financial risk
We do not demand excessive deposits or advance payments when you order an Airstream from us. If we agree larger down payments with you due to long delivery dates or special projects, you can of course obtain a bank guarantee for this.
Tradition and reliability for over 50 years
For over 50 years, we have been known by our customers as a vehicle manufacturer and metalworking company, supplying premium products of the highest quality craftsmanship. With our approx. 100 employees, we have almost every necessary qualification in-house and deliver approx. 150 sales, promotion and leisure vehicles to our customers every year. As a company of a medium-sized group of companies with approx. 350 employees, we have the necessary financial background to handle even complex projects, special requests and large orders.
We look forward to your visit to our modern sales and service centre. There we have all the current Airstream models ready for you to view. We try to shorten the long delivery times from the USA for you by ordering vehicles in advance or even having them available from stock. Just ask us!
We live Airstream!
We live the Airstream lifestyle and don't just talk about it. Many of our employees are enthusiastic Airstreamers themselves. As the official German representative, we are actively working on building the Airstream community in Europe and regularly organise meetings to which we invite our customers. Newcomers can get useful tips and tricks from us on how and where to get the most out of their Airstream.
Where can I see the European Airstream models?
You will find our showroom in Merenberg near Limburg an der Lahn.
You can find more information and opening hours here.
What makes an Airstream so special?
Timeless and durable
Airstreams are timeless design icons with a tradition of over 85 years. More than 70% of all Airstreams ever built still exist.
Handwork and quality
Every Airstream is a unique handcrafted piece. 300 - 400 working hours are spent on the production of an Airstream, often not even 10% of that for the construction of a normal caravan.
For more information on the special technical design and construction of Airstream caravans, click here.
Airstreams often remain in the possession of their owner for decades or are even inherited. Should you nevertheless wish to sell your Airstream, you can enjoy the high value retention of your vehicle. Design Airstreams never get old-fashioned. According to the philosophy of the Airstream founder, our products are carefully maintained but not radically changed. The unique design of Airstreams is still unmatched today.
More than 80 years of tradition. The Airstream brand owes its worldwide recognition to the long company history and the legendary caravans of the company founder Wally Byam. But even today, the Airstream community is very active worldwide and is happy to welcome many new members every year.
What is the difference between European Airstream models and the US Airstreams?
Why do you offer special European Airstream models? We are often asked this question. Of course, it would be much easier if Airstream could simply sell its US models in Europe. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why this is not possible. American Airstream models are developed purely for the US market and comply with the technical and legal requirements there, which differ considerably from those in Europe. Here is a small comparison:
|USA models||Europe models|
|Exteriour Width||Over 23 feet long, too wide and not registrable in Europe||max. 2.55 metres wide|
|Tongue weight||between 220KG and 500 KG||Maximum 150 KG|
|Electricity||110 Volt||230 Volt|
|Heating||Air blower heating or heat pump via air conditioner||Water-bearing central heating with radiators Walls|
In Europe, the maximum vehicle width is 2.55 metres
In the USA, the maximum vehicle width is 2.68 metres
It is a well-known fact that everything is a bit bigger in the USA, including the roads. For this reason, trucks, large motor homes and caravans are much wider in the USA than they are here. All US Airstreams over 23 feet in total length are therefore offered in 2.58 width. Together with the awning, they are then even up to 2.68 centimetres wide and thus may not be registered in Europe.
Only models up to a maximum of 23 feet are built in the USA in a width of 2.43 metres. Together with the awning, they are then approx. 2.53 centimetres wide and thus just as wide as our Airstream 684. The 2.3-metre wide version popular with us is not offered at all in the USA.
Maximum drawbar load Europe max.: 150 KG - USA up to 500 KG
The most commonly used towing vehicle in the USA for Airstream is the Ford F150 pickup. This has a large loading area and a payload of 1.5 tonnes. The rear axle suspension of this commercial vehicle is correspondingly hard. In order to safely tow a 3-tonne Airstream with such a vehicle, the trailer should have a drawbar load of approx. 20% of its own weight. For a 3-tonne trailer this is approx. 500KG. The drawbar load is determined by the position of the axles. On US models this is further back than on European models. The position of the axle can hardly be changed afterwards. Extensive modifications are necessary for this and usually only lead to an unsatisfactory result. On the European models, the layout was developed from the beginning so that the axles and wheel housings are in the middle.
Power supply Europe = 230 volts - USA = 110 volts
In the USA, the standard for power voltage is 110 volts, whereas in Europe it is 230 volts. Heater, refrigerator, microwave, charger and sockets are operated with 110 volts in US Airstreams. European models were designed from the beginning for 230 volt operation. All appliances on board come from Europe and are operated with 230 volts.
Brakes Europe = mechanical - Brake USA = electric
In the USA, trailers are braked electrically. For this purpose, each towing vehicle has its own control unit to send appropriate signals to the trailer. The parking brake in the USA requires a 12-volt power supply. In Europe, trailers in the class up to 3.5 tonnes are typically braked mechanically with a so-called overrun brake. The parking brake is also mechanical. Approval of a trailer with electric brakes in Europe is not impossible, but it is very costly. In addition, the supply of spare parts is hardly guaranteed and you will be hard pressed to find someone who is familiar with the US system.
Heating Europe = Central heating - Heating USA = Warm air blower or air conditioner
In many regions in the USA, heating of caravans and motor homes is rarely or not at all necessary. Often, cooling is more important than heating. US motorhomes and caravans therefore usually have a relatively simple heating system that heats air and distributes it through several outlets in the vehicle. Alternatively, the air conditioning system is often used as a heat pump to generate warm air. In the Airstream European models developed especially for the European market, however, Airstream uses a water-bearing central heating system from the Swedish company Alde as standard. These heating systems are operated with water just like at home, are quieter and more even and cover the entire room. Here, water flows through the vehicle in circuits up to 14 metres long with radiators. The result is a very pleasant indirect heat that is passively distributed in the vehicle without a fan. This also results in significantly less dust turbulence.
Spare parts supply and warranty.
All new European models have a 2-year factory warranty. All major component suppliers have a Europe-wide service partner network.
What should I consider when buying a used Airstream?
A used Airstream also represents a large investment due to its high value retention and should therefore be planned carefully. In general, Airstream European models offer better value retention than imported US models that have been more or less professionally converted to European standards. Here you will find some hints on what you should pay attention to. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us
Check that all the necessary papers are present
Even with vehicles from other European countries, you should check meticulously whether all the necessary papers are available. To re-register a vehicle within Europe, it is absolutely necessary to provide proof that the vehicle was already registered in Europe. Caravans from England, for example, do not have their own registration and therefore no English vehicle documents. For these vehicles, you must therefore go through the registration process here in Germany again with an individual inspection.
No admission without proof of customs clearance
At the latest, you must prove to the registration office that a vehicle from the USA has been properly cleared through customs. For a vehicle that has never been registered in the EU, you need a so-called customs exemption certificate in Germany. Customs will only issue this certificate if you can prove that the vehicle has been properly cleared through customs. The indication that the vehicle has already been used in England for several years is not sufficient and obtaining proof of a vehicle that was imported many years ago is often no longer impossible.
Check the correct information in the vehicle documents!
Unfortunately, we experience time and again that there is massive cheating with the drawbar loads, especially with vehicles from the Netherlands. Often, several hundred kilograms of ballast are simply loaded in the rear for the individual acceptance in order to reduce the drawbar load. After unloading, the customer then simply drives on with a drawbar load of 300 kg. In Europe, however, ball head couplings are usually only allowed to carry 150 kg. Such a massive exceeding of the drawbar load on the towing vehicle and trailer can lead to the loss of insurance cover and legal action in the event of an accident.
Total weight - Unladen weight - Payload - Effective weight
Check the effective unladen weight of the vehicle by weighing it and compare it with the permissible total weight. Unfortunately, we repeatedly see vehicles that are significantly heavier than the unladen weight specification due to the installation of ballast in the rear and sometimes even exceed the permissible total weight. The possible payload of a trailer is the difference between the weighed unladen weight and the permissible gross weight. The effective weight and the drawbar load when loaded are decisive for the question of whether you are allowed to tow the trailer with your towing vehicle.
As already mentioned, all US models over 23 feet long are 8′ 5.5″ = 258cm wide without awning. Even without an awning, they already exceed the maximum permissible width of 2.55cm. With an awning, the vehicles are then already 2.68cm wide and thus 13cm wider than a 40 tonne truck. Apart from the fact that such a vehicle can hardly be moved sensibly in Europe, you have to reckon with serious consequences in case of an accident.
Please also bear in mind that even an operating licence that has already been granted can be revoked at any time if such a gross misrepresentation becomes known.
Can I stay overnight on the road with an Airstream ?
With an Airstream caravan, you are basically self-sufficient when it comes to energy supply and fresh water supply. This is an important prerequisite for being independent of campsites.
The question of whether you are allowed to park with your Airstream in public traffic areas is quickly answered. You may park your vehicle anywhere where it is not explicitly prohibited. However, contrary to popular belief, parking on the pavement is not permitted. Not even if it is permitted with a special sign, because an Airstream towing vehicle usually has a gross vehicle weight of more than 2.8 tonnes. Of course, when parking, you should show consideration for other road users and not obstruct anyone beyond what is necessary. Parking on a narrow road, which then causes a traffic jam, does not promise a restful night. Under this condition, you can spend the night in public traffic areas, i.e. on the street and also in public car parks, without worrying, as long as the parking of caravans is not expressly prohibited there.
What about sleeping in a parked Airstream? In principle, camping in public traffic areas is not permitted. However, a one-off overnight stay to restore your driving ability is permitted in accordance with the STVO. According to the ADAC, a period of 10 hours is assumed. Repeated overnight stays, on the other hand, are not permitted.
However, you should also observe a few basic rules when parking and possibly spending the night to restore your driving ability. Although you can use the facilities inside the Airstream such as the toilet and kitchen without hesitation when parking, you should avoid extending the awning, using camping furniture and lowering the supports in order not to be suspected of unauthorised camping.
Caution is also advised in the federal state of Schleswig Holstein, for example. There, the Land Nature Conservation Act §37 restricts the following. "Tents or other mobile accommodation (caravans, mobile homes) may only be erected and used on sites approved for this purpose." This law is not limited to nature conservation areas, but applies in principle throughout the entire federal state. However, sentence 2 states: Traffic regulations remain unaffected. This means that an overnight stay required by the StVO to restore driving ability cannot normally be objected to. However, the inability to drive must not have been caused intentionally, for example by drinking alcohol during a break or when visiting an inn.
Use of motorhome sites Unfortunately, parking and therefore also spending the night on motorhome sites with a team is generally not permitted. Exceptions are pitches that explicitly allow this. On many sites, the use of a self-sufficient caravan is tolerated depending on the season and the occupancy rate, but in case of doubt it is always advisable to ask first by telephone or in person.
Use of motorway service areas At motorway service areas, parking and therefore also spending the night with a caravan in the parking spaces specially designated for trucks is actually not permitted. In normal parking bays, however, where you can find space with your caravan and do not obstruct anyone, parking is probably okay. Some service areas and many car parks also offer special parking spaces for caravans and motorhomes away from the car and lorry parking areas, where it is much easier to sleep anyway. If in doubt, you should accept a small fee rather than a restless night between the trucks.
The above statements do not claim to be correct and only reflect our current state of knowledge. As so often in life, courtesy and consideration often play the decisive role, even when travelling with such a conspicuous mobile as an Airstream. In any case, we have never had any problems restoring our driving ability...
Is there an Airstream Club in Europe?
The Wally Byam Caravan Club International
Founded in 1955, the Wally Byam Caravan Club International has enriched the lives of many Airstream owners over the years. Today, the club is still run in the spirit of Airstream brand founder Wally Byam and has more than 6000 members. The club is organised into regions and regional units in the United States, Canada, Australia and now Europe. All clubs conform to WBCCI rules but have their own bylaws, constitution, elected boards and membership fees.
Due to the ever-growing number of Airstream owners in Europe the establishment of a European unit of the Wally Byam Caravan Club International ws a logical consequence. The WBCCI Europe is the youngest unit of WBCCI with a rapidly growing number of members in the whole of Europe and was founded in July 2015. A membership in the WBCCI Europe is open to all Airstream owners in Europe and is the key to participation in the events that the Club makes unique in the world.
For further information on the WBCCI Europe and registration, please click here. europe.wbcci.net