Taking Your Leased Mercedes Abroad – What You Need to Know

As we enter the new year many of us will be looking forward to the summer and foreign holidays that we’ll be able to take. And for many of us trips to mainland Europe are just as easy, if not easier, to take in our own car, rather than having to navigate airports, car hire and all the other costs and complications of flying.

However, we know that with Covid and Brexit travelling to the EU won’t be as simple as it was a couple of years ago which is why we wanted to put together this article with everything you’ll need to know about taking your leased Mercedes abroad.

Car Condition

The first thing you’ll want to take a look at is the condition of your car.

We advise you regularly give your vehicle an inspection to help spot any areas of concern early on and to keep maintenance costs to a minimum by small regular work rather than one costly repair further down the line.

Travelling abroad is just like any other long journey and you’ll want to check the vehicle condition to ensure it’s in top condition before you set off. We recommend completing these checks a couple of days before you travel and then doing a final check before setting off, this is in case you need to buy any supplies.


There are three aspects of your tyre you’ll want to check; their condition, their tread and their pressure.

In general, you should check for any cuts, cracks or bulges as these could indicate excessive wear to that area that will need repairing or replacing to avoid it bursting. If you’re concerned about the condition of any tyres at all we recommend taking it to a professional to have them check.

The tyre tread is another thing you’ll need to check. In the UK it is a legal requirement that the tread is 1.6mm around the entire wheel’s circumference over the central three-quarters of the tyre. We would advise that you check the legal requirement in the countries you are visiting, as this may differ from the UK, to ensure your tyres meet their requirements as well.

The third thing you need to check on your tyres is their pressure. You’ll be able to find the recommended pressure in the vehicle manual or on the manufacturer’s website and use one of the air machines at a service staying to check and top up as necessary. Please note, you might have a different recommended pressure for the front and rear wheels.

When checking your tyres you should make sure the vehicle is not loaded down with excess weight and has not been driven for a long period beforehand, as this will make them warm and the pressure readings different.

Remember, when checking your tyres if you have a spare wheel you’ll also want to check the condition and pressure of this to make sure it’s ready if you do need it.


There are a number of fluids you’ll want to check in the vehicle to make sure they’re within the recommended levels. These include:

  • The windscreen wiper fluid
  • The oil
  • The brake fluid
  • The engine coolant

If any of these look a little low then we recommend topping up with fluids so that you do not get too low whilst travelling.

Please park on a level surface and allow the engine to fully cool from the last time driven (at least eight hours) before checking your fluids to ensure they are all cooled down as some can be very hot and pressurised.


You should make sure all of your lights are functioning correctly. This might require some help as someone can travel around the vehicle whilst you turn them on and off or you can use a reflective surface to check yourself.

Be aware that some countries require you to have different settings for your lights, such as France where it is a requirement not to dazzle other road users. We advise checking before you travel if any such laws apply where you’re visiting.


You should always check your brakes before any long journey and going abroad is no different.

There are two checks you should complete. First, you will want to check the brakes when the engine is off by pressing down on the brake pedal. It should feel spongy and not at all slack.

Second, you should check the brakes when the vehicle is running. In a safe location when there is no other traffic around you should apply them firmly whilst driving, at a lower speed, and the vehicle should promptly stop without pulling to one side.

If you are at all concerned about the car’s brakes then it’s best to get them looked at by a professional.


Before travelling you should make sure your battery is not showing any of the warning signs which suggest it is dying.

These include:

  • The engine is slow to turn over
  • Clicking when turning the key before the engine turns over
  • Dim headlights
  • Problems with other electrical components such as the radio, power windows
  • A dashboard warning light comes on
  • A swollen battery case

If your car is having any of these issues then we recommend visiting a mechanic to see if the battery needs replacing and having this done if it won’t make it through your trip. Though it might seem like an additional cost you didn’t need, it’s better to pay this than to be stranded in a foreign country where you might not speak the language with a flat car and upset travel companions.

Remember most car batteries are only designed to last three to five years (depending on usage) and so if yours is approaching this age then it may be slowly deteriorating and coming to the time to replace it.

General Vehicle Condition:

It’s also wise to do a walk around and make sure the vehicle is in a good condition generally and there are no other areas of concern, such as a chip in the windscreen, that you might want to address before your trip.

You’ll also want to check that your MOT or service will not be due during the trip, and if they are then get them completed before you travel.

Driving Rules

Although the rules of the road are fairly universal across the globe there will be some differences that you’ll want to be aware of when travelling in a new country.

The UK is one of the only countries in the world where we drive on the left-hand side of the road, and so in Europe you’ll be on the other side of the road most of the time. It’s important to remember not only your positioning on the road but in the driver’s seat as well, because your car will still be a right-hand drive, which means you’ll be sitting on the side of the car closest to the kerb. The view of the road, obstacles and any other vehicle you encounter will be different and it’s important to be aware of this and any adjustments you may need to make.

You’ll also want to remember that speed limits in other European countries will usually be shown in kilometres rather than miles which means that you’ll need to adjust your speedometer, or look at the other numbers on older models, to make sure you don’t accidentally exceed the speed limit.

Another thing to be aware of if you have young drivers with you is that in some European countries the legal age of driving is 18 years old not 17 as it is in the UK.

We recommend checking the UK government’s guidelines for a more detailed breakdown of the legal requirements of the countries you are visiting.

Driving Documents

When travelling with your vehicle there are a few documents that you’ll need to have in the car that you don’t always need when travelling in the UK.

If you’re travelling in your own leased car then you’ll want to make sure you have:

  • Your full valid driving licence (and that of any other driver)
  • The vehicle insurance documents
  • Your travel insurance documents
  • European breakdown cover number and policy documents
  • Proof of ID (your passport)
  • VE103 for the vehicle

Most of these you’d need to take with you when driving abroad anyway, the big difference for a lease car is the VE103 which replaces the V5C document for lease vehicles. This is a form from the lease funder that confirms you are authorised to use the vehicle and to travel with it and is required as you are not the legal owner of the car.

You will need to request this from your lease provider before you travel, and we recommend getting in touch with them around a month prior to travel to ensure the document reaches you before you leave on your trip, as some funders advise it can take up to 28 days. You will need the physical copy of this document that is posted so you’ll want to allow plenty of time for this.

When requesting a VE103 the funder will require information on the drivers and countries you plan to visit so it’s wise to make a note of the below details before you call to request it:

  • Full driver name (as appears on licence)
  • Full driver address (as appears on licence)
  • Dates of travel
  • Countries of travel
  • Vehicle registration
  • Vehicle make and model

VE103s will usually be valid for a year from the date of issue however you will need to get a new one if any of the driver details need updating as they must match the details as they appear on the driving licence.

Please be aware that there may be a charge from your funder for the VE103 and associated admin work. They will confirm this for you when you request the documentation and the amount that will be charged, as it varies between funders.

Equipment to Keep in the Car

There are currently no legal requirements to keep any safety equipment in your car as a UK driver although you might choose to for your own peace of mind. However, there are some countries where it is a legal requirement to have these items in your vehicle.

Nearly all European countries require you to have a warning triangle, so you can alert other drivers in the event of a breakdown and several also require you to have reflective jackets / vests for all passengers to wear.  In France, Germany and Austria you will legally need to carry a first aid kit, and if you are driving in France (even if it’s on the way to your destination) you will need to have a breathalyser kit in the car.

They’re not compulsory but you might also find it helpful to keep the below in your vehicle when travelling abroad:

  • Fire extinguisher
  • Torch
  • Replacement bulbs
  • Fuel can
  • Additional oil / water to top up if required
  • A useable spare wheel, and jack to be able to change it, or tyre inflation kit
  • Jump leads
  • Locking wheel nut key
  • Sun cream
  • Blanket
  • Drinking water
  • Photocopies of your important documents


As the UK has now left the EU there are a few additional things you need to be aware of when travelling in your vehicle. All UK cars will now need to have a GB marker on them – this can be on your numberplate if you have a GB marker on them, otherwise you will need a GB sticker on the rear of the vehicle.

Covid-19 and Travel

Although restrictions because of the current coronavirus have relaxed there are still various rules across the world, and these differ between countries so it’s important that you are aware of the rules not only for the UK but for the countries you plan to visit.

You can find out more here for the government’s advice to travelling to a particular country.

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