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Motorists across the country are being urged to pay extra attention when travelling with their dogs. Many pets are well trained for life at home, but behaviours inside a vehicle are often overlooked. This can lead to costly repairs and even an MOT failure.
With that in mind, motoring experts at Select Car Leasing have revealed the steps motorists can take to protect their vehicles from their pets.
Graham Conway, Managing Director of Select Car Leasing, said: “Many people train their dogs in the home but neglect to prepare them for car journeys.
“Being in a vehicle is a new experience for a lot of pets and can cause anxiety, which can result in upholstery being scratched, seatbelts being chewed and floors being soiled.
“Not only can damage to the interior cost owners in repair bills, it can also make cars hazardous and therefore fail an MOT.”
Mr Conway recommended securing dogs in the car correctly, so they cannot distract the driver or injure themselves or anyone else in the vehicle.
The expert added: “Securing your dog also helps them stay in one spot and not get their paws or mouths on anything they shouldn’t.
“You might also consider giving your pet one of their toys or treats to chew on, in case they do start to get restless.
“Many dogs chew on upholstery or seatbelts if there are no other options there. Damage to the upholstery can be pricey to fix, but damage to seat belts can put lives at risk.
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“Even if the damage seems minor, it can be detrimental to the seatbelt’s function.
“And even if it’s a seatbelt you don’t use, having a faulty seatbelt can result in your car failing its MOT, which can harm your wallet and take time to get it fixed.”
Making sure that the car is clean before taking it for its MOT is also very important.
The expert warned that the tester may refuse to complete the checks if a vehicle is very dirty.
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Drivers are therefore encouraged to get rid of any pet toys and fur before heading for the necessary check.
Select Car Leasing also recommended taking regular breaks if the pet is on a long car journey, and to familiarise them with the car by taking short journeys first.
Mr Conway added: “This can make sure your pet has plenty of opportunity to go to the toilet, rather than being tempted to soil themselves in the car and ruin your car’s surfaces.”
Driving without a valid MOT is illegal with drivers facing huge fines if they do so.
Motorists can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a car without a valid MOT.
If they drive a vehicle deemed “dangerous” by an MOT test, they can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and receive three penalty points.
After an MOT test, the garage that carried out the test will update passes and fails to the DVSA’s database.
This information can be accessed by anybody with the car’s number plate and could lead to prosecution.
Systems on board police cars and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras can also flag cars without a valid certificate.
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