Motorists urged to check for cats under cars on cold winter mornings
Drivers have been urged to check for any animals seeking refuge in their vehicles on cold winter mornings to prevent harming any beloved pets.
Motoring experts at LeaseCar.uk say animals could meet a tragic fate if unsuspecting drivers set off while they are still sheltering.
A cat lying under a carDescription automatically generated
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The experts also warn that if an animal gets stuck in the car it could result in extensive and costly damage.
Smaller animals like cats, squirrels and hedgehogs are always on the lookout for places to keep warm and sheltered from the harsh elements.
The engine area is a popular hiding spot for creatures because of the warmth, but it contains various components like fan belts and blades.
Unfortunately, this location is dangerous to both animals and the car, and any damage incurred could result in a costly engine replacement, potentially setting motorists back up to £5000.
Ways to prevent animals from getting trapped in a vehicle include installing motion-activated alarms near the car and using natural herb repellents such as lavender.
Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said: “With winter approaching and Brits bracing for months of plunging temperatures, all car owners are being asked to be on the lookout for pets and animals before they get behind the wheel.
“Cars and vans offer the perfect warm sanctuary from cold winds and freezing temperatures, especially when the engine has recently been running, so it is important to check for them before.
“Common spots for animals to hide include the car engine, under the hood and on top of the wheels.
“Tips to prevent cats and hedgehogs from using the vehicle as a shelter include parking in a garage and ensuring it is clean as rubbish will attract animals.
“Failing to deter animals before starting the engine could not only lead to serious injury or fatalities but may also lead to a hefty bill at the garage.”
Six ways to deter animals according to LeaseCar.uk:
Motion activated alarms
Motion-activated alarms, or lights, can startle animals and discourage them from coming over to the vehicle and making camp.
Some herbs such as lavender and rosemary contain scents that are unpleasant to cats and create a natural repellent. It is worth sprinkling this around the vehicle and spraying it where animals could try to sneak in.
Park in the garage
If possible, park the vehicle in a garage as it will create a barrier between the animals and the car. Those without a garage should consider using a car cover.
Keep it clean
Leaving food and rubbish in a vehicle could attract animals to come closer to the vehicle, so it is worth having a winter clean.
Beep the horn
If a motorist suspects that an animal could be hanging around their car, honk the horn or bang on the hood before starting the engine. If the animal was sleeping, this should give them time to escape.
Routinely check the vehicle before setting off anywhere- think about checking underneath the vehicle, and even in the wheel arch above the tyres.