Important information concerning all discussions about Variocage safety!! A crash can happen at any speed and there are many variables with respect to the circumstances involved in an accident. Predicting every possible scenario and outcome is impossible. Depending on your vehicle, speed and circumstance, it might be possible that nothing can protect all occupants from injury or fatalities. Please drive safely and always use your MIM Safe Variocage for transporting your animals.
- General Variocage Set Up Guidelines
The proper set up and use of the MIM Safe Variocage is important for the safety of your pets, family and loved ones. Most of these safety guidelines apply to ANY Dog Kennel placed in your cargo area. Please consider our recommendations regardless of which dog kennel you may use to transport your pets.
The crumple zone and escape hatch are just a few of the Variocage features that make this crate so innovative and unique. Variocage is also the ONLY Crash Tested Dog Cage in the world tested for Front, Rear and Rollover Impacts using Government Automotive Safety Standards accepted worldwide.
In addition, Variocage is the only Crash Tested Dog Cage certified using human crash test dummies and designed to work in harmony with the safety features of all modern vehicles.
In order to utilize all of the safety features of the Variocage, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Here are our recommendations:
1) Variocage should always be situated with the front doors of the crate facing the rear door of your vehicle and the emergency hatch placed securely against the 2nd or 3rd row rear seat. This is the correct placement and positioning of the Variocage and will ensure that the Variocage Crumple Zone works effectively as designed and engineered.
2) Never place a Variocage “sideways” Placing a Variocage sideways is not the recommended by the manufacturer since the Variocage Crumple Zone engineering is effectively defeated in this position.
3) Do not put the Variocage on any solid platform. This is very dangerous. A solid platform will act as a battering ram in a rear end impact and transfer energy into the vehicle and seats, effectively defeating your vehicle’s safety engineering. In addition, a solid platform can splinter, break and penetrate seat backs causing potential harm to your dog, as well as human occupants. If necessary, you may raise the Variocage a few inches using foam insulation panels. You can purchase these foam insulation panels from Lowes or Home Depot in various thicknesses to suit the height you need. These foam panels will simply disintegrate in a rear end collision without causing any harm to your dog or human occupants in the vehicle. Please make sure that foam panel is flush with the floor of the vehicle and do not use it as a raised platform for your cage.
4) Variocage must be setup with the rear of the Variocage making contact with the 2nd or 3rd row rear seat. It is OK to place the Variocage Double or Single against Captain’s Chairs that have a gap between the two 2nd row seats, as long as the cage makes contact with the seat backs.
5) Variocage should never be placed behind the driver’s seat or the front side passenger seat. The 2nd and 3rd row rear seats in current production vehicles include a metal plate to protect human occupants from impacts by objects being transported in the cargo area. The Variocage is designed to work with your vehicle’s safety engineering features and will dissipate the energy of the impact across the surface area of the rear seat, while absorbing energy generated during impact with its crumple zone. Variocage has been tested using the SPCT Method, which utilizes a combination of Government Automotive Safety Standards accepted worldwide.
6) Never stack Variocage. A 2nd cage or objects placed on the top of any crate in a cargo space are not secure and may likely become dangerous projectiles in a crash, potentially causing injury or death to passengers or drivers in the vehicle.
7) Never bolt a Variocage down in your vehicle. Doing this will defeat the Variocage unique and lifesaving crumple zone engineering. This crumple zone is designed to work with your vehicle’s safety engineering, protecting both your dog and all human occupants in your vehicle.
8) Make sure your Variocage is mounted level and setup against a 2nd or 3rd row rear seat in your cargo space. Typically, crates can be off level when placed in a space that is too narrow or when placed on seats that do not fold down flat causing the cage to tip upwards in the rear. Make sure when measuring your vehicle for a Variocage that the narrowest point of your trunk space is wider than the width of your crate. If you have an uneven floor surface, you may wish to place a foam panel under your crate as noted in Guideline #3 above. Again, please make sure that foam panel is flush with the floor of the vehicle, and do not use it as a platform.
9) It is recommended that you use a second person to assist you when moving a larger Variocage. It is OK to lift the Variocage by the side rails. This is the easiest way to grip and move a Variocage in and out of your vehicle.
- Can the Variocage be used in a Pickup Truck?
Variocage is primarily intended for use in the enclosed area inside a vehicle. Variocage is not designed to be used in a pickup truck without a hard top over the pickup bed. However, if you choose to install a Variocage in a pickup truck with a hard top, then you must place the Variocage in the bed of the pickup with the back of the cage against the rear of the driver / passenger cabin. The Variocage must be in this position in order to assure the crumple zone of the Variocage will work as designed.
Please be sure that the backside of the Variocage is firmly placed against the wall in the pickup bed behind the passenger cab. The Variocage must also be securely strapped down to the bed of the pickup truck. Please note that the purpose of strapping down the Variocage is to keep it from sliding and to keep the Variocage in the best collision safe position as described above.
A mat (rubber or other suitable material) is recommended to protect both the surface of the Variocage as well as the pickup bed. This also serves to prevent the Variocage from sliding. All cargo must be placed and secured in such a manner that it cannot damage the Variocage in case of emergency braking or collision.
Please note that a Variocage installed in a pickup bed without a hard top is not ideally protected in the event of a serious rollover accident. The use of a Variocage not in full compliance with any of the above installation methods will be at the user’s own risk.
- Do I need to use the straps that are provided with the Variocage?
Yes! Please make sure the MIM Safe Variocage is strapped down properly to the anchor points in your vehicle behind the 2nd row seats using the supplied straps shipped with your cage. These straps are integral to the safety design of the Variocage. The straps are engineered to give way in a severe impact allowing the crumple zone protection of the Variocage to work properly.
- What type of steel is used to make the Variocage?
The type of steel used is ASTM A366 / ASTM A1008. There are a variety of dimensions used throughout the MIM Safe Variocage. The tubes are either 14 or 19 mm in diameter with a thickness of 1.0 mm. The flat steel used for the top and bottom sections have a thickness of 0.7 mm.
- Are there any breeds you do not recommend putting in the MIM Safe Variocage?
MIM Safe Variocage Single, Double and Compact have not been designed for the very, very small breeds. These dogs are so small that the head of the animal may get stuck between the tubes. This can be a potential cause of injury for the very, very small breeds.
For smaller dogs, as well as cats, we recommend the MIM Safe Variocage MiniMax, which has smaller openings between the bars. The MIM Safe Variocage MiniMax will properly accommodate smaller breeds as well as cats while keeping them safe and secure.
- Can I use a Double Variocage without the divider to allow more room for a large dog?
Yes. The dog can travel “sideways” in the cage. Owners of larger dogs have purchased Double Cages for big dogs requiring more room. In these cases, they take the divider out. Examples of this would be a large German Shepherd or a Rottweiler.
- Can I carry two (2) dogs in a double cage and keep them separated from each other?
MIM Safe Variocage Double Models have only been tested with Two (2) dog dummies. However, if you have several smaller dogs you can transport them if they are all small enough to fit together comfortably in a larger MIM Safe Variocage.
Transporting Two (2) smaller dogs in a larger cage is better than putting One (1) smaller dog in a larger cage. However, if you put a small breed in a Double XXL Cage by itself, and have a crash, the potential for harm is greater. A single dog in a smaller cage is better than a single dog in a larger cage.
- Why are the outer poles on the front of the crates shorter than the rest?
The reason for the outer tubes being shorter is to prevent the door from getting caught in the rear entryway opening and to allow the MIM Safe Variocage door to open all the way.
- What if I have a Minivan or SUV with 2nd row captain’s chairs?
MIM Safe Variocage can be installed in a Minivan or SUV with the 3rd row seats folded down or removed. The 2nd row captain’s chairs would then act as the rear seat. This should work even if there is a gap between the Two (2) Seats. Please make sure the MIM Safe Variocage is strapped down properly to the anchor points in your vehicle and that you have support from the 2nd row seats for the cage.
- Can the cage be installed anywhere else in a vehicle other than behind the rear seat?
MIM Safe Variocage offers the best protection in the event of an impact or rollover when properly installed and secured to the floor behind the rear seat of your vehicle. There are several reasons for this which are outlined here:
In most vehicles, there is a protective plate that covers most of the width and height of the rear seat. This plate is designed to prevent penetration into the rear seating area by the corners of hard or sharp objects being transported in the cargo area thereby helping to protect occupants from serious harm or injury.
The front seats in most vehicles do not have a protective plate. They only have a frame. The frame is designed to withstand impacts but not penetrations by hard or sharp objects. In fact, putting a plate in a front seat might cause damage to rear seat occupants if they were to contact the plate with a body part or their head. The front seat typically allows for some cushioning for human occupants during impact yet still serves to protect front seat occupants from serious harm or injury.
Placing any cage on top of a folded seat that does not fold completely flat into the floor can be hazardous. Any elevated position above the floor increases the risk of penetrating a seat with the base or lower corner of the cage. This position can also apply more force against the upper portion of the front seat, causing it to break. Also, if it is not secured properly to the floor, the cage is more likely to become a projectile in your vehicle placing all human occupants as well as your dog at risk of serious harm or fatal injury.
If you do place a cage behind your front seat, please bear in mind that you are compromising safety when using this location. If you decide to put a cage in this position, please understand you do so at your own risk. MIM Safe Variocage cannot recommend this installation. The cage must be placed up against the rear seat and secured to the floor for the best possible result in the event of a crash.
MIM Safe Variocage has not tested cages for crash protection when placed sideways in a vehicle and properly secured to a floor. Therefore, MIM Safe Variocage cannot recommend this placement since no test data is available for this type of installation.
Placing a cage on a rear seat is never recommended. The cage cannot be properly secured in this location and it places the cage at an unsafe height in the vehicle. MIM Safe Variocage does not recommend this installation in a vehicle.
- Why should the Variocage be up against a rear seat-back when installed in a vehicle?
MIM Safe Variocage is designed for installation behind the rear seat for added support in the event of a crash. The back seat and the resistance it provides play a critical role in the crumple zone of the Variocage. There are also tie-down straps that come with the cage to keep it secured to your vehicle’s tie-down points. These straps are integral to the safety design of the Variocage. The straps are engineered to give way in a severe impact allowing the crumple zone protection of the Variocage to work properly. If the rear seat is folded down or removed, and only the tie-down straps are used to keep the cage in position, it can present a danger to both your dog and human occupants in the event of a severe impact.
- What is the correct way to install the MIM Safe Variocage in my vehicle?
MIM Safe Variocage is designed for placement behind the rear seat (or a barrier similar to it) with the sidebars traveling in the direction of the car. This placement allows the cage to work with the car’s crumple zones in the event of a crash.
The Variocage is safest mounted level on a flat surface secured to the floor in your vehicle. It is important to use the straps provided with the Variocage to secure it to the tie-down hooks in your vehicle. These straps are integral to the safety design of the Variocage. The straps are engineered to give way in a severe impact allowing the crumple zone protection of the Variocage to work properly.
Proper use of the Variocage relies on the crumple zone protection designed in to your vehicle and the Variocage. For best safety and by design, the Variocage must be facing lengthwise in the vehicle for maximum protection of both your dog and human occupants. Please make sure you measure your vehicle with this placement and positioning of the Variocage in mind.
- How do I calculate the inside dimensions for a Variocage I am interested in purchasing?
To get estimated interior dimensions for a Variocage, deduct from the outside dimensions as follows:
Height 0.60 in
Width 1.96 in
Depth 2.36 in
NOTE: Please review the measuring instructions and sizing guides on our website to choose the correct Variocage that is best for your dog and your vehicle.
If you are not sure exactly what size you need, going one (1) size larger than indicated by your measurements is and acceptable and safe alternative.
Please review the following measuring and sizing guides before selecting your Variocage:
- How can I choose a Variocage that is the correct size for the safe transport of my dog?
A properly installed Variocage of the correct size offers the best protection available on the market for safe transport of your dog as well as all human occupants in your vehicle.
To assure a proper fit, please use this link to see the measuring guide for Choosing the right Variocage. The detailed instructions will provide you with information on how to properly measure your dog and your vehicle for a Variocage.
When measuring your dog, please remember that the Variocage is a transport cage and it is not a kennel. Transport cages serve a specific application and therefore have specific requirements. A kennel is not designed for the safe transport of your dog.
There should be enough room for your dog to stand-up in the cage with just a few inches of clearance above the shoulder. There should also be just a few inches of clearance from the base of the tail (not the tip of the tail) to end of the cage. These clearances are perfectly normal for the Variocage when used for safe transport of your dog.
Professional handlers typically use the correct size cage based on the measuring instructions foundVariocage Measuring Your Dog on our website for transporting their dog. Oversized is not necessarily better, especially when it comes to safety.
Typically, your dog will want to lie down in the Variocage once they settle down for the trip. In fact, the design of the Variocage tends to contribute to the dog relaxing and lying down while in motion. This keeps your dog calmer and contributes to their safety as well.
There may be instances when the size of your dog and/or your vehicle may require you to make certain exceptions to the recommendations made above.
Large dogs that exceed the maximum length of the cage may require the use of a Double Variocage versus a Single Variocage, even when traveling alone. The width of a Double Variocage will provide them with the room they require that the length of the cage cannot. Restrictions on the length of the Variocage imposed by your vehicle may also require the use of a Double Variocage to allow enough room for your dog.
Typically, we do not recommend putting a single dog in a larger oversize cage. A larger transport cage is not necessarily as safe for the dog and is not desirable from a safety perspective. However, you can transport several smaller dogs in a larger Variocage as long as they are always traveling together.
- What makes the MIM Safe Variocage the safest animal transport cage on the market?
MIM Safe has developed over 350 crash tested safety products for the automotive industry. All products meet the strict requirements of automotive manufacturers and European regulatory agencies for crash safety. This experience combined with a passion for safety engineering makes MIM Safe a leader in crash tested safety products.
Steel Construction – MIM Safe Variocage is made of steel. Most other cages are made of wire mesh, plastic, or aluminum.
These materials do not provide the same level of protection, durability, or strength as the MIM Safe Variocage.
Escape Hatch – MIM Safe Variocage features an emergency escape hatch. This important feature allows you to fold down your rear seats and get your dog out of the cage after a rear end collision. In many cases, especially after a severe impact, the rear hatch or door of a vehicle cannot be opened easily. This critically important feature allows you to get to your dogs, remove them from the vehicle, and if need be, tend to them after a collision.
Crash Tested – MIM Safe Variocage is the only cage on the market that has been tested for both front and rear collisions. Variocage has also been evaluated in a drop test that simulates a vehicle rollover. *
* Crash testing & evaluation performed by The Technical Research Institute of Sweden.
Crumple Zone Protection – MIM Safe Variocage is the only cage designed to work with your vehicle’s crumple zone protection. The crash testing and crumple zones are critically important. These help protect both dogs and humans in the car. A rigid cage can be dangerous to both your dog and human occupants in the event of a severe impact.
Adjustable Fit – MIM Safe Variocage is designed to be adjustable. The adjustability is not only crucial for safety (crumple zones), but is also allows flexibility for placement in your vehicle or across multiple vehicles. MIM Safe Variocage will fit your lifestyle and provide you with many years of safe and reliable service.
MIM Safe Variocage provides comfort and proven safety for your dog as well as the human occupants in your vehicle. This is a fact that is overlooked by other manufacturers of dog transport cages.
Please feel free to call us and discuss the features, benefits, and advantages of Variocage before you purchase any product designed to protect your loved ones.
- Will the MIM Safe Variocage fit in my vehicle?
The MIM Safe Variocage is suitable for use in Station Wagons, Minivans, and SUV’s. The Variocage design, features and adjustable length allow it to fit in most suitable vehicles.
The Variocage is angled to match the slope of the back seat and the slope of the rear cargo door. The roof of the crate is also narrower in width than the floor. These features allow for a proper fit in almost all suitable vehicles.