Preventing Rodent Damage To Your Car

While we’ve extensively discussed how to keep rats, mice, and other pests from invading your home, there’s another critical area that often gets overlooked—the garage and, specifically, your vehicle. It’s not uncommon for these pests to find refuge in the motor and other secluded parts of your car. Rodents nesting in your vehicle can cause significant damage; they are notorious for gnawing on wires and tearing out insulation for nesting material. They may also stash away trash in the engines of cars and trucks. This issue is particularly prevalent if you reside in a rural area. Read on to discover effective strategies to combat this problem, including how to deter rodents to keep your vehicle safe.

Types of Rodents That Can Cause Damage to Cars

Several types of rodents can find their way into your vehicle, causing various forms of damage. Here are some common culprits:

  • Mice: Small and nimble, mice can easily squeeze into cars and start gnawing on wires and other components.
  • Rats: Larger than mice, rats can cause more extensive damage due to their size and gnawing habits.
  • Squirrels: Though not typically classified strictly as rodents, squirrels can similarly inflict damage by chewing on parts and storing food or building nests in vehicles.
  • Chipmunks: These small rodents can also sneak into vehicles, attracted by the shelter and potential food sources found within.

Taking proactive measures to repel and deter these rodents can help maintain your vehicle’s integrity and prevent costly repairs.

Types of Damage Rodents Can Do to Cars

Rodents can cause significant and costly damage to vehicles, often unbeknownst to the owner until the damage is severe. These small creatures are attracted to the warm, sheltered spaces cars provide, particularly in colder months. Here are some common types of damage rodents can inflict on vehicles:

  • Chewed Wires: Rodents often chew on the insulation around wires, which can lead to electrical malfunctions and expensive repairs.
  • Nesting Materials: Rodents can bring in leaves, twigs, and other materials to build nests, often choosing sheltered parts like the engine bay.
  • Engine Bay: The engine compartment offers a warm, hidden spot ideal for nesting, which can disrupt engine components.
  • Vehicle Damage: Beyond the engine bay, rodents can damage upholstery and car insulation by gnawing and nesting.

Keeping Rodents Out Of Your Vehicle

Plain and simple, rodents seem to be everywhere. And when they are able to damage your vehicle, they are likely going to cause significant damage. The key thing to understand about rodents is that they are almost always looking for a safe place in which they can make a nest and store the food they manage to acquire. If you want to make sure that your home and your belongings are not going to become hosts for rodents, you have to learn how to discourage them. While there are many techniques you can use, we would suggest you try some of the following:

  • Leave the hood of your vehicle up: Rodents are always in search of a dark place in which they can nest. Under the hood of a car is often a very popular choice. Opening up your hood could help to dissuade them since it will no longer be dark beneath your hood.
  • Run the car regularly: If you own a car that you do not get to drive often, it’s important that you turn on your vehicle regularly and take it out for a spin. This will keep rats from messing with the mechanical and electrical parts of your car.
  • Hide any pet food you may be storing in your garage: Rats absolutely adore dog food — and any other pet food, for that matter. They will stuff pounds of it into the glove compartment or any other empty areas of the car. Be sure to store any pet food you own in a plastic tote so that rats are unable to access it.
  • Avoid leaving food waste in your car: Ensure that no food wrappers, stored food, or food waste are left in your car, as these can attract rodents seeking a meal. Keeping your vehicle clean and free from trash can significantly reduce rodent activity and prevent damage to your car’s interior and wiring. Use sealed containers for any stored food and regularly empty your car’s trash cans to maintain a rodent-free environment.
  • Block any openings to the vehicle’s engine compartment: Certain car owners will place traps around their vehicles or on top of the wheels to prevent rats from climbing inside the wheels, where they can easily access the engine.
  • Make the engine and the entrances to the engine smell less appealing: While this may not seem like the most glamorous job for you, it certainly has been shown to keep the pesky rats away from engines. People have had success with a number of different scents, such as peppermint oil, Pine-Sol, Irish Spring soap, red pepper flakes, and more.
  • Seal off rat hiding places near your car: If you want to try to keep rats at bay, we suggest that you remove any shrubbery and/or vines near your car or your garage. This greenery acts as a hiding place for rodents, giving them easy access to rush to your vehicle and hide in it when no one is around.
  • Ensure a properly sealed garageTo keep your vehicle rodent-free and prevent a rodent infestation, it’s crucial to maintain a well-sealed garage. Check for and seal any gaps or holes where rodents could enter. This proactive measure helps safeguard your vehicle and garage from the damage rodents can cause.

Keep In Mind That Rodents Move Quickly

It is quite common for an older vehicle (especially if neglected) to make a perfect target for rodents to conduct a full takeover. On the other hand, you may not be aware that rodents can cause an extreme amount of damage to a new car as well. In fact, in less than 24 hours, a rat can destroy much of the wiring in a brand-new vehicle.

These critters also seem to have quite an affinity for the newest plastic-insulating materials that are being used in cars. Mice will also chew the insulation off the wires that connect batteries, alternators, and more. This will cause short circuits, which will result in costly repairs for the vehicle’s owner.

Your Best Bet For Preventing Damage To Your Vehicle

While numerous tips and tricks can help minimize the damage that mice and rats might inflict on your vehicle, the most reliable solution is a comprehensive one. Yes, you guessed it—the most effective way to protect your vehicle from being compromised by rodents is to eliminate the problem at its source. This means engaging a professional pest control service. At Earthwise Pest Management, we specialize in repelling rodents and safely removing them from your environment. If you’re looking to safeguard your family and your possessions, including your garage, we’re here to assist. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you keep your home and vehicle rodent-free, ensuring no chewed wire or damaged parts disrupt your life.