How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Car
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There are several methods at your disposal to keep your vehicle in excellent shape.
You can pay close attention to the factory-recommended maintenance intervals for the oil, filters, and transmission fluid. Rotating the tires helps them wear evenly, provides optimum traction, and enhances fuel economy.
And regularly washing and waxing the exterior not only makes the paint shine but also protects it from contaminants like tree sap, road grime, and brake dust.
But even with these preventative steps, sometimes other factors can cause damage to your vehicle, like a rodent problem.
Rodents like mice and squirrels can take up residence underneath the hood, chew through wiring, and cause other mechanical or cosmetic damage.
The good news is you can prevent critter infestations with some simple methods and ensure your car stays in great condition.
What scent will keep mice away? What are some good pest controls?
Let's look at the subject of vehicle rodent damage and the different ways to safeguard against it.
Why do rodents infest cars?
The inside of a vehicle can be an attractive place for rodents like mice, squirrels, and rats.
Several aspects of a car, like warmth from the engine compartment, safety from predators, or the odors of leftover food, entice rodents to take up residence inside.
And besides those primary reasons, other qualities of vehicles also add to the appeal that makes rodents seek shelter there.
During cold weather months, the warmth from your car engine bay is an inviting area for rodents. By gnawing away at different materials, rodents can make nests, providing them with protection from freezing temperatures.
And if you ever eat inside of your vehicle, the smell of leftover wrappers or scraps lets rodents know of a potential food source. After many rodents inhabit a car for some time, the odors they leave behind signal others of a viable feeding location.
The parking location of a car also plays a significant role in whether rodents find it appealing. Vehicles near food sources like dumpsters or bird feeders further attract rodents to seek sustenance inside. Or those parked near ideal nesting spots also run a higher risk of rodent infestation.
Recently manufactured vehicles have a built-in quality that, in all honesty, unfortunately, attracts mice and rats. With automakers using bioplastics for both cost and environmental reasons, rodents find the wiring harnesses on today's cars especially appealing. That's because some bio-plastics contain a soy derivative, signaling mice, rats, and squirrels to a potential food course.
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How do rodents damage cars?
Rodents can harm vehicles both mechanically and cosmetically and cause health and safety issues.
Broken mechanical components caused by rodents range from mundane and straightforward to complex and problematic.
For instance, a chewed-through wire may result in the infotainment system not turning on. While that's inconvenient, it doesn't pose a significant safety issue.
But if a rodent builds a nest in the engine bay, causing your motor to malfunction, the result could be thousands in repairs not covered by car insurance.
And a braking system that doesn't work correctly due to rodent damage represents a serious safety issue for you and your passengers.
Mice and rats harbor several diseases, like salmonella and the hantavirus. And since rodents commonly inhabit car air filters, you might push contaminated particles through the air vents whenever you turn on the ventilation system. And even if specific rodents don't have a disease, other things left behind by rodents like dander, droppings, or dirt can cause allergies.
And rodents can also scratch and claw at various locations around your vehicle, reducing its visual appeal.
If you suspect a rodent infestation, some signs to look out for are nesting materials like leaves or branches, chewed upholstery and wires, foul odors, or gathered-up pet food.
How to keep mice out of your car
Rodents like mice, squirrels, and rats can cause significant, expensive damage that insurance may not cover. But there are several tried and true methods for keeping them away from your vehicle.
Here are seven trusted rodent deterrents:
- Essential oils like peppermint oil and cayenne pepper oil are natural rodent repellents. You can spray them in various areas around your car to keep rodents away. Or, for even more deterrence, you can use soaked cotton balls placed in specific places.
- Since rodents flock to areas like grass or woodlands, parking your vehicle inside a garage gives you an extra layer of security.
- Check to close all windows and sunroofs at night. Even a crack in the window could prove enticing for a rodent, so keeping them shut offers solid protection.
- Spread mulch, sawdust, or cedar shavings near your car. The scent of cedar consists of phenols that drive away rodents, making for a natural solution to the problem. An added benefit of cedar is it also repels snakes, fleas, and cockroaches. Several types of cedar exist, with Western Red Cedar proving to be the best rodent deterrent.
- You can wrap the wiring in your vehicle with rodent-repelling tape. Honda offers a special tape containing capsaicin, a substance found in hot peppers that rodents shy away from.
- Regularly cleaning up the inside of your vehicle of trash, wrappers, and food scraps limit any odors that might attract rodents seeking subsistence.
- If you typically park outdoors, rotating the space you occupy makes your vehicle less inviting and suitable for rodents.
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June 2, 2022
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