Rodent Damage in Cars: How to Protect Your Vehicle

Rats and mice are a dreaded kitchen pest, but they can also infest vehicles. Squirrels, mice, and rats will crawl up wheel wells and into the space under the hood of your car where they might build a nest. Since that area contains many sensitive components that keep your car running, rodents living there often cause damage.

For most drivers, they first realize that rodents have nested in their car when they hear a noise from the engine or see a warning indicator light. Repairing the damage at this point will often cost hundreds of dollars. If you know the signs of rodents in cars and can spot the damage early, you may be able to save yourself money and worry.

Types of Damage Rodents Cause in Cars

Rodents will move into your car for all sorts of reasons. In winter, rodent damage is especially common as mice and rats escape the cold and huddle beside a warm engine. The area underneath your car’s hood also provides ample protection from predators.

Some car manufacturers inadvertently provide a food source for rodents by using soy-based insulation for wiring in their cars. All rodents need to chew to keep their teeth maintained, but this edible wiring is even more attractive to them.

Between chewing and nesting, damage you might notice if rodents are living in your vehicle include:

  • Wiring – As natural chewers, rodents will grind their teeth down on wires and can sever wires. This will short out the wiring in the car and cause malfunctions with technical systems and power steering.
  • Fuel System – The fuel injection system also contains a series of hoses and wires that rodents can chew through.
  • Food Debris – Squirrels hoard nuts to secure their food source for the winter. If they collect those nuts inside your car, it will require cleanup.
  • Droppings – All rodents will leave droppings wherever they go. These can cause your entire car to smell when your engine heats up and can also be a source of disease.
  • Fire Danger – In addition to being messy, many of the materials rats and mice use for nests are flammable. This leads to a fire risk, especially if rodents have also chewed on wires.

It is not uncommon for a mouse, rat, or squirrel to die while living in a car if they become trapped. As the animal’s body decays, it will release an intense odor that can permeate your car and require deep cleaning to remove.

Preventing Rodent Damage

Rodents do the most damage when they can stay in a car undetected for long periods of time. If you are not driving your vehicle every day, make some time to look inside and under the hood from time to time to check for signs of rodents. Turning it on will usually encourage any resident pests to quickly leave.

You also want to prevent mice, rats, and squirrels around your home as well. With fewer rodents in the area, there is less chance of one making its way into your car. Removing debris where rodents hide and taking away food sources like bird feeders and pet food can encourage rodents to go elsewhere.

Professional rodent control is another step you can take against excessive rodent activity in your home or yard. We are experts in rodent behavior and can help you identify what is bringing them to your property and keep them out with rodent exclusion. For rodent control in Roseville, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Lincoln, and more, contact ADAPT Pest today.

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