There are several steps you take to winterize your vehicle, but rodent-proofing probably isn’t one of them. Learn how to stop rodents from chewing car wires this season!
Winter is coming. You can feel it in the air! The leaves have all fallen, and now the temperatures are falling too. After you hang the Christmas lights, you are probably ready to retreat indoors and enjoy the season in the warmth of your home. Whether it’s by the fireplace, or underneath a cozy blanket, everyone wants to stay warm this winter- including rats and mice!
Contrary to popular belief, rats and mice are not really outdoor animals. They may live outside due to necessity, but they would much prefer to inhabit man-made shelter. They nest, but don’t burrow. Foxes build dens, bears hibernate in caves, squirrels seek out hollowed trees, but when it comes to winter weather, rodents have very few shelter strategies. In fact, their number one strategy is to take refuge in human dwellings!
Their top choice of habitat would be a dusty and isolated attic or basement. There’d be plenty of storage junk for them to use for nesting. Maybe you anticipated this and have rodent-proofed your home. Good for you! Taking proactive measures such as filing all holes and crevices, covering chimney ad vents, and maintaining the landscaping around your house are all effective ways to keep rodents out this winter.
But rats and mice a smart, resourceful creatures. Not to mention desperate. As temperatures drop and things outside get icy, rodents will not stop until they find some type of shelter. If the inside of your home is not an option, rodents will look elsewhere. The shed is their next top destination, but if you’re smart you rodent-proofed that too! So where is a rat to go? Forced to shelter themselves for survival, rodents can be found in the strangest places during wintertime- like inside your car!
Image courtesy of Consumer Reports
Why do rodents seek shelter in cars?
Think about it. If you had to, you could live in your car. It’s not ideal, but it’s doable. A car provides shelter from the wind and some amount of warmth. How clean do you keep your car? Not a neat freak? There could be crumbs, even half-eaten snacks or drinks in there that a rodent will love to feast on! Car seat interiors are made pretty comfy these days. Rats and mice will shred some of the material to make a nest. They might choose to nest under the seat or the carpet itself for extra warmth.
Even stranger, rodents seek out the warmest part of the vehicle, furthest away from the frigid outer air. This may actually be part of the engine! Rodents nesting in car engines really isn’t that unusual. Rodents are known to climb up into exhaust pipes, or into the belly of the car engine itself! After its been running, your engine takes a while to cool down. It can stay somewhat warm for hours after you park it. Rodents are attracted to this heat, and they are just the right size to navigate through the maze of pipes and parts that are under the hood of your car.
Finally, rats and mice alike have a nasty habit- chewing. They constantly have the urge to chew, and the will gnaw on just about anything. One of their favorite things to chew on are electrical wires. Rodents eating car wiring in your vehicle can be very dangerous!!
Prevention is one thing, but rodent removal is much more difficult. Signs of rodents in your vehicle include: rodent droppings, shredded materials, and gnaw marks. If you notice any of these red flags, act quickly. You should never attempt to remove rodents yourself. They carry harmful diseases that are easily transmitted. Call in the pros. They have the right gear and training to handle the situation swiftly and safely. If you fear that rodents have already nested, contact your local Green Rat Control team ASAP!
How to keep rodents out of your car
Image Courtesy of PEMCO Insurance
AAA assistance representatives report that rodent-damaged car wires are a recurring annual problem. No matter how fancy you car is, it could still be at risk! This is an age-old issue, but thankfully there are some things you can do about it!
1. Stick it to ’em
Image courtesy of Consumer Reports
Sticky rodent deterrent tape has been developed just for this nasty little problem. It’s basically doctored up electrical tape! The durable tape is coated with a ultra-spicy cooking spice, such as capsaicin. Lay it in a box shape around your regular parking space (indoor or outdoor is fine). The smell and taste of the space will keep rodents at bay, it will even irritate their skin. For humans, there is no adverse smell and it’s not an eye sore. The only drawback would be other pets potentially being exposed, but most rodent deterrent is non-toxic.
2. Lay traps
Rodents are agile and capable climbers. They can practically move horizontally and can easily climb slippery surfaces. To get up into your car or engine, they’ll likely climb the tread tires. If tires are their entry point, you want to block that entry way. The most effective way to do this is to lay snap traps on the ground right next to your tires. Snap traps are old school, but they are reliable and easy to set-up. This solution is the back-up in case and rodents make it past the deterrent tape! The downside is that you’ll have to move the traps when you leave for work each day, and replace them each night. Just make it part of your daily routine!
3. Add some odor
Make your vehicle less appealing to rodents by adding odor that they can’t stand. Luckily, you don’t have to make your car smell bad. What smells bad to a human and to a rat are completely different. What is the scent that rodents can’t stand? Peppermint! Spritz peppermint oil around the engine and car openings. Maybe, it’s the car air freshener you’ve actually been needing!
The odor is multi-functional, it acts as a deterrent but it also confuses the rodents. Rats and mice return to places they have marked with their own urine (ew!). Spraying the peppermint oil masks the smell of urine and tricks the rodents into thinking they are sniffing around the wrong spot. You’ll literally through them off the scent!
4. Leave the hood up
Wait… I’m trying to keep rodents out!! Yes, it does seem counter-intuitive, but it works. You see, rodents like to nest in dark, enclosed spaces. If you leave the hood up, light is let in and the engine is exposed. The engine is no longer a warm and isolated sanctuary. Consider leaving a utility light on by the engine during the night. This will provide an extra deterrent. So leaving the hood up isn’t like leaving the front door open after all!
Damaged electrical wiring from rodents poses serious threats. It can lead to electrical fires and vehicle failure. The strategies listed above are just a few you can try. If you want more advice on how to keep rodents out of your car, contact the friendly experts at Green Rat Control. They can help you use proven preventative methods to protect not just your car, but your entire garage- even your entire home!
Get a free estimate today!