It may seem like a rare occurrence, but rodents such as pack rats, mice, and squirrels can wreak major havoc on a vehicle in storage. They’ll chew through the wires in your engine compartment; they’ll hide nuts throughout the engine, and they’ll even use insulation to build nests. They aren’t anything to take lightly, and if you plan on storing a car for any period, you need to know the tips and tricks to keep the little creatures away from your car.
Why Pack Rats Love Cars
Engine bays make the perfect home for small rodents. After you take the car for a nice ride before packing it in for the winter, pack rats will become attracted to the warm engine cover. Most hoods feature a indentation over the engine that makes a nice cozy home for rodents to live. They’ll chew through anything rubber such as water tubing, and have even been known to chew through the wheel wells of vehicles. In short, pack rats are bad news unless you like unexpected surprises in the spring or nasty repair bills.
What can you do to deter these pesky rodents? Here are a few tips:
Leave your Hood Up
If applicable to your situation, leaving the hood of the vehicle up may discourage rodents from building nests in the engine bay. It may seem counter-intuitive—wouldn’t you want to engine sealed securely? Actually, these rodents are looking for a covered place to build their nests so if they see that the engine bay is open, they might deem it too exposed for their new home.
Stink Up your Engine
Perhaps not the most appealing solution but a stench coming from the engine bay will deter rodents just as much anyone else. Many car owners have found success with strong smells such as peppermint, used cat litter, Pine-Sol, dryer sheets, and even powdered fox urine. There are also products manufacture specifically to keep rats away from cars and can prevent them from chewing up your wiring.
Hide your Pet Food
Rats love dry pet food and will store it away to keep for later. Unfortunately, if you leave the food near your car, they might end up stuffing it in all sorts of compartments within the engine bay. When you go to fire up the engine in the springtime, you might be met with an unpleasant surprise. Do yourself a favor and hide the food away before storing the car.
Good old-fashioned snap traps will do the trick to help keep the rodents away from your vehicle. If you don’t want to kill the rats, you can buy humane cage traps but you will need to relocate the rats once you catch them.
Drive your Car Periodically
Maybe one of the easiest ways to prevent a build-up of rats in your engine bay is to take the car out for a spin every once in a while. Even if it’s just around the block, it will let you know if you have a rat problem.
If you found yourself with rat-caused damages, bring your vehicle into the experts at Clutch Auto Repair, and we’ll fix any of the damages.