How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Car

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Rabbits and mice are on the constant hunt for warm, safe places to call home and your car may be on the top of their list of dream homes. This is because cars are often parked outside, near trash cans or other food sources, stay warm for long periods of time after being used, and are nice and dark inside.

What damage can rodents and rabbits do?

Aside from being a nuisance, rodents and rabbits can do quite a bit of damage to a vehicle. This damage can range from simply annoying to quite dangerous. Some possible damage can include:
  • Chewed up wiring. The most common damage that rabbits and rodents cause to a vehicle is to their wiring. Aside from the need to replace or repair damaged wiring, shorts can happen causing fires or even safety or other systems to malfunction, such as power steering, which can cause a crash or other incident.
  • Torn-up air filters. Rats will tear up air filters to build nests with the soft material. In addition to having to prematurely replace what could have been a brand-new filter, until it’s fixed your car will not get air filtered properly before it enters the engine.
  • Nests in the vehicle. Animals will also nest inside a vehicle engine compartment, near the battery, or around the driveshaft. Not only does this mean you can have several pounds of nesting material in your car that will need to be cleaned out, if the animal is home when you start your car next, it can create quite the mess.
  • Smell and bacteria. Having animal excrement and dander around a car’s air filter can push airborne bacteria into the cabin of the vehicle, which has the potential to make occupants quite sick. Animals that may not survive the car starting or being driven can create a horrid stench that will require extensive cleaning to remedy.

Tips to prevent rodent and rabbit damage

Tip 1: Make your car hard to get to. More often, rodents rabbits, or other animals only get into a vehicle because it’s easy, they don’t go out of their way to make a car their home. Keep your car garaged and keep your garage clean.
Tip 2: Don’t let the problem grow. While it’s easy for a rabbit or rodent to make your engine compartment other open, warm space their home, it’s best to fix a problem before it’s caused a of damage. During colder months especially, frequently check your engine compartment for signs of rodents. If you spot droppings, nest materials or frayed wires, remove the rodent yourself or call for help immediately, then assess and fix any damage.
Tip 3: Keep food away from the car. Keep your car away from food to help keep the rabbits and rodents away from your car. This includes dog or cat food, bird seed, and even trash cans. Anything that may attract a rodent or rabbit.
Tip 4: Keep them out in the first place. If you live in an area that is close to impossible to keep your car free from rats and rodents making it their home, some ways to help keep the animals out include:
  • Some openings can be blocked with wire mesh. It is recommended to check with your manufacturer or mechanic before doing so to make sure you do not inadvertently cause damage to the vehicle.
  • Set traps around the vehicle or on the wheels near the wheelwell to catch them before they make it into the car.
  • There are also several natural products people swear by to keep the rats away, from peppermint oil to mothballs.
  • Keep your hood open. As mentioned, these animals are looking for a dark place to call home. Keeping the hood open increases the light, decreasing the chances animals will want to call your car home.

Lawsuits claim wiring to blame

While more often rats and rodents are simply looking for a dark, warm place to live and end up damaging cars through circumstance, not nefarious intent, there have been changes to the coating used on electrical wires that may be causing even more damage to happen.
Damage to your car’s electrical system can be serious with the potential to result in an electrical fire or even a crash should a safety system be impacted by the damage. Reduce the possibility of rising insurance premiums and the need for roadside assistance because of rodent damage by staying alert and keeping your vehicle rodent and rabbit free.

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