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Keep Rats and Mice Out of Your Vehicle: Best Suggestions

Updated on March 18, 2016
Rochelle Frank profile image

Living the simple life in a rural area for the past 20 years, Rochelle has experienced, wild critters, power outages and some life lessons.

When I wrote an article about rodent damage to motor vehicles, I got more than 200 comments - some with suggestions - from people who had experienced this problem.

Damages ranged from chewed and broken wires and tubes and surprise critter encounters in the passenger area, to nests inside the motor, trunk and interior compartments.

Source

Many drivers shared stories of expensive repairs and near catastrophic damage, malfunction and even fires. Several offered opinions on strategies to get rid of rodents.

The original article has been viewed more than 127 thousand times, and of the 530 people who voted in the poll, 87% said they were currently battling the problems of vehicle damage done by mice, rats, squirrels and related species.

Source

So What Can You Do?

People have used biological, chemical, mechanical, and electronic methods to discourage mouselike invasion.

Some tactics are meant to kill or trap the pests, and others just discourage them from making your car a rat hotel.

Listed below is a summary of the various strategies by those engaged in the mouse wars, along with some warnings about possible disadvantages and dangers of each suggestion. What works for one motorist may have no effect for another. Many people fighting this problem try multiple approaches simultaneously.

Possible Strategies

This is an abbreviated list of some strategies that responders to the initial article mentioned.

  1. Clear away hiding places
  2. Clear away food sources
  3. Use bright lighting- open hood
  4. Use traps
  5. Use strong smelling substances
  6. Block entryways
  7. Use electronic devices
  8. Do not let vehicle sit unused

Clearing the Area:

One of the first steps you can take is making sure you are not providing food and comfortable habitat for the culprits.

One woman whose car had been attacked by mice, noticed that her cats were fascinated by movements and noise in a thick vining shrub that covered the side of her garage. She found out that mice were living in the thicket, and some had decided that her car might also be a good nesting spot. Removing the plant helped to solve her problem.

Mice and rats can be attracted to the bags of dog kibble, dry cat food, bird seed, livestock feed, garden seeds or even stored emergency meal supplies that may be kept in a garage. With a handy food supply, rodents often take up residence in a conveniently parked vehicle.

Make sure that all of these edibles are stored in sturdy, sealed, mouse-proof containers. Cardboard cartons and paper, plastic or cloth bags will not stop mouse access.

If you have children who eat goldfish crackers or cherrioats in the car and drop french fries between the seats, you will make local mice very happy. For those who forgetfully leave big bags of dog food in the trunk of your car… you are asking for trouble.

Rodents like to stash acorns, and dog food into places they don't belong in your car, like air filters.

Keeping the garage light on (and car hood open) might help, some rodents can't sleep with the light on. For those who do not park in a garage, leaving the vehicle hood open in the daytime is sometimes recommended to keep the intruders from finding a dark enclosed place to nest.

If you leave your car idle and parked for a few days, it is more susceptible to rodent intrusion. "Gentlemen, start your engines", now and then... You might also try parking in different locations, but if you have a heavy rodent infestation this might not be enough.

What if You Already Have Mice In Your Motor?

First get rid of the rodents, droppings and nests; a shop vacuum is handy.

If you can wash out the engine with a garden hose it will help to remove nesting material and rinse their scent out.

Check for vehicle damage, especially in the engine compartment. Take advice from your mechanic.

Look over the suggestions below to find deterrents and strategies to keep the perpetrators away permanently.

Biologic Deterrents (Your Pets)

Speaking of catastrophic consequences, many people, including a car mechanic, recommended getting a cat to discourage mice.

This might be your answer, if you have a feline with the right hunting instincts and disposition. If you have one of those big sissy kitties that eats from a crystal goblet, maybe not.

With a cat as your main mouse deterrent, make sure you know where she is before turning the ignition key to start up. Cats can get inside your motor, too, and it can be deadly if the car is started.

Other people recommended dogs-- especially Rat Terriers, though one owner reported that his terrier damaged the car by clawing, biting and scratching the vehicle while trying to get at the vermin.

Another "smoke bombed" his car to send the critters scurrying so his dog could catch them. Using a similar smoky ejection technique, one man whacked the fleeing rat with a shovel, which he found to be personally satisfying.

Other biologic deterrents that have been tried, are the use of animal fur (or even human hair) placed around the car or tied in bundles under the hood. The theory is that the critters can sense the presence of predators by the smell of fur or hair.

Building on that theory, there are some commercial products that are supposed to contain fox or coyote urine that apparently dissuades rodents. No, I don't know how they obtain those ingredients. Trying to catch a wild predator is not recommended.

Old Technology: Traps

The familiar snap traps have been used for more than a century. They are very straightforward in their operation.


Bait is put on a lever. A mouse, attracted by the bait, trips the lever and releases a stiff wire bar attached to a strong spring. The bar smashes down on the mouse, trapping and usually killing it instantly.


Some people think this is still the most effective method of dealing with mice and rats. It does, at least, leave evidence of success behind ... plus a bit of a mess to clean up. One reader leaves a baited trap on the passenger side floor, and zaps the varmints before they do damage.


Traditionally, we think of the snap-rat bait as being a chunk of cheese, but most people will tell you that peanut butter -- or a peanut stuck down with a blob of peanut butter-- works even better. Watch your fingers. (If you are a dog who likes peanut butter-- watch your nose.)


Another type of trap is the "sticky strip", which uses a thick gluey adhesive to trap the little creatures. (Don't touch the sticky part .)

The sticky strip has three or four advantages for the user:

  • It can be affixed to surfaces inside the engine compartment.
  • It may catch more than one mouse at a time.
  • It is disposable.
  • It does not accidentally snap down on your fingers.

Place traps near and on top of the tires, since that is often the entry point for climbing into the engine. On the other hand, some people object to the fact that the mice probably die a slow and tortured death.

There are also little cage-like traps " Have A Heart" live traps which humanely captures rodents so they can be rehabilitated, given a secret identity and relocated in a far-away area that doesn't have automobiles, where they then can be eaten by hawks and coyotes.

Not many people, who have recently paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for car repairs, are inclined to be so charitable to the perpetrators, but some are just too kind.

Using a Combination approach

Products

This is a list of some specific products that responders to the initial article mentioned.

  • Snap type traps
  • Sticky traps
  • Have a Heart non-kill traps
  • Peppermint Essential oil
  • Ammonia
  • Irish Spring Soap
  • Pine Sol Cleaning product
  • Fresh Cab packets
  • Shake Away Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Rodent Defense deterrent spray
  • Critter Out Rat and Mouse Repellent
  • Ultrasonic pest repeller
  • Mouse Blocker
  • Rid-a-Rat Deterrent

Chemical Agents, Aromatic Oils and Poisons

Mice, rats, squirrels and their many cousins have a well developed sense of smell. Often they can be repelled by strong odors.

1. Irish Spring Soap. Cut in cubes, drill holes and wrap a wire through and around the soap. Then, tie them under the hood in locations where it doesn't get hot. Or, just rub the soap bar around on various surfaces. This soap is also often used to discourage deer.


2. Peppermint oil applied on cotton balls, appropriately fixed or wired in place. Apparently it works as a mouse repellent, but you must remember to reapply the oil every few days. It is strong smelling, possibly repugnant to rodents, but more pleasant smelling to humans than some other oderants. (One person suggested anointing your Rat Terrier with peppermint oil.)
Though many users thought peppermint worked well -- one person said: "I took a cotton rag, soaked it in peppermint oil, then tied it near where mice had been. Next morning, I went out and they had EATEN part of the cloth and pulled it all away from where I had tied it."


3. Laundry dryer sheets such as "Bounce" brand : These are sometimes used as mosquito repellant by mountain campers and hikers. I has been said that putting them under the hood or tying them in certain places in the vehicle made the mice depart the premises. They are also very economical. Replace regularly.


4. Spraying "Pine Sol" cleaner in the car engine compartment has also been sugested. Try to NOT get it on the batteries. Spraying the area around the windshield washer where it's all metal, should send a message. The "Stop The Rodent" or "Critter Ridder" products, used similarly, should be safe everywhere. Check directions.


5. Some recommended using Brillo steel wool scrubbing pads attached beneath the hood. The strong-smelling soap in the pads is likely to remain in place for a time, so it could be a good deterrent.


6. Cayenne pepper, sprinkled around the vehicle tires might help. Pepper of this type is sometimes used in some the commercial spray products.


7. Though some people mentioned it, I’d stay away from the WD-40 and the self-defense pepper spray techniques. The first is dangerously flammable and also evaporates quickly. The second may literally backfire on you.


8. Moth balls- (Paradichlorobenzine) are poisonous to animals and humans, they have toxic vapors and are dangerous to use. Some people say to place them in a can under a vehicle or hang a bagful under the hood -- but there are serious risks for people.


9. Rat poisons can kill natural predators ( foxes, hawks, others) if a sick or poisoned rodent is eaten. Rat bait may work as well, but when it is carried away, you don't know where it goes. It can be terrible if you kill your favorite hunting dog or the neighbors cat using poison.
IAlso, if a rat dies in a hidden space inside your vehicle, will you be able to live with the repulsive rotting cadaver smell that will penetrate the interior?

Which strategies and products do you think work best for you?

See results

Mechanical Solutions

If you think you know how the mice are getting inside vehicle, you may be able to "put up a fence". Several vehicle models have air intakes or open wheel wells that rodent intrepret as "vacancy" signs.

I have heard of some car owners blocking off those entries with wire mesh, which would take some work. Some people have been able to fasten quarter inch mesh screen over the 3x5 inch air intakes vents and vents in the wheel wells.

Mice can squeeze through an opening that is the size of a U.S. dime, so finding all of the tiny mouse entrances can be daunting.

One driver, tired of replacing chewed spark plug wires, made hand-sewn sleeves for each wire out of a heat resistant material found at an auto parts store. It solved that specific problem.

Mouse Blocker

Installing Mouseblocker

New Technology: Electronic Devices

There are several kinds of electronic repellers that people have found to be effective. Some plug into a wall socket, some into the car lighter receptacle, and there are even some solar powered models


Some are ultrasonic, others use a flashing strobe light and a few cause vibration. Some buzz loudly when sensing a slight motion, others send out a variable alarm heard only by rodents.


The small electronic deterrent device which sends out rodent- disturbing signals- audio, vibrating or with flashing lights might be your best bet. One advantage is you don't have to keep respraying a solution or refilling bait .


One difficulty is in finding THE specific thing that works best for your particular circumstance.

The type of rodent, the climate in your area, the frequency of using the vehicle, the proximity of rodent habitat or food sources and many other factors can influence the success of each potential solution.


No single tactic seems to work for everyone, but many people fighting the mouse wars have decided that using a combination of two or three strategies at the same time may be the best possible plan.


I hope some of these tips help you. Please comment below about your battles-- especially if you find the one thing that solves your problem.

"...the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot." Public Domain Image
"...the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot." Public Domain Image | Source

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      How odd that I have never had this problem, but obviously quite a few people have....well, great suggestions, and I'll remember them the first time I find a little critter under my hood.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks for reading, billybuc. I haven't either, but I know of some people around here who have. I doubt that many people think about it until the damage is done.

    • msdielise profile image

      msdielise 2 years ago

      For real? You can have rats in your car? @_@ Good thing I don't have a car, lol.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Indeed! That is the ultimate positive solution to the problem. I appreciate your comment.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Both interesting and very serious. I was not even aware that there was such a problem. Thanks for the warning and the advice. Voted Up!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      I have had comments from India, Brazil and Philippines on my earlier hub on the subject. It seems to happen anywhere there are rodents and vehicles. If you see any signs, grab the peppermint oil and traps.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • momsdoworkathome profile image

      Katina Davenport 2 years ago from Michigan

      Oh my goosh, great hub! I had a squirrel in my car once. They ate through the wires, which was cause for an expensive car repair. There was nothing that we could do to keep the squirrels out because we lived in an apartment complex at the time and there was squirrels everywhere in this area. Great advice to keep them out. I will remember it.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Squirrels, as one of the larger rodents, can do a LOT of damage. I knew some people who had one get into their mountain cabin. The place looked like the site of a wild party where dry cereal and uncooked pasta had been served. The drapes were ruined, too.

    • imtii profile image

      Imtiaz Ahmed 2 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      These is full with more easy methods to get rid of rats. Never thought that Cayenne pepper could help :D

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      I think that one reason it is not easy, is that not everything works for everyone. Trying several ideas at once may help solve the problem.Good luck.

    • creationwatches profile image

      Jasson C 2 years ago from 9E Franklin Avenue, Montvale, 07645, New Jersey, U.S.A.

      Very interesting thread; I too agree with some points

    • Rebeccasutton profile image

      Rebecca Sutton 2 years ago from Rock Hill, SC

      Great suggestions. I like the Cayenne pepper idea!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Cayenne Pepper is an ingredient in some of the repellent/deterrent sprays and packets, so it could be helpful. Thanks for commenting.

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 2 years ago from Arizona

      I find this article to be both useful and terrifying! I admire the cleaning suggestions that you provided! Good work very resourceful! Voted up tweeted out!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thank you, swilliams. I wrote an earlier hub on the same subject, which attracted a lot of comments-- so I thought a hub to categorize and organize all of those many suggestions might be helpful.

      It is something to be aware of for anyone living in a rural area. City dwellers are not immune, either.

    • profile image

      Betsey Koehler 2 years ago

      I have mice in my car AGAIN. I have no garage and the car never sits idle for more than a couple days, tops, and even that is rare. They actually ate a hole in the corner of the leather back seat, so they must live down under there. I saw evidence of them being in the car last night, on the front seats and on top of an empty coffee cup. I will try some of these methods, but can't stomach using traps. Might just drive it to an experminator if it gets any worse!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      I hope you find the right solution for you.... and check those wires before driving to the exterminator.

    • LinStory profile image

      LinStory 2 years ago from Seattle,WA

      OMG!....I have had this problem before.

      A little mouse made his/her home in my car, inside my trunk.

      I found his/her tiny nest inside (scraps of old shredded newspapers and old leaves mostly) .

      I did place a few mouse traps under my car & finally caught that little critter and he/she was a tiny thing...so so small and cute. And yet, I was glad I caught that little mouse...No problem since.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      You were lucky to discover the problem early. Maybe it was just a warning. Keep looking for the signs, and you might avoid future damage. Thanks for commenting, LinStory.

    • profile image

      AnnieBananie 2 years ago

      A possum took residence in my new car and my car is in the shop as we speak. He/she was found dead and wrapped around my compressor back in July, now its October and my car has been in the shop several times and they couldn't figure out what was going on. They finally got to experience what was happening to me, replaced a part, which was not the one needed and after running the car before returning it to me, it began to fume. Long story short, wiring was damaged by the rodent and the compressor has to be replaced. I do not live in a rural area, so not sure where I picked up that menacing critter.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      When I lived in the suburbs we would see possums occasionally, usually running along the back fence walls at night. They are very adaptable creatures. I'm sure they could do a lot of damage. Seems even worse when it is a new car. Now that you have found the problem, I hope you find something that discourages them.

    • profile image

      Debbie 2 years ago

      OMG... on the way home today, a little mouse ran across my windshield as I was driving. I pulled over and the little think ran under my hood (where the windshield wipers are located). I'm freaking out and now I'm terrified to go back into my car. I'm so skeeved out!!!!!!!!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      You need to check it out (or get someone else to do it) before damage is done. I hope it was just a hitchhiker, and not a permanent resident.

    • profile image

      Lauren 2 years ago

      I'm pretty sure I have some sort of rodent in my car as we speak. I noticed a towel chewed up in multiple places last night and my car is actually due to go to my mechanic tomorrow so I was planning on having him check everything out. Hopefully he finds the little guy. I found myself wondering on the drive to work today, where in the car the little bugger is and what he/she is doing. Did it have a good nights sleep? Am I waking it up? Hope it was at least enjoying the music selection and the last few hours of a warm home.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Well, you certainly have a more charitable and munificent attitude toward car rodents than most people-- perhaps because you have not experienced any dangerous or expensive damage. Make sure you mention the evidence of your suspicions to your mechanic specifically, so it can be checked for any damaged wires or evidence of nest building. I'm also sure people would be interested in finding out if there is any music which might make them turn tail and go away. Thanks for the entertaining comment.

    • profile image

      ETRI 2 years ago

      A mouse nested on top of the gas tank on my Subaru Impreza and chewed two holes through the fuel line. When I filled the tank gas spewed up and stunk up the whole car. The mechanic was able to get to the damage by taking out the back seat and opening a hatch, which is how the fumes got up into the car. So, putting any deterrent under the hood wouldn't help me with this one. A friend suggested spraying peppermint oil on the tires so that the mice won't crawl up--I think I'll try that.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Hope that works. Remember, you need to reapply regularly. You might also want to place a few traps near your parking area, as well.

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 2 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Sorry to change the subject but we are plagued by Bats in the attic ! Bats are protected, so it is miserable that we cannot use our attic,any suggestions?

      regards jandee

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      A neighbor of mine has a bat problem. He said the noise emitting electronic gadgets don't do anything scare bats, but I was wondering if bright lights on motion detectors might have an effect.

      We have bats around here, too and I know that some local scout groups have been building "bat houses"-- little nesting boxes that are hung on trees away from the house that seem to interest them. You might search out some examples.

      At least bats do us the service of eating thousands of mosquitoes.

      Let me know if you find a good strategy

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 2 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      Hello Rochelle, we have open door barns,they don't seem to fancy living in the barns. We have tried almost everything. Not sure what motion detectors are but will certainly find out now,so thank you for your help.

      I agree about the bats and mosquitoes,

      best from jandee. La Rochelle is a favourite place of mine here about 30 minutes drive.

    • profile image

      John 2 years ago

      Big problem out here in the sticks. Have two new cars and replaced blower motors on both recently. I was thinking about sheet metal shaped to cover the tops of my front tires. Would that work?

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      It might help a lot if you think that is their access point, but they might have other ways of getting in as well. You might consider also using traps, and other deterrents as well. Yes, they are very persistent. Good luck.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      It is awful to have rats in the car engine, i have my cat hiding in the car engine instead

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      That will probably keep the rats out, but could be dangerous for the cat. Make sure kitty is out of there before starting the engine.

    • profile image

      Matt39 17 months ago

      I work at a new car dealership and we see signs of mice EVERY day. They may not have caused problems yet but if you let them remain the eventually will. We have seen damaged wires, fuel lines leaking, flooded cars due to nests being built over drains not to mention the damage to the interior of the vehicles. We recommend the Mouse Blocker to these customers. We have seen great results in deterring the rodents with this type of unit that is powered by the vehicles battery. We cannot raise the hoods of these vehicles as the alarm system is integrated to the hood.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 17 months ago from California Gold Country

      Can the system be turned off so you can service the engine?

    • profile image

      Loretta 16 months ago

      We had 2 recent car tows to the dealer, for a cumulative total of 4 repair bills, including new battery and fuses before the dealer finally discovered the wiring was being chewed by rodents. Could be mice, rats, possums or what we have a lot of are squirrels. We live in a large urban area in midwest. Our daughter had thousands of $ wiring damage on her brand new car in southern CA. This is a huge problem, and what we've learned is many car mfrs are now using wiring from companies using soy-based coating, which is ideal mouse food. Repairs are very expensive, only solution seems to buy older used cars. If anyone's had real success fighting this problem, please post. Dealer said some people use moth balls. Unfortunately, our heater always reverts to outside air intake from under hood and I've gotten sick from toxic moth ball fumes. Need to know a safe solution that really works. I've seen posts on blogs by car mechanics at dealerss seeing 100 cars a month with very expensive, dangerous damages.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 16 months ago from California Gold Country

      Yes it can be very expensive, as you already know. The soy products (supposedly green and biodegradeable) seem to be making the problem worse. However, even cars without that type of material can attract rodents. Small dark spaces inside of your vehicle can seem like a cozy home, even if they have to bring their own snacks and bedding. Squirrels have been known to jam up the works with hundreds of acorns.

      It seems that no ONE "solution" solves the problem, but many people think using two or three approaches at once give a better chance for winning the war.

      Check through the various suggestions and put some of them into use.

    • profile image

      Kathy Smith 13 months ago

      Fighting the mice/rat war now , he has chewed the same wire 3 times now , we have 3 types of traps and bait plus repellent and dryer sheets all covering the wires , now it appears to have chewed a different location will find out the damage tomorrow , already paid 700$ and we're still battling , so frustrating because the garage is clean , we've never seen mice around , my car is fairly new 2015 Nissan Pathfinder, I have only had it 2 months , I wonder if it came with the car ! Honda makes a rodent tape for the wires our local Honda dealership knew nothing about it , I ordered some from amazon ! Wish me luck

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 13 months ago from California Gold Country

      It is not an easy battle. I have recently heard about the rodent tape. Let us know if it is effective.

    • profile image

      Julie 12 months ago

      I have lived out in the country with livestock, dogs and cats my whole life. I have been so lucky that I have never had a mouse or rat problem in or around my autos. And now my luck has run out! So thank you to all of you that have made suggestions with all the tricks to get rid of mice, rats, squirrels and rock chucks. I am trying one thing at a time, and will double up on them as it goes. My dogs are quite obsessed with the under side of my pickup, so the varmint, what ever they may be, is too scared to leave!! I have used compress air, water, noise, driving a lot, old spice cologne , bars of soap etc. I am not giving up!! Great advise everyone!!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 12 months ago from California Gold Country

      Let us know what works for you. Your success could help someone else.

    • profile image

      Britt 8 months ago

      If the rodent tape Kathy Smith mentioned above actually works, somebody PLEASE let me know oh my god--I've had such an issue with the ratty little b*stards chewing up my car's wiring (i literally got my car back a few days ago after having it repaired for a THIRD time, ugh.)

    • profile image

      MATT 8 months ago

      I used the rodent tape from Mouse Blocker that my dealer who performed the wiring repairs recommended and so far we have not had any issues. Very happy a product like this exists and definitely recommend as it is very easy to install.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 8 months ago from California Gold Country

      I've heard several people say the tape worked for them. It seems there is not just one answer, and that may be because there are several different kinds of rodents causing damage.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 8 months ago from California Gold Country

      It's good to know that a repair person will recommend something that seems to be effective. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • profile image

      Mitzi 8 months ago

      I live in Southern California. I have a brand new Honda Fit and I have mice in my engine. Im using Bounce dryer sheets and Irish spring soap as a deterrent. Both work. I noticed tonight that the mice have moved their acorn/nut stash to a different part of my engine. Im going to put cubes and small pieces of the soap in the smaller areas to see if I can get rid of them. A neighbor has a large amount of bird feed on the ground all year round and thats part of the attraction for mice,rats etc. They wont get rid of the bird seed so I have to find a solution. This is what ive found so far that has worked for me.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 8 months ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks for adding to the discussion. Glad you found something that works for you and your new car. You might consider some of the other deterrents as well. It seems extra frustrating when this happens to a new car.

    • profile image

      Allan Nickson 8 months ago

      Irish Spring does not work for us. The mice eat the soap. Traps are the most effective.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 8 months ago from California Gold Country

      Traps do leave you with proof of success. You may need several.

    • profile image

      JohnL 7 months ago

      I have this problem in Vista, CA, with my GMC pickup. It is parked in the driveway, and sometimes sit for weeks without moving. I't had to go to the shop twice: (1) it failed smog and the cause was the wire to both NOX sensor harness coconnectors had been damaged by rodents ($600.00); (2) spark pug wire and injector pulse wire damaged by rodent.

      I had tried the Irish Spring soap - failed.

      I was told by service tech that rodents love to run into the engine and find a warm spot to hang out. And, as a retired manufacturing manager for a defense contractor (we built the Bradley Fighting Vehicles), when I had this problem I was reminded of the horror stories, coming from places like Camp Pendelton, of the huge cost of repairing fleet vehicles of all kinds due to rodent damage. Taxpayers are paying millions every year to repair our fighting vehicles to keep them in service.

    • profile image

      JohnKL 7 months ago

      I have this problem in Vista, CA, with my GMC pickup. It is parked in the driveway, and sometimes sit for weeks without moving. I't had to go to the shop twice: (1) it failed smog and the cause was the wire to both NOX sensor harness coconnectors had been damaged by rodents ($600.00); (2) spark pug wire and injector pulse wire damaged by rodent.

      I had tried the Irish Spring soap - failed.

      I was told by service tech that rodents love to run into the engine and find a warm spot to hang out. And, as a retired manufacturing manager for a defense contractor (we built the Bradley Fighting Vehicles), when I had this problem I was reminded of the horror stories, coming from places like Camp Pendelton, of the huge cost of repairing fleet vehicles of all kinds due to rodent damage. Taxpayers are paying millions every year to repair our fighting vehicles to keep them in service.

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      PJ 6 months ago

      Just happened to me in Vancouver BC. Car went in for service and my mechanic said there was a rat nest near the transmission, and chewed wires have to be replaced. Been a cold and rainy fall and he says they look for some place warm. I don't use the car every day, so it sits outside the house. Guess I'll have to turn it on more often. Most people use street parking here. Never heard of this rodent in car problem til now. Eeuww! Haven't seen any rats buts lotsa squirrels in my hood.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

      Squirels can do a lot of damage. Keep watching, and take other steps if necessary. Good luck.

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      Barb 6 months ago

      I heard that the car manufacturers are using a type of plastic coating that is attractive to rodents - could be why the sudden onslaught of problems!

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      Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

      The problem has been around for a long time. However, the soy-based wire coatings probably are tastier than plastic.

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      su 6 months ago

      Every winter i have mice get into the cabin filter of my car...i thought if i closed the vent, they couldn't get in....what's the best electronic device? I guess it would be cheaper than a new filter every couple of months....i read thru your list but which have you heard Works?!

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      Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

      I haven't used one, myself. I think they all work in a similar way, as long as you remember to turn them on.

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      Valerie 6 months ago

      After having finding no brake fluid under the bonnet because mice had chewed the pipes and done other damage, I finally had to resort to glue traps. Not something I enjoy doing but it's "them or me!!) Mice had done a lot of damage and all the above remedies hadn't worked 100%. First time I used the glue traps there were 8 mice on the traps from one night!!! Yesterday I found another. 100% efficient, but don't forget to remove them before you drive off and put them back when you get back home!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I'm glad you found something that works for you. Sometimes it is a good idea to try more than one method.

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      Ian Metcalfe 6 months ago

      Five attacks inside rural garage in last two years. I have traps, electronic devices, scented baggies, lights. After trying them all on a slow learning curve what has done it for me is....in order of effectiveness.

      1) Open hood and hang a workshop light from hood. (no attack since)

      2) Electronic "buzzer" anti rodent device over engine, also on floor under engine.

      3) Garage lights off, but with traps in shady place around walls, peanut butter for bait. (I don't use poison as cats and dogs on property).

      4) No nesting material or food (for rats) in garage. A plastic bag with old clothes is like an offer of a free apartment offer in a new condo for a rat. ( and i live in vancouver area!)

      5) No clutter. Inside and outside. They will hide anywhere, shelving/cupboards stacked around walls and under fridge freezers is a favourite, and woodpiles or bushy plants onor close to the outside.

      No Darkness, No food, No shelter/nesting opportunity....They"ll move elsewhere. You can't stop your engine being warm, but i pop my hood and hang the mechanics light as soon as i put the car in the garage.

      P.S. I tried the green option of the bags of scented wood/herbs in the engine compartment (sold to me by Hyundai $40), they chewed thru the bag to check it, then stopped, didn't chew any car wires that night tho, so i guess thats a positive, but didn't keep them away worth a damn.

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      Rochelle Frank 6 months ago from California Gold Country

      Yours sounds like the true voice of experience. I agree with your strategies, and appreciate you sharing.

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      Lori George 6 months ago

      In the last month I have paid $600 in rat damage to my engine. That is a nest in the oil filter, a dead rat in the fan of my heater, chewed through the windshield wiper to bed twice and God knows what else! I am petrified of these rats. Oh yes they chewed the upholstery inside my car when there was no food or anything else in the car but have not had that repaired. Has anyone heard of flash fencing? I've been given an estimate of $450 for a 2 foot high aluminum fence you put around your car . But I just read rats can jump up to I think 4 feet or maybe it's three? I am trying everything above. Having exterminator come tomorrow to see if he can give me any suggestions.

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      Mary Lynn 5 months ago

      I never dreamed I had an issue until my wipers didn't work one day. I thought it was a fuse only to find out that in fact so little critter (think it was a squirrel) had my wires for lunch. It cost me $500... I was not a happy camper. I have dogs so I wanted something that wouldn't harm them... read a lot of reviews and ended up with a spray containing different essential oils that I sprayed under the hood and in the wheel wells. I then bought some pet friendly granules that I sprinkled around my car that also contain oils etc. Then I sprinkled peppermint oil under the hood. I periodically respray the vehicle and so far so good... Fingers crossed that they stay away!

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      Navin Johnson 3 months ago

      Lots of good ideas. Irish Spring Soap did not work for me.... the mice ate it.

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      Cathryn Chudy 2 months ago

      I would like to know if there has been any progress made with manufacturers in addressing the problem - I had the problem with my Toyota Prius and after an expensive repair, I got an electronic device that has been working. I am wanting to get an electric vehicle, but have read that they are prone to mice infestation problems.

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      Irma V 2 months ago

      My problem is the cat n kitten! I have a Pit bull, a Lab and 2 poodles which will eat them alive if caught and they climb my roof at night and daytime they hide under car or pk! I'm scared that they can get caught when I turn on the vehicles then I'll have to deal with the smelly part! Years ago it happened with a baby possum caught in the car air condition part! I had to purchase a new car, it was sickening and embarrassing to drive in that car! I don't want them in my dogs territory! What can I do?

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      ron warner 8 weeks ago

      Serious rat problem here with my 2014 Kia Sorento. Had to replace a full wiring harness on two occasions.Fed up has no one started a "class/action" suit" against the Auto-M anfactures using the soy based materials as an environent friendly type.If anyone is aware of such an action I would be pleased in knowing especially here in Canada?

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      Carrie 7 weeks ago

      I love your humor regarding the humane live trap! Priceless!

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      Vanessa 5 weeks ago

      My husband noticed mouse droppings in our van - no damage had occurred. I used big balls of hair from my 3 giant breed dogs, and let the dogs sleep in the van with the door opened for a few days. I also littered it with Bounce fab softener sheets - I used 3 boxes on day 1. Now its been 3 weeks and no evidence of mice - fingers crossed! I'm an animal lover, so I could NEVER use the sticky traps - such a horrible death. I suppose if one had to choose these methods, go with the old fash. spring traps - hopefully a quick death. But so far the predator and bounce are working! Good luck

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      Lucretiagann 12 days ago

      Never had this problem before. But a few days ago my air conditioner quit working. My car was fairly new and I was confused. Took to my dealership thinking the warranty would cover it. They called and said rodents had eaten all the wire to my compressor etc. Wow - 1200 worth of work. I live in a rural area and am afraid of it happening again. Thanks for all the tips. I will have to try some.

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