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How to Keep Mice, Rats and Other Rodents Out of Your Car Engine

Updated on September 23, 2017
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.

You may have bats in your belfry, but how about rats in your manifold, or mice in your motor?

It is a myth that small autos are powered by hamsters running on exercise wheels, but it is an unfortunate fact that rodents can live and create mayhem in engine compartments.

In fact, the damage done to vehicles by mice, rats, and their many cousins can be considerable.

Gnawing wires, ripping out insulation for nesting materials, or squirreling away caches of nuts and trash in car and truck engines can destroy some of man's most sophisticated transportation technology and cause significant financial loss.

This is especially true if you live in a rural area. You need your car to get to your job or to go shopping, but wood rats and other critters want it for their homes.

Source

Some Techniques Work: For Some People, Some of the Time

Rodents are everywhere, and some are likely to invade your vehicle and do damage. They can find your car, decide it is a safe place to make a nest and a handy site to store food. If you can discourage them, you may win the battle.

There are dozens of techniques used to prevent mayhem by the destructive critters especially in combination. Multiple lines of defense seem to work best.

Steps to take:

  • Leave the hood up. Rodents are looking for a dark place to nest. This idea may help discourage nesting, but may not be practical in all situations.
  • Hide your dog food, cat food, and birdseed. Dog food is the gold standard of rat society. Rats will stuff pounds and pounds of it into the air cleaner, glove compartment, or other empty spaces in your car.
  • Remove or seal off rat hiding places near the car. Cut down nearby shrubbery and vines where they can hide. If you have a garage, block rat-sized entrances to the building, or spray them with substances or solutions that rats hate (see below).
  • Block small entrances to the engine compartment. Some car owners place traps around the vehicle or on top of the wheels, since rats climb wheels to get into the engine. Some block engine openings with wire screen.
  • Use electronic deterrent devices. Rodents can hear ultrasound, and it annoys them, at least for a while. Some learn to ignore it. Strobe lights like Mouse Blocker or Rid-a-Rat may work for longer periods, as they disrupt the darkness that rats prefer.
  • Make your engine and its entrances smell bad, at least to rats. Motorists have had success with peppermint oil, powdered fox urine, used cat litter, cat hair, dog hair, Pine-Sol, Irish Spring soap, red pepper, and laundry dryer sheets. The people who make "Rataway" tell you to spray it on all the wires in the engine.
  • Do not let the car sit unused. Drive it once in a while, see if rats have been doing mechanical or electrical work.
  • Finally: use traps to remove the rats who get through. The old-fashioned snap traps still work. Glue traps work too but may torture the rat. Humane cage traps may work, but relocating the varmits can be a problem. Toxic baits do kill rats eventually, but are likely to also poison predators, including domestic animals.


Rodents Can Move in Quickly

Rural people know that a seldom used old car may be taken over by rodents, but they can also get excited about brand new cars. In less than 24 hours they can destroy much of the wiring.

Some plastic insulating material now being used in cars seems especially tasty to the tiny invaders. When mice chew the insulation off wires that connect batteries, alternators, or anything electric to anything else, they cause short circuits that result in costly restoration.

After the repairs, mice may go back to work and cause the same problem again, unless you take steps to prevent them.

Run! The Hood is open!

photo by Linda Gast
photo by Linda Gast

Mechanics See Engines Destroyed by Rodents

"Apparently they have nothing but time," says Rick LeDuc of Rick's Automotive Service in Mariposa, California. He has found elaborate nests in intake manifolds, and even litters of tiny pink mice inside air cleaners stuffed with bedding material.

In one of the more ambitious nests, he found part of a broom handle that had been dragged into the inner workings, as well as "a couple of pounds of dog food." In another instance, he said that only the wires coated with blue plastic insulation had been gnawed.

"They are supposedly color-blind, but sometimes they pick out one certain color of wire to chew," he says. Probably there's something about the taste or texture.

Several auto repair businesses report multiple incidents of rodent damage each month. The time of year doesn't seem to matter. Hoarding, nest building, and wire gnawing are year-round occupations.

Repair costs can be as high as $500 and sometimes much more. In at least one case, so much wiring damage was done that the car was not worth fixing.


Rural car owners sometimes come into a repair shop complaining that they "smell something burning.” Such an odor may come from smoldering grass or or pine needles tightly packed into a carefully fabricated nest, or from burning droppings, stashed food, pack-ratted items, or the deceased bodies of the actual culprits.

A lot of people are surprised to discover the source of their problems. Why are so many furry occupants living where they are not welcome? This is not their natural habitat. Are they planning to take over the planet by disabling our vehicles?

The real reason rodents seek a home under a hood is that it provides a dark, warm, secure place to hide.... at least until the ignition key is turned. The start-up of the car’s machinery can be deadly for the critters, and sometimes can cause serious consequences for the drivers as well.

An acorn, rolling into a crevice after a driver stepped on the gas pedal, can keep the throttle open. The driver of a late model Ford truck was taken for a wild ride on a winding country road, and severely damaged his brakes before he could shut off the power.

The wood rat culprit apparently abandoned ship before the adventure, but his hoard of nuts almost caused a real disaster. The truck required towing and lots of professional attention.

Anecdotal Results of Dozens of Strategies

Realistically, getting rid of rats may be a lengthy project, requiring multiple strategies. Every situation is different. I have hundreds of anecdotes in over 270 comments sprinkled with suggestions, and you can read them all, or read my new article summarizing them, "Getting Rid of Rats or Mice in Your Vehicle: Reader Suggestions."


Collecting and Nesting Behavior of Wood Rats

John Muir, the famous Yosemite naturalist, called the wood rat (or pack rat) "a handsome, interesting animal".

In his detailed descriptions of Sierra flora and fauna, Muir also opined that "no rat or squirrel has so innocent a look, is so easily approached, or expresses such confidence in one's good intentions."

The comments of today's vehicle owners plagued by rodent motor damage are much less complimentary -- and are often unprintable. It may have been easier for the poetic naturalist to appreciate the animal, since he usually traveled on foot, rather than by SUV.

Wood rats are notorious for accessorizing their nests with things they collect, ranging from natural curiosities like bones, cones, and stones, to the tools, trash and treasures furnished by humans. Muir recorded incidents of rats stealing combs, nails, tin cups, eating utensils, and spectacles, which he supposed were used to strengthen rat nests.

Once inside an engine compartment, the rats see a mother lode of wonderful man-made objects, with wires and hoses and tubes connected to a spectacular variety of shiny metal and plastic components. To this assemblage, they will add their acorns, pine needles, hardware items, bottle caps, and whatever ornaments suit their eclectic decorating style.

Even before the era of motorized vehicles, settlers contended with these tiny terrors, doing their best to keep rats and mice out of their houses and barns.

Hard rock miners, however, actually encouraged rats to inhabit the mine tunnels, by saving crusts and crumbs of bread for them. The rats acted as a low-tech safety system. Being ultra-sensitive to tremors or quakes, they provided early warning of impending collapses or cave-ins. If rats suddenly went running for the exit, the mine workers were right behind them.

This may give us a clue that a deterrent that causes vibration or sound waves, may be a good choice.

One of the newest products addressing the wire-chewing problem is Honda Motor Tape. It is infused with pepper and perhaps some other deterrent and is used to wrap the wire harness. Early reports say it works well. It is not cheap, but costs much less than replacing an entire electrical system in your vehicle.

.... Lurking, everywhere.

Rat photos by Linda Gast
Rat photos by Linda Gast

Some Less Serious Ways to Discourage Them

So are there other ways that pesky little wire nibblers and insulation grabbers be discouraged? Could a car be disguised with animal pelts, to make it look like a rat-eating predator?

Would a ground squirrel be tricked into thinking your car was a mountain lion or a giant badger with the help of a spectacular paint job? Or perhaps one of those big plastic owls could be stuck under the hood, and wired it up with a speaker playing annoying rap music.

Some people park their car over a bucket of mothballs, which is apparently repugnant to rat olfactory receptors.

The family dog or cat may help to keep mouselike pests away, though if the cat gets into an engine, it's bad for everyone -- usually worst for the cat.

There are also little buzzer things that are supposed to keep pets off the furniture. They might work.

The problem is not going away, so drivers might be wise to pay a little extra attention next time they notice an unfamiliar squeak in their vehicle.

They are out there.

Some of them know where you park your car.

Have you had this problem?

See results

New Hub on Rats in Cars

My newer article (click here) summarizes the best car rat-proofing ideas contributed by readers in the 270+ comments below. Or read the comments and add your own ideas!

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

      I can understand your frustration. They do not give up easily. Have you tried the electronic devices?

      Let us know if you find something that works for you.

    • profile image

      Lyle 6 days ago

      Just got an estimate for over $1,000 for our Honda S2000 with rat damage. Have Irish Spring, Pepper Spray, Pinesol, Moth Balls, Ridarat lights in addition to a special drop light running from our electrical outlet and they still got to it. Nothing really works, but might be a deterrent in some areas. Good luck everyone!

    • profile image

      Lynn 2 weeks ago

      They took the cotton balls filled with peppermint oil into the spare tire area where they were building a very large nest. I don't know where they got some of the stuff I found in there.

      Under the hood they ate on the Irish Spring soap, 1 small piece remained with chew marks on it. I hope it made them sick

      I can't figure out how they got inside the car.

      I was using Rodent Sheriff under the hood on the hood insulation regularly about every 2 weeks for about 9 months and they never bothered it even through the winter. But I let it go for a few months and now it it has been chewed all over it. about half of the cover is completely missing.

      Now I'm using Cab Fresh inside the car and in the trunk, 2 in the trunk & 2 inside. They need to be replaced about every 2 months. I'm not sure if they are still visiting because I'm not leaving anything they liked before like tissues and paper. But, I think I'll put a tissue in just to see if it's shredded. They chewed a hand-towel I had in the car once, it was shredded. They haven't bothered a map on the backseat.

      The gas line to our van was chewed 8 times over the last few years and had to be completely replaced. The mechanic couldn't tell if it was a mouse or squirrel.

      Living in the woods is no fun. I also have a few squirrels that are driving me crazy. When I see one playing mechanic I hit the horn from inside the house. He runs and stays away for awhile, the other one doesn't budge. We tried to trap them with peanut butter and peanuts, but they won't go anywhere near the trap, they look at it but walk way around it.

      I don't think it helps that the neighbors have horses.

      I have come to the conclusion that it's time to move. I guess they win.

    • profile image

      Steam 6 weeks ago

      I thought I would have this issue licked before it got started. Living on farmland and having a large carport/ open shed away from our house where we occasionally park a vehicle. I knew the presence of field mice. It has always been a concern as once they did make a nest inside a garden tractor. No damage so I just cleaned it out. Put my trust in our shed night watchmen, the black snakes who love mice. And just as an added precaution I always spread rodent poison pellets behind the walls and around to keep em in check. Parked our Audi A4 there for a couple months and then began to drive it when we got a check engine light and then a foul smell, something like mouse p and something dead. Long story short, mechanic found poison pellets inside the air pump, air filter, and cabin air filter, along with a dead mouse. I remember a story a guy told me about his travel trailer where the mice gathered the poison he had spread around to eliminate them and they carried off and distributed the stuff to other hiding places in the unit. I guess a more tasty, lethal poison may do the trick if something like that is available.

    • profile image

      Whatever works 4 months ago

      Cover the engine with fitted a sheet of metal mesh so they can not get to the insulation under the hood and tear it up for nesting material. It is safe to drive with it in there.

      Use glue traps and snap traps with peanut butter.

      Check under your hood every single day. Check all shrubbery to look for nests in your yard. If you cant see light coming thru thru the bush/tree etc, because of a nest -it could very well be a be a rat's nest.

      Rat nests can be found on the ground as well as up in the trees. Destroy them completely.

      Dogs/cats are an excellent deterrent to rats.

      Bob Tanem -the gardener-has a recipe to kill rats suing plaster of paris.

      Look for entry holes into your house, especially on the roof.

    • profile image

      Tim Delaney 5 months ago

      Wow! I've had rodent issues on 4 cars, including my new, 2017 Forester, where a little bugger was chewing at the insulation on the firewall, and recently had a check engine light on my 2005 Mercedes C240. I had it in the shop today and a critter got into an area near the gas tank, made a nest which jammed a solenoid open, tripping a trouble code on the computer. This can be real trouble: dead or damaged vehicle, including a real chance of a fire. Thank you for your article – as you point out, it isn't a panacea, but it's a great place to start.

    • profile image

      Debbie Back 5 months ago

      I had this happen about a month ago. $150 to repair my 2012 Dodge Ram truck. We live in the country and just about all of the suggestions above are not possible. The mechanic advised us to spray peppermint oil mix all of the inside of the engine. We did that. Last week my engine light came on again. Took it in today and again rat damage.

    • profile image

      Paul Chippendale 5 months ago

      I just had the same problem as one of your contributors. A rat had eaten a large proportion of the rubber tube of the windscreen washer, replaced it yesterday, the rat has now eaten through further down where I can't reach it. I need to get to the washer bottle,thank you Nissan for putting it in such an inaccessible place, I've only got to take the front wing off!

    • profile image

      Bob Mayo 5 months ago

      I tried many things. Unfortunately (for the critters), the only thing that really works, and that I now continue to use, is a pellet rifle I bought for less than $100 -- a lot less than the $500 I spent to fix the cables the last time.

    • profile image

      Penny Garzarek 5 months ago

      Some sort of critter is wreaking havoc on my truck tires. ONLY my 3/4 T truck - not my SUV or a smaller truck. Seem to particularly love the right passenger tire. Have spent about $2K in replacement tires - another one ripped this AM on the outside so cannot be fixed! It appears that whatever is doing this extremely costly and maddening damage has a sharp, probably pointed tooth that it stuck into the tire and then pulled across and leaves about an inch or so long tear that resembles a pencil line. Usually more than one place. WHAT is doing this and what can we do? We've tried wolf urine, critter repellant spray for vehicles, have built wooden covers that they can apparently get under. I'm broke and so upset at this point. We have a camera to use if I can get it set up - not very technical, but have called a friend for assistance. Anyone???? Thanks --pls email BGarzarek@aol.com.

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

      Some people have reported that Irish Spring soap or peppermint oil is helpful as a deterrent. Others have said they didn't help much. I have not heard of using peppermint candy. It doesn't seem that it would be a strong enough mint smell, but if it works for you, go with it. Since you have some proven success with the traps, I would keep using those as well.

    • profile image

      crickett 6 months ago

      last 2 days i have caught 2 mice in the trunk of my car, with tomcat mouse ytraps. just started seeing mice droppings n my car. since i use peppermint candy in my house in my kitchen drawers 3 months ago ,i have not seen any mice droppings at all, so i am gonna put in my car. i have heard of irish spring soap working, just might add that also.

    • profile image

      Howard Alameda 7 months ago

      Just wanted to know if any one knows where the hole or if they had this problem I guess I have to lift car up and look under 2002 pt

      c ruser

    • profile image

      Palsekar 7 months ago

      When I started my new car which was parked for three weeks, it displayed indicators along with a message 'Check Brake System' on the dashboard monitor. Car has to be towed to the service center because it didn't let me release the hand brake! Reason: Rat/Rodent bit of wires inside the hood costing me hundreds of dollars :(

    • profile image

      Janiebtrue 8 months ago

      Ok, the mechanic found a mouse nest under the hood of my car. (didn't even know mice made nests)

      I live on 5 acres. My car is parked under a carport.

      This may sound like a ridiculous question but can can you strategically place the dryer sheets under the hood so you can drive the car with the dryer sheets under the hood? And replace them once a week?

      ...or are all these methods for when you are storing a car.

      I drive my car almost everyday and can't imagine I'll have to open and close the hood every time I leave or come home to remove and replace dryer sheets! Help???

    • profile image

      Elimann81 8 months ago

      When our son was living with us(on 80 acres) he drove in after work but the next day his car would not start. Popped the hood and there was a mouse nest. What to do

      ??

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

      Sounds like a lot of work. I have heard of people making these kinds of fences,and making sure their vehicle is always properly enclosed. If it works, it is certainly worth the effort. Thanks for your suggestion!

    • profile image

      Help. 8 months ago

      I took a roll of 18in roof flashing and stood it on its edge,with stakes, and went around a vehicle to stop these pests. It is too high and too slick for them to get over. If they dig under just make a trench to set the flashing in.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 15 months ago from California Gold Country

      Yes , I think it is still an ongoing problem for many people. I'm happy you found something that works for you.

    • profile image

      Matt39 15 months ago

      It crazy how this thread keeps going. Wanted to update everyone that the Mouse Blocker we had installed 2 years ago is still protecting us today. We thank our mechanic every time our vehicle is in for service he and tells us he has saved 100's of cars with this unit. What an amazing device this has proven to be. Just wanted to share our success story and hopefully help others with this same issue.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 17 months ago from California Gold Country

      Sounds like a good idea, If it is working for you, others may want to try it.

    • profile image

      hemanth Kumar G 17 months ago

      best solution i have found successful is used coil springs wound on the electrical wires. Yesterday i found fuel pipe is chewed, again i used the same technique and found it is safe.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 17 months ago from California Gold Country

      It's amazing what they can do.

      Parking in another place may help, but using some of the other suggestions might be wise as well.

      Traps, Peppermint oil, even electronic devices cost much less than $200. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Ruthie1225 17 months ago

      We found a fresh nest as big as a person's head on the motor of my Ford Escape. Built out of a pile of clean white fluffy pillow stuffing with a top layer of fresh yellow straw. Don't know where the pillow stuffing came from, but the straw had probably covered spring flowers someone planted too early. Don't see any nearby, though. The critter - whatever it was - also shredded the hood liner and added that to the mess, and it's going to cost me almost $200 to replace. I have to park outside, but I'm parking about 150 feet away for now, to my great inconvenience!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 18 months ago from California Gold Country

      I think you are right. Auto design is not the main problem, yet it does make you wonder why certain makes seem to this problem more often than others. Thanks for your comment.

    • profile image

      Infinitro 18 months ago

      I've been working in the auto industry for 30+ years and I've repaired cars with this problem. They just cleared out the field across from me and my wife's GMC had wiring damage yesterday morning. They chased the rodents out of their home to look elsewhere. I AM going to try the mouse blocker and a few other ideas I have read here. I am NOT going to blame the auto industry and blame poor design. We have a rodent problem, not a car problem. Do defective, poorly designed forks make you fat? Do defective, poorly designed pencils misspell words? Come on, you have got to be kidding me with that stuff!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 20 months ago from California Gold Country

      It looks like the rodents caused a very expensive problem for you. If the repairs are done with the same soy materials won't that set up the same situation? I hope you can find some good deterrents. I have another hub that summarizes the reader suggestions posted here.

    • peoplepower73 profile image

      Mike Russo 20 months ago from Placentia California

      Rochelle: Thanks for posting your article. Here is my story:

      https://hubpages.com/autos/Did-you-know-your-car-m...

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 21 months ago from California Gold Country

      It is very frustrating since you rarely see the culprits before the damage is done. Maybe you can get your mechanic to go to bat for you to help bolster your insurance claim for the additional damage. In the meantime, I hope you can find a way to prevent further damage. Condolences.

    • profile image

      Julie 21 months ago

      I just had to have all my engine wires replaced in my car from a Rat eating through all of them. Now that the wires are replaced it seems like I have a blown head gasket. My car was in the garage from Thursday evening through Monday morning when I went to work. Oddly my emergency brake light was on. I worked all day and drove home Monday evening and went out to start the car Tuesday morning and it wouldn't start that's when we found all the rat damage . My insurance paid to repair the wiring and now they look like they are gonna deny the blown head gasket.

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

      Thank you, Please do update with your results-- there are a lot of people who are interested.

    • profile image

      Steonghold_grace@yahoo.com 2 years ago

      I will surely try all of this to get rid of the pest in my engine....I will update you if it worked!!!

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

      I can't help -- maybe someone else has a suggestion. Chances are you'll need a mechanic, make sure he knows the details.

    • profile image

      Jim Greaves 2 years ago

      I just found a mouse nest on the intake manifold side of the air filter in my diesel van (E350), MEANING it must have come through the tail pipe - I guess. The van was running rough, and not accelerating to over 40 without a downhill to help. I removed the nest with 4 "pinkies" in it and the shredded tissue. No sign of mom - I suspect she was sucked in and has clogged the fuel-air injection area... ANY SUGGESTIONS (other than expensive repairs)? Thanks in advance!

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

      Glad to hear you found a solution.

    • profile image

      GeorgeJohn243 2 years ago

      I had rodent accessing my truck when left in the garage while in Arizona. First winter my truck was damaged, next year I tried the home remedies on the Lexus, nothing but gnawing results. The past three years I installed an item called the Rodent Diverter System or R.D.S. for short. Best $49.95 plus shipping & handling I ever spent. Bought it direct from the inventor, he only needs the vehicle tire size. Works on all vehicle axle configurations including aircraft.

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

      Thanks for the comment, Saharian. It sounds lie you got off pretty easy. Hope the suggestions help prevent additional damage.

    • Saharian profile image

      Saharian 2 years ago from Wyoming

      My mechanic told me that making sure I run my car once a week during the harsh Wyoming winters should solve the problem. I just had to get 6" of wire replaced. I was lucky that the damage wasn't worse. Thanks for the additional ideas to prevent this from happening again!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      That might work. It sounds like a big project, but it might turn into an idea that can keep them out. I'm sure a lot of people would like to know how it works for you. In the meantime, you might try a couple of the other suggestions.

    • profile image

      Al 2 years ago

      My handicap van was in the shop for several weeks and had thousands of dollars of damage and all of it is still not fixed. Being on a fixed disability income I cannot afford it. I am thinking about having a hardware cloth cage made for my front 2 tires and electrocuting them. I live in the city so I have to make sure it is clearly marked. If I were in the country I would make a cage using 3' tall 1/4" square hardware cloth that my car would fit inside leaving an opening to drive in and openings for the doors. I would close that cage tight and wire it with a 110 or 220-volt charge. Make sure there was no way to crawl under it and the openings in the back and on the sides were TIGHT so they wouldn't squirm through. No matter if they tried to get out or go in that would be the last thing they did. Make sure it is clearly marked on all sides so people would be aware of it. That is a fool proof way of making sure they don't bother your car again.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      What a scary experience. I'm sure there have been some tragedies caused by such damage. The repair bill was a shock in itself. I hope your insurance covers it-- make sure they get copies of the pictures. Glad to hear there were no injuries, and good luck in your extermination program.

    • profile image

      I hate rats 2 years ago

      Recently, my brakes went out as I was driving into work. I had my foot floored and still wouldn't stop. Luckily I wasn't going fast and used the emergency brake to stop the car. I had the car towed and come to find out I have over $1,500 worth of rat damage to my BMW. Chewed through the main line through my brake booster hose, ate through the coolant hose. Once the mechanic took apart the intake manifold found that it chewed up and destroyed other wiring. I have seen the pictures of the nests from the insulation in my car along with the mounds of rat poop. The mechanic says it reeks of urine under my hood. I cannot afford to have this happen again. I will try to have insurance cover this and make sure the traps are inside my garage, as well as the front of my house. I officially hate rodents. This is no laughing matter. Thankfully I didn't get in an accident and hurt anyone else as a cause of these pesky rodents.

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

      Thanks-- though I think it is actually a pack rat. Not sure.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      A lot of people like the peppermint oil deterrent. It can be effective for certain species, and at least it makes your car smell good. You need to remember to apply the oil on a regular basis, as the scent will dissipate. Between the kitties and the peppermint, you are on the right track.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      I used to live in the country and mice were a very real issue. Our kitties helped out tremendously though in the home. Now that I am in town we have never had any trouble with these pests but I have been reading a lot of online articles. One technique that I was very thrilled to see was simply putting out cotton balls dipped in peppermint oil. I guess they just cannot stand the smell so I really like that suggestion. Natural and would smell great to us but not the rodents.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      You're lucky they didn't like your wiring system. A little prevention could be well worth your time-- especially since you have seen evidence of their presence.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 2 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Some really good ideas. I have seen "indications" that they have visited, but so far no nesting. Did have a car where they were eating the air filter. I thought I was just at their mercy, but now you have provided some options to deter them.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      I think you are going to have to construct a comprehensive strategy. It may involve getting a professional exterminator involved.

      If all of the fork lifts are housed in one location, you might have to concentrate on 'mouse-proofing' the garage.

      Sometimes it depends on what type of rodent you have. If you try ultrasonic repellers on one area and traps and bait in in other, you might get a clue about what works best in your situation.

      If it mainly wiring, sometimes the stuff you can spray on the wires helps.- you have to keep spraying consistently until they give up. ( Speaking of 'spending a mint"-- peppermint oil might be worth a try-- it seems to work for some.)

      Scan the possibilities listed in the article and try a few. Good luck.

      It is a frustrating battle, but hopefully you will find the right answer for your situattion

    • profile image

      service tech 2 years ago

      I am having a similar problem with mice but its not with my car its with my custumers fork lifts.l am inhouse at large company with over a 100 various fork lift. The mice are camping out inside the lifts after hours and chewing on the wire, these are eletric fork lift and can be hard to troubleshoot. I have tried moth bolls, mouse magic

      Pillows and dryer sheets.so far nothen has worked and its costing

      The customer a mint on repair.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
      Author

      Rochelle Frank 2 years ago from California Gold Country

      Sorry to hear about your problem-- so bad, especially when it is your Pride-and-joy new car. Some people have found peppermint oil to be a good solution. Seeing that you had a stinky problem, it might help in more ways in one. Make sure you reapply the oil frequently.

      I would strongly recommend that you use at least two methods for awhile, especially since you may have rodents that know where your car lives.The little beasties are so sneaky, you never know they are there until the damage is done.

      Wishing you the best.

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      Brittany 2 years ago

      I have a 2014 Mazda 3. Today when I went to start it for work after I turned it on it smelled like rotten eggs REALLY bad. That was my first clue. Then I put it in reverse to get out of my garage and my car started sputtering and dying out. I was so mad, it's literally an 8 month old car!!! So I got it towed to Mazda and got my rental for the day. I followed up with them around noon and that's when they told me. A rodent (probably a rat) made a giant nest in my engine and ate a bunch of stuff to the point if disabling my car from driving. 300$ later I'm about to pick my car up nice a fixed. I will not be parking anywhere near my garage tonight though and will try the peppermint oil. They better not come back. :( I should probably warn my neighbor so they don't try to move on to his car. I didn't even know this problem existed until today. So annoying.

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

      You may have gotten off easy if they only need to replace some tubing. Make sure you look over the suggestions and get some defenses in place.

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      Lisa 2 years ago

      I have a 2011 Acadia Danali... I came in today and my car smelt like Antifreeze leaking...I carried some things in the house and came back out...My car started pouring out fluids that was antifreeze...We popped the Hood and under the Motor Mount cover..Mice has been in my car...Tearing up my Insulation and starting to make a nest...I have it in the shop and hope and pray that they haven't done too much Damage.. I am assuming that is why my antifreeze was leaking out..Everything else seems to be okay and No lights are on..

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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      I suspect they would have similar effects on all rodents, but you might want to consult the labels or the manufacturer of specific products to see what they say. Some of them are based on the urine (or equivalent odor) of predator species like fox or coyote. One would assume that squirrels and chipmunks would be as alarmed about the proximity of these hunters as mice are. Other products base their 'recipes' on strong essential oils which apparently repel critters with sensitive noses.

      One thing that people have suggested when using the repellents, is that they must be reapplied on a regular basis.

    • Powerline profile image

      Powerline Auto Recyclers 3 years ago from Seymour, MO

      Do these mouse/rat repellents work on squirrels/chipmunks as well? I had a Volvo wagon sitting during the Winter and in the Spring there were nests in the glove box, under the rear carpet, in the engine bay where they'd chewed through much of the wiring. Luckily most was just for the windshield washer reservoir and coolant reservoir.. Which is right next to the engine computer harness, but that is all protected by plastic shielding which they left alone.

      Took about a week to fix everything, but would have cost most people hundreds for rewiring.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      The rodent wars are ongoing in all corners of the world, it seems.

    • londonaccountants profile image

      Goringe Accountants 3 years ago from London, UK

      Ruined the engine of an Audi S3 I had years ago in London. Rats loved keeping warm under the bonnet and chewing the cables whilst they were there!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks, Rick. It has apparently been one of the helpful suggestions.

    • Rick Suddes profile image

      Rick Suddes 3 years ago

      Spray Rataway Fragrance to protect your car engine, home, business....

      safe around children & pets.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Mouseblocker seems to be effective for many people. The soy coating does seem to be tasty to mice-- I agree that they should use something that actually protects the wires from rodents, rather than attracting them.

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      Pam 3 years ago

      I have a 2006 Dodge Ram. 2 1/2 yrs ago had my first mouse problem....had to have a new wiring harness. Dodge dealer service said it was cause the wires are now coated in silicone or soya and the mice love it. Since then, I have had 5 more occasions of wiring problems due to these darling critters.....very expensive. Doesn't matter if I park outside or in the garage....I've tried pure peppermint oil (bought it by the quart) and have to spray every couple of days or the smell dissapates (sp). Every mechanic I have talked to is aware of the problems of the coatings on the wires.....somebody should do something about it. I have read all the posts here and am going to try the mouseblocker...if that doesn't work...going to sell the truck...PS I have a 2006 Chev Trailblazer they haven't touched. (knock on wood)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Hope the ideas help. Many of the suggestions from reader comments are in my newer hub here: https://axleaddict.com/auto-repair/Getting-Rid-of-...

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      Imtiaz Ahmed 3 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      That's a great problem. Mice in car committing suicide in the car engine and making their nest. And you just showed how to get relief from the problem Rochelle Frank.

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      Alisa 3 years ago

      This is the time of year when cats not infrequently get sliced and diced by the fanbelt when you start your still warm engine after parking it for a few hours. Many outdoor cats have discovered that the warm engine bay of a recently parked car is a nice place to escape from the winter’s cold for a few hours. Then when you start your car, catastrophe! But installing an underpanel keeps cats out of your engine bay, gives you faster warm up times, reduces your car’s aerodynamic drag, and keeps the mud and salt out so you can keep a cleaner engine.

    • Mickey Perreaud profile image

      Mickey Perreaud 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      The rid.a.rat is also electronic and is 100% guaranteed there is no need to have a mechanic install it. There is a video if anyone has questions. Simple to install takes less than 5 minutes.

      It gets great reviews on Amazon and is used in the Tonto National Forrest Preserve.

      They needed a method to keep their cars and trucks safe without killing wildlife.

      The device works on the acting of the eye towards light and makes the area inhospitable to the rodent.

      Rid.a. rat is a small private company that ships 1,000 of units around the world every year.

      Calling a device electronic only says only how it gets power. It does not say how it works...

      Kyle

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      Matt39 3 years ago

      yes Rochelle, they wired it to the battery in the car. The dealer stated they had many success stories and we were desperate so we had it installed. Very happy that we did and happy to share our success to such a crazy problem.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Is the mouse blocker and electronic device?

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      Matt39 3 years ago

      I have to assume your Audi is very similar to the VW's and per recommendation from our dealer we installed a mouse blocker a couple years ago and found it to have solved our problem. I can only speak from experience with our vehicle however we did not try other deterrents because this has been working for us since having it installed. Good luck with yours.

    • Mickey Perreaud profile image

      Mickey Perreaud 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      This is not spaming go to the rid.a.rat.com web site and read in. Als0 you need to clean up the area were the car is being parked. Raise the vegetation from the ground not to leave hiding places. Get a black light and check if they are marking the area with urine. Many times critters will mark their turf letting others know it is a safe area. If urine is found spray with deodorant enzymes. They can be found near the kitty litter. Spray area of car with a mixture of Pinesol and eater 50-50 mix.

      Put our live traps like a Harv a Heart. If worse comes to worse use glue boards. You have to get ride of the critters.

      Kyle

    • Lanny Poffo profile image

      Lanny Poffo 3 years ago from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

      My wife's car (Audi) has had the wiring underneath her car chewed up twice while my vehicle (Jeep) had been unharmed. Any guess to what we can do to stop the mice/squirrels/rabbits from doing this damage?

    • Mickey Perreaud profile image

      Mickey Perreaud 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I always recommend a multi approach due to the fact that Mama rodent keeps popping them out faster than fast. Rid-A-Rat has been tested on numerous types of rodents and works. The technology affects the eye and makes the area hostile to the rodents. I recommend using a Have A Heart live trap and relocating the rodent.

      It can be terrible if you kill your favorite hunting dog or the neighbors cat using poison.

      My last post must have gotten a veto. I don't see it here. We have hard core fact that this product works. Patent pending....we do not pay for advertising so we don't get talked about only word of mouth. Rid-A-Rat is also being use by several car dealers. We have major rodent problems in the South West but it is amazing that this seems to be a world wide problem.

    • Mickey Perreaud profile image

      Mickey Perreaud 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Rid-a Rat works and is a proven method! If you Google ultrasonic devices you can find that they were "told" buy the government to stop claiming it works. Rid-A-Rat works on a new Hi tek system using lights. It is sold in Tucson Az and hardware stores and almost every garage. They have a may were they are sold. They are very helpful.

      Moth balls are poisonous and dangerous to use. Poisons can kill natural predators if the sick animal is eaten.

      I have been asked so I am posting the web site. They ship all over the world...Rid-A-Rat.com If you call them they are very friendly.

      The product works on rabbits, squirrels and rats.

      Kyle

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      I think everyone has to use the method which works best for each individual situation. What works for one person ( or one type of rodent) may not work for another. For a severe problem, some people recommend a two prong approach, for instance a deterrent or repellent and traps. Many people will resort to poisons, but these can also be dangerous to pets and other wildlife. I hope you find an effective solution.

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      Samar 3 years ago

      It is reassuring to know that strobe lights are successfully used as repellant. Unfortunately such device is not available here and I will be thankful to Mr. Perreaud if he provide some detail so that I can try to import the same. Thanks.

    • Mickey Perreaud profile image

      Mickey Perreaud 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      There are several studies proving the ultra sonic doesn't work, along with a government warning to stop saying they work. We put a Rid-a-Rat in the car that we got at our local hardware store and it helped. I also read all of the instructions. They took longer to read than to put the device in.

      Rid-A-Rat is a strobe the runs off the car batteries. It's already invented. They say it works 99% of the time with a money back guarantee. I am very happy with it and don't have rodent chewing my cars wires any more. Kyle

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      It seems there are many ideas-- not everything works for everyone.

      Especially if you have a severe problem, a combination of approaches may be the best avenue of attack.

      Thank you, so much, for adding another weapon to the arsenal which might be helpful.

      The tiny critters are very persistent, and the war goes on.

    • profile image

      Samar 3 years ago

      I wrote here about 5 months back. tried many ideas from this blog. unfortunately, still did not find full proof solution.

      Has anybody tried high intensity strobe light at regular interval, placed under the hood? May help. I am devising such gadget and I will post the result.

      Thanks.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      That's a new one, but it might work, (nothing, it seems, works 100% for everyone) but strong smelling things often discourage rodents. The soap in the pads is likely to remain in place for a time, so it could be a good deterrent.

      Thanks for adding to the list.

    • Mickey Perreaud profile image

      Mickey Perreaud 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Check out rid-a-rat. I found it in a hardware store and it is working great for keeping the rats out of my car.

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      Sam 3 years ago

      The guy at my dealership recommended using Brillo pads to place beneath the hood. Any thoughts or better proven solution? Thanks!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      A lot of people think the acoustic, electric repellers work-- it may depend upon the particular rodent or area. Look over the comments, A two - method approach may be a solution.

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      fmouse 3 years ago

      Our problem is Squirrels, the brown ones that we have here in Central Texas. I've had now three different wiring repair jobs, two of which were done by professional mechanics at cost close to $300, and have no idea how to stop the pests, other than to permanently give up using the car port which the squirrels seem to know is where I park my truck. Does anyone have any positive experience with:

      * "Stop The Rodent" commercial anti-rodent spray

      * Paradichlorobenzine (moth balls - very toxic vapors)

      * Acoustic pest repellers

      I've seen all of these recommended, but don't know if the recommendations are plugs or real reviews. I also have a 22 rifle and am about ready to start exterminating the little bastards, which I'd rather not do. Help!!!

      Damn tree rats!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      I understand your frustration, and your thoughts about all-out war on squirrels. Hope you find something that works.

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      levie 3 years ago

      Well I've read almost everyone story and decided I'm gonna try them all. This squirrel has cut into my 2013 Ford edge engine brought in some pretty clean white feathers cut all wires that were in it's way engine check lit up 2.400bucs,while I get that fix I get a rental Ford escape park different spot, wake up get ready to go to work that's right you kno brake light low fluid look under Hood early stage tearing at Hood liner and for sure brake wire's, the two squirrels in the middle of the road no linger funny

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      That's great! another success story-- and very economical.

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      TomRy 3 years ago from USA

      Yes, mine left right away after I put dryer sheets under my hood.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      I've heard others say that this is a good solution. It's good that you found somrthing that works for you.

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      Disha 3 years ago

      I use and recommend Ultrasonic repellent with multiple frequencies which can be connected to car battery. It is working fine for me.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Yes. i have heard the soybean theory. It seems that some people think soy and corn plastics might be ecologically better than using petroleum based products. I'm sure the mice like it better. It is interesting that you mentioned the unmolested Honda-- as that seems (according to comments) to be a make that is more prone to rodent attack. Good luck with your battle-- both the mice and the auto company.

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      Joe Stephenson 3 years ago

      I just got a new 2014 BMW. Before it had gone 1000 miles it started throwing a code saying that it needed an oil change--at 200 miles. The dealer found the problem, a chewed wire that caused the code. The cost of repair was $142. A Honda Element is parked next to the BMW and it has not been attacked by mix. My surfing as uncovered many accounts saying that carmakers have gone to insulation made from soy or corn protein, claiming that they are trying to be environmentally sensitive. It probably has more to do with cost cutting.

      I feel that BMW should make repairs for free and should replace the damaged wiring, which may not be possible. But, in any case I don't feel that I should continue to pay the cost repairing a poorly designed car. I love the car, but I can't afford to pay for constant repairs.

      Joe

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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      It's amazing how much damage they can do before we notice. I would recommend trying multiple suggestions-- all at once. A lot of people think the electronic gadgets work, but others think the old-fashioned snap trap is still best.

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      E Davis1 3 years ago

      Just found out from Toyota Service that pack rats have been chewing the insulation in my 2013 Toyota Camry! We live out by the desert which is full of wildlife. I'm not sure how much it will be to replace it but service tech said it's expensive & could be around $400 or $500! Glad I found this doing Internet search. Will try the cotton balls with peppermint oil.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      It is very maddening to have all that technology destroyed by a little mouse. I'm glad you discovered the culprit. Good luck.

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      MrsSchneck 3 years ago

      We have a 2012 Range Rover Evoque that completely shut down on us after a few days of the navigation and heated seats not working. I could not even get into the vehicle nor under the hood because my doors are touch activated. It was towed to the dealership, where I was told a few days later it was a frayed wire. Thinking nothing of mice, I was glad the problem was fixed.

      A few days ago I left two bags of dog food in the trunk. When I went to retrieve the food I found shavings and crumbs leading away from the bag with a mouse size hole in the bag. I then knew I had a very bad problem. I found the nest last night in the glovebox. There was a bucket full of food not only dog food, but gold fish crackers and various other snack food as I have children who regularly eat in my car. Along with the food there was car insulation, and other things to make a happy home.

      I replaced the food for peanut buttered mouse traps. I will be looking into other forms of deterrents!! The war has begun! Thanks for all your tips, I hope something pans out!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image
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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      Thanks for your hub-support, torrilynn. Those tiny rodents can get into garages too-- but it depends on the the size and kind of varmint population in a particular area. They do like vehicles that stay in place for awhile, especially in rural locations.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 3 years ago

      I never knew that rodents and mice could get into your car. I guess I've never experienced it or seen it for myself. this hub reminds me to check on my car which is in the garage broken down for the moment. voted up and pinned.

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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      You are right, Tom. The cats and dogs have to be of a certain disposition to be hunters. Disturbing the rodent habitat can certainly stir things up.

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      Rochelle Frank 3 years ago from California Gold Country

      What a headache. I hope you can convince your insurance to pay.

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      Linda 3 years ago

      Live in TX on coast. My Toyota Avalon is in shop because of rat/s. parts are back ordered three weeks. Those parts cost $4500. There are more parts. Will be lucky to get it fixed for $8000. Comprehensive insurance covers damage less deductible. I will have been without use of it a week today. This is a BIG problem and consumer advocates should address it. Even your agent or adjustor will say "I've never heard of such a thing!". Your mechanic will tell you he sees 10 or more vehicles a year with this damage. I read that the cost of rodent repairs in th US cost $1 billion in 2012. I just hope I feel the car will be safe to drive after all this.

    • Tom Schumacher profile image

      Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

      Yeah, I had a past experience with mice getting into my car engine and my house when a developer purchased a raw piece of land that bordered my lot. After scraping the property clean, to prepare it for building, all kinds of rodents and inspects fled for safer environments. To say the least, it was a costly and somewhat protracted nightmare to remedy. As for cats and dogs making a difference… not in my situation; in fact, I still think new friendships were formed in which food and shelter was shared without prejudice.