Rat's nesting material in car compartment

Ever parked your car for a while, just to return and discover that it’s been damaged? It’s a frustrating experience that many of us have gone through. While we might immediately assume that the destruction was caused by a vandal or a careless driver, there’s another potential culprit that often goes unnoticed: rodents. Particularly in the winter months, rats and mice may nest in your vehicle as a way to escape the cold. From frayed wiring to chewed-up seat cushions, rodents could be the hidden cause of damage in your vehicle. 

How to Tell if Rodents Are Destroying Your Car

Rodents can cause a surprising amount of harm to your vehicle, and unfortunately, it can be difficult to know when they are infesting your car until it’s too late. By the time you notice the signs of rodent activity, they may have already chewed through important wiring or built a nest in your engine compartment. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant and watch for these signs of a rodent infestation in your car:

  • Mechanical failure: Your engine compartment is warm, sheltered, and easily accessible for rodents. If they enter and start chewing on important wiring, they could prevent your car from starting or functioning properly. Frayed wires could also pose a fire hazard, which could make your vehicle unsafe to operate.
  • Damaged upholstery: The upholstery in your car makes for the perfect nesting material. Holes and bite marks throughout your interior are early signs that rodents have made their way into your car.
  • Droppings: Droppings are a telltale sign of an infestation. If you find these in your car – particularly along the floor, seat, or dashboard – then rats or mice have likely found their way inside.
  • Musty odors: Rodents often travel through the air vents and engine compartment, which can fill your entire vehicle with a musty and unpleasant smell. Even if you don’t notice signs of these pests in your car’s interior, a strong odor could indicate a hidden infestation.
  • Rat or mouse nest: If your car has been empty for a long time, then rodents may have had enough time to build an entire nest. They often choose to live inside of the engine compartment or airbox, since these are warm and protected areas. Check those two spots for droppings, nesting materials, or other signs of an infestation. 

How to Keep Rats and Mice Out of Your Vehicle

It doesn’t take long for rodents to cause serious damage to a car. By gnawing on important wires and hoses, they could cause costly destruction and make your vehicle unsafe to use. The good news is that there are a few steps you can take to prevent these pests from sneaking into your car in the first place:

  • Park in a protected garage if possible
  • Keep all windows and doors closed
  • Remove any food or trash from your vehicle
  • Store bird seed, pet food, or other edible items away from the car
  • Tidy up any landscaping near your parking spot
  • Regularly check on your vehicle for signs of an infestation

What to Do if You Find Rodents in Your Car

Discovering rodents in your car can be a major headache. Not only can they cause serious damage to your vehicle, but they can also pose a health risk if they are carrying diseases or parasites. If you’ve found evidence of rodents in your car, follow these steps to prevent further damage and protect your health:

  • Get a professional mechanical inspection: It’s unsafe to drive a vehicle with damaged wiring. However, it can be difficult to identify this type of damage without extensive mechanical experience. Before turning on your vehicle, get a thorough inspection to check for internal rodent damage.
  • Remove all food sources: Remove any food or food debris from your car, including any trash. Rodents are attracted to food sources, so removing them will discourage rodents from sticking around.
  • Clean your car: Vacuum your car thoroughly to remove any crumbs, dirt or debris that may have accumulated. Wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant cleaner, paying special attention to areas where you found evidence of rodents, such as nests or droppings.
  • Turn up the heat: Rodents choose to nest in cozy places, so excessive heat may draw them out of your car. Try rolling up the windows and placing your vehicle in direct sunlight; the extra warmth may encourage the pests to exit and move on. 
  • Honk your horn or use repellants: A sudden loud noise may be enough to scare rats or mice out of your vehicle. You could also try using a natural repellent inside the cabin, such as peppermint oil, to get the rodents to leave.

If you find that you are unable to remove the rodents from your car or are uncomfortable doing so, contact the experts at Magic Exterminating! With over 62 years of experience as the leading pest control company in Flushing NY, we have the tools and expertise needed to provide you with excellent pest management solutions. Our goal is to give you 100% peace of mind by protecting your property from pests through ongoing prevention, removal, and exclusion. To get rodents out of your car fast, give us a call today and get your free quote!

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