How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

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Topic Author
Kennedy
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How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Kennedy »

I sustained $1100 damage to a car due to a rodent chewing wires related to the engine. This car was parked outside. I've read suggestions for using fox urine or sulfur to deter rodents in the future, but thought I would check here to see if anyone has first-hand experience.

I am unable to put this particular car in the garage right now as the college kids are home and the garages are full. Any thoughts?
livesoft
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by livesoft »

How often was the car driven? Why not have the college kids drive this car?

I haven't driven in a couple of weeks, maybe I should go drive my car today?
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pwill112
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by pwill112 »

Had the same problem. Within 5 weeks of fixing it for about $1200 it happened again. So I was in for $2400.

I sold the car as quickly as possible.

The car with the problem was an Audi. I have a Mercedes and Toyota parked in the driveway with no problems.

It has to do with the material used to cover the wires.
Topic Author
Kennedy
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Kennedy »

livesoft wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:36 pm How often was the car driven? Why not have the college kids drive this car?

I haven't driven in a couple of weeks, maybe I should go drive my car today?
The car actually hadn't been driven in two weeks. I guess I figured that a rodent would be more attracted to a "freshly-driven" car with a warm engine rather than one that is cold, but perhaps driving it occasionally would dislodge a rodent that was starting to set up shop?
bubbadog
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by bubbadog »

Bounce dryer sheets
Jack FFR1846
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Don't buy a Toyota. They use soy based insulation with is a very green thing to do because.......animals can eat it and it won't hurt them.

Get the kids' crap out of the garage and put the car in there. I use a kitty litter tray under my rolling tool chest. Big animals can't get in but something like a mouse can. What's in the tray? Anti freeze. If they fall in, they drown. If they don't, it's sweet and they drink it and then end up dead in the middle of the garage floor.

Also, remove any large plastic cosmetic engine covers. Especially if they are insulated on the bottom, they become huge sources of nest material.

Open the hood now and then. If you see any signs of animals like acorns or leaves or pine needles or insulation, vacuum it up. If you remove the start of a nest, maybe they'll look elsewhere.
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Woodshark
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Woodshark »

It easiest is to throw some moth balls under the car. If it was me I would buy a cheap pair of nylon hose and put the moth balls it that to make pouch that you could hang in the engine compartment and remove as needed.

Another option is to spray everything with "Bitter Apple Spray". It is a strong bitter that deters almost anything that chews.
fourwheelcycle
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by fourwheelcycle »

Kennedy wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:34 pm I sustained $1100 damage to a car due to a rodent chewing wires related to the engine. This car was parked outside.
You're lucky. My first experience cost $1,100 (wires only) and my second experience cost $3,200 (wires plus engine control module). I had a $1,000 insurance deductible for both episodes. I did not file a claim for the first episode, but I did file for the second one. No increase in my insurance rates. I think they consider mice to be a no fault occurrence.

Finally, we had our carport torn down and replaced it with a fully enclosed garage. We try to keep the garage doors closed!
Chuck
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Chuck »

There are actual products for this exact application. Rodent-repellent sprays and tape for automotive application. You can search them up on your favorite Internet commerce site.
Boglegirl81
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Boglegirl81 »

My family has used Irish Spring soap bars to deter rats. As far as I know, it has worked rather well although I’m not exactly sure where they set it.
DetroitRick
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by DetroitRick »

Just picked up wife's 2020 RAV4 from dealer body shop this week. $1,560 mouse damage. They had to pull the dash, replaced evaporator core, replaced lower duct, disassembled and cleaned blower motor, and more. No wires, just air system in our case.

This is pretty common, across lots of brands, and it's not just because of the pandemic. Most vehicles will have multiple entry points and those suckers climb.

Our vehicle was garaged and I've used multiple methods to try and prevent future episodes - removed all possible hiding places, crack-filled (steel wool), mouse traps (6 traps, 2 kills in the past 3 weeks) and finally smell deterrents. Smell-wise, every pseudo-expert I've talked to has suggested things like Irish Spring, Bounce, etc. We're using both and can't yet say what works. Fox urine is pretty effective against outside pests in general - I've used it in the garden. In cases where mothballs had little effect. Hadn't thought of it for car, but might be worth trying. Recalling the smell, I wouldn't want it where my car could pick up the scent. So that would be the challenge - it's pretty bad. Where I've used it successfully outside, it has to be replenished often to keep smell strong too. Easy to buy, somewhat expensive (but then I wouldn't want to chase those critters myself with the squeeze bottle...).

You didn't ask, but many auto insurers cover this via comprehensive. Talking to our claims adjusters and some local body shops, this happens a lot across many makes and models. Sometimes wiring, sometimes hvac, etc. In our case, two Toyotas parked side-by-side - one touched, one untouched.

Best of luck. You are in good company.

Edited to add: One other chemical that has come highly recommended is peppermint oil. Both from our body shop guys and in doing some online searches. Can't prove or disprove, and some folks say otherwise, but we're using that near our cars too at the moment.
Last edited by DetroitRick on Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
HomeStretch
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by HomeStretch »

+1 to the mothballs. I have the same issue with wires in a car in the driveway and a pool heater. Mothballs helped a lot.
likegarden
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by likegarden »

In my garden I use rat poison pellets within a pipe. That helps. Could you tie a fine net (or a tray when you don't drive) with poison pellets under the hood?
mkc
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by mkc »

Please don't use mouse/rat poisons. Rodenticides are causing a serious secondary poisoning issue for family pets and beneficial predators (like hawks and owls) who catch and eat the now-poisoned mouse. (Google secondary rodenticide poisoning)

Honda makes a capsaicin-containing electrical tape specifically for this purpose. Google Honda rodent tape.

Bounce, Irish Spring, etc. are generally anecdotal old wives' tales (ask many RVers). One repellant that does work is Fresh Cab sachets, which you can buy at places like Tractor Supply and Rural King, or direct from EarthKind.
regularguy455
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by regularguy455 »

Chipper dipper?
SGM
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by SGM »

I have had a problem with metal and rubber tubing containing gasoline which apparently has a sweet taste. Bounce and Irish Spring soap works.
I heard human hair clippings and urine helps.
Pandemic Bangs
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Pandemic Bangs »

DetroitRick wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:15 pm
Our vehicle was garaged and I've used multiple methods to try and prevent future episodes -
No help to the OP but if you garage, google "bucket trap" if you are not familiar with this. It's amazing.
Wait 'til I get my money right | Then you can't tell me nothing, right?
DetroitRick
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by DetroitRick »

That's just ingenious. No, I hadn't seen that until your post. This solves the pet/mousetrap danger I have too. Thanks.

Actually, it might be useful to the op. An outside trap that won't hurt pets in the area. With the caveat that it's too cold right now where I live. But I'm going to give a try in April or so, because I'd rather have a couple of these near my cars than the regular traps. I can't use the antifreeze trick to prevent water freeze - because of danger to non-mice (antifreeze can easily be deadly). Otherwise I'd just be making them a skating rink for the next few months :sharebeer .

Cool tip - thanks.
rebellovw
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by rebellovw »

I have this problem with my Toyota Land Cruiser - so the it can happen with any car. I park my car in a different spot - as my drive way has a large bush full of various wildlife just next to it.

It is parked on the street now - I drive it much more often and check on it constantly. I use lots of duct tape'd poison bars strategically placed all around the engine compartment. Yeah - I know it is wrong - but there is nothing else I can do.


So far so good. Irish spring doesn't do anything - hasn't helped. Removing the engine cover is a great idea and we have done that. You definitely need to move the car to a better location - hopefully you have one - and drive it often.
z91
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by z91 »

There's more of this happening now as many restaurants are closed, rats have no source of food in commercial areas so they come out to residential areas to wreck havoc.
Ykcor
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Ykcor »

I think I read somewhere that some auto companies used a plant based substrate like soybeans to manufacture the wire covering instead of petroleum based covering. This was an effort to be environmentally friendlier. I saw this on the internet so it has to me true. lol
Teague
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Teague »

Keep the hood propped open a few inches. This messes with their safe haven / dark burrow experience and they will leave 1 star reviews for their friends.
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ScooterBob
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by ScooterBob »

We have a neighborhood cat that has been using the flowerbeds around our house as a litterbox since last Fall. I am happy to deal with this right now since there have been NO critters lurking since. We usually have tons of chipmunks and they are very destructive. My new neighbor actually feeds them-I've warned her of the destruction to no avail. We keep the cars in a tightly sealed garage and keep the door down- especially in the evening. So far, so good. My old car most likely has normal wiring coverings but the Camry is probably a feast in waiting. I won't discourage the cat....

Bob
Bcdkgf
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Bcdkgf »

This happened to our Prius four years ago that was being parked outside the garage. We adopted a cat and threw out all the bird feeders. The mice were grabbing the seed and storing it near the wiring harness. We also cleaned out the garage and are now parking the car inside. Problem solved.
JBTX
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by JBTX »

I bought a couple of these.

Angveirt Plug-in Rodent Repeller Mouse Repellent Ultrasonic Mice Electronic Repeller Humane Mouse Trap Substitute Pest Control with Ultrasounds Sonic Sounds Impulse Waves for Attic Garage Basement

Ultimately also need to do all you can to seal entry points to the garage, and get exterminator grade bait stations outside to reduce the population.
Last edited by JBTX on Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jlawrence01
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by jlawrence01 »

Comments:

1) Store NO food in the car. Candy in the console and glove compartment attract mice.
2) Honda sells capsaicin laden tape that will discourage repeat performances.
3) Don't kill the local snakes in the area. Where you have snakes, you have a rodent population under control.
4) Clean out the junk in you carport and garage that provide shelter to rodents.
5) Large night light under the car.
6) Coyote urine and cedar chips also work.

Most of the rodent infestations that I have seen have been when the cars sit for days undriven.
H-Town
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by H-Town »

Kennedy wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:34 pm I sustained $1100 damage to a car due to a rodent chewing wires related to the engine. This car was parked outside. I've read suggestions for using fox urine or sulfur to deter rodents in the future, but thought I would check here to see if anyone has first-hand experience.

I am unable to put this particular car in the garage right now as the college kids are home and the garages are full. Any thoughts?
We’re happy to have our neighborhood cats patrolling.
michaelingp
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by michaelingp »

Kennedy wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:43 pm
The car actually hadn't been driven in two weeks. I guess I figured that a rodent would be more attracted to a "freshly-driven" car with a warm engine rather than one that is cold, but perhaps driving it occasionally would dislodge a rodent that was starting to set up shop?
Somehow they know. I never had a problem with my own cars until Covid and one of our cars (a Honda) was almost never driven (say once a month). They got in and mostly tore up the fiberglass mat on the underside of the hood. Fortunately, they did not eat any wires. The only other time I had a problem was when my brother stored his Camry at our house. That car wasn't driven for months, and the same results. The recent incident kind of freaked me out because we have a motorhome that's also rarely driven. I got one of those ultra-sonic, light flashing gizmos and mounted it on the underside of the hood. It's a hassle because the batteries only last a month or so. So far, no problems, but that's not saying much since I didn't really expect any critters before.
illumination
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by illumination »

I've read much of this phenomenon going into overdrive is the push to automakers for "green" wiring components that decompose better and are soy based. The side effect being they are more attractive to rodents. I've also had the problem, fortunately it was something I was able to fix without tearing the car apart.

I would just make sure you have the perimeter of your property lined with poison bait traps, I've found them to be really effective at keeping the population down. Some people have an issue with these, but if I didn't use them, my property would be overrun with rats. Make sure your garage is sealed up tight. Inside your garage, you may want to have baited spring loaded mouse traps with peanut butter on them tucked away in an area that's safe to check frequently.
Monsterflockster
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Monsterflockster »

OP, get a cat.
TT
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by TT »

Kennedy wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 4:34 pm I sustained $1100 damage to a car due to a rodent chewing wires related to the engine. This car was parked outside. I've read suggestions for using fox urine or sulfur to deter rodents in the future, but thought I would check here to see if anyone has first-hand experience.

I am unable to put this particular car in the garage right now as the college kids are home and the garages are full. Any thoughts?
My house is in the middle of a large meadow so there is no shortage of field mice.
I had a similar issue as one parking space in my garage is reserved for my Ford tractor. I resolved the issue with a low small box, small spring trap baited with a small amount of peanut butter. After 3 dead mice must be the word got out not to go in the Subaru. I also had them gain entry to my garage from the smallest space between the bottom of the side of the overhead door and the rail. Set two traps on each side of the doors and problem solved. I was fortunate as they seemed to only chew my cabin air filters.
Stumptowngal
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Stumptowngal »

Our 2017 Subaru Impreza parked in the driveway was constantly having a rat problem under the hood. Fortunately the wires weren’t eaten but they left a lot of droppings. We tried so many of the often mentioned remedies like peppermint oil, noise emitting gadgets placed under the car, Irish Spring soap and more.

I don’t think any of them had a big effect. Finally we tried placing mothballs in strategic locations and that seems to have totally fixed the problem. It was a bit of an overwhelming odor the first few times we drove the car but the result was worth it.

For some reason our 2019 Rav4 has never had a problem.
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Kennedy
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Kennedy »

Stumptowngal wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:59 am Our 2017 Subaru Impreza parked in the driveway was constantly having a rat problem under the hood. Fortunately the wires weren’t eaten but they left a lot of droppings. We tried so many of the often mentioned remedies like peppermint oil, noise emitting gadgets placed under the car, Irish Spring soap and more.

I don’t think any of them had a big effect. Finally we tried placing mothballs in strategic locations and that seems to have totally fixed the problem. It was a bit of an overwhelming odor the first few times we drove the car but the result was worth it.

For some reason our 2019 Rav4 has never had a problem.
Do you need to place the mothballs inside the engine, or is just putting some underneath the car on the ground below the engine enough of a deterrent?
TT
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by TT »

Kennedy wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 1:19 am
Stumptowngal wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:59 am Our 2017 Subaru Impreza parked in the driveway was constantly having a rat problem under the hood. Fortunately the wires weren’t eaten but they left a lot of droppings. We tried so many of the often mentioned remedies like peppermint oil, noise emitting gadgets placed under the car, Irish Spring soap and more.

I don’t think any of them had a big effect. Finally we tried placing mothballs in strategic locations and that seems to have totally fixed the problem. It was a bit of an overwhelming odor the first few times we drove the car but the result was worth it.

For some reason our 2019 Rav4 has never had a problem.
Do you need to place the mothballs inside the engine, or is just putting some underneath the car on the ground below the engine enough of a deterrent?
I would not use Moth Balls is any location that subjects you to inhale the vapors that are released as the solids constantly evaporate. Naphthalene is toxic.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3850774/
coalcracker
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by coalcracker »

Is this problem regional or specific to rural areas?

I have lived in a small towns and cities in the northeast US my whole life and have never heard of a friend or family member with this issue in my 40 years.
chuckb84
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by chuckb84 »

This is a big problem around here. After some research, I put these on both cars:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D2 ... UTF8&psc=1

It's just an LED that flashes every few seconds. The theory is that moving shadows make rats think they are seeing predator motion and it makes them uneasy and they leave. We've had good luck with it, but the reviews are mixed. It sort of sounds like some rats, pack rats in particular, just laugh at this.

There's also ultrasonic devices and various odor ideas. If the problem in you area is severe, I might use two solutions at once.
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praxis
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by praxis »

chuckb84 wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 11:12 am This is a big problem around here. After some research, I put these on both cars:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00D2 ... UTF8&psc=1

It's just an LED that flashes every few seconds. The theory is that moving shadows make rats think they are seeing predator motion and it makes them uneasy and they leave. We've had good luck with it, but the reviews are mixed. It sort of sounds like some rats, pack rats in particular, just laugh at this.

There's also ultrasonic devices and various odor ideas. If the problem in you area is severe, I might use two solutions at once.
I installed this similar unit on both of our cars that are parked in the woods all summer and have had multiple cases of rodent damage.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D1 ... UTF8&psc=1

It contains both ultrasonic (claimed to not bother dogs) and the flashing LED lights. Instead of the battery model, I bought the hard-wired model. So far so good. No rodent damage since installation. I'm suspicious, though, that if the car is not driven regularly, it drains the car battery. During covid, we are not driving much so, although my battery was 5 years old, I was surprised to have it die on me and have to be replaced. I wonder if it was this unit. The description claims that when the car battery drops below 10.5V, the unit turns off to save the battery. I likely would have replaced my battery soon anyway, and I'm please I didn't have to replace any more spark plug wires. In our case it was pack rats. Typical nests were left in the engine compartments.
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praxis
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by praxis »

OnTrack
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by OnTrack »

I've had good luck with keeping the hood open whenever it is not being driven in areas where pack rats are a problem.
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praxis
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by praxis »

OnTrack wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:44 pm I've had good luck with keeping the hood open whenever it is not being driven in areas where pack rats are a problem.
good idea
DeskJumper
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by DeskJumper »

Not sure on a good fix for keeping rodents out of the engine bay. There are rodent sprays sold at home improvement megastores that could work, i used some in a basement that had mice before. They smell strongly of a mixture of mint, cinnamon, and garlic though...so it might be unpleasant to smell coming through your vents. It seemed to work, though.

On the issue of intrusion into the cabin spaces, the main point of entry is through the HVAC system. This is a big issue with Toyota and probably many other brands-- a design problem that has not yet been fixed as evidenced by the above post about a 2020 Rav4 becoming infested. If you remove the plastic air intake cowl at the base of the windshield, where your wiper arms attach, you will find the fresh air inlet totally open and exposed. If any creature can get underneath that cowling they can crawl inside your heat and air system and make nests out of insulation and your cabin air filter material. People will drive around with rodent urine and droppings (read: hantavirus) blowing into their face until the nest gets large enough to throw the blower fan off balance and make noise. While I never had an issue myself, I fashioned a screen out of metal wire mesh and sealed it in good with outdoor RTV over the inlet duct.
loghound
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by loghound »

As perhaps others have mentioned dryer sheets (e.g. bounce) tied to the inside was recommended to discourage rodents.
illumination
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by illumination »

OnTrack wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:44 pm I've had good luck with keeping the hood open whenever it is not being driven in areas where pack rats are a problem.
Does that help? I would almost be concerned it let's more get into the recesses of the engine bay.
Cruise
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Cruise »

ScooterBob wrote: Sat Jan 16, 2021 12:21 pm We have a neighborhood cat that has been using the flowerbeds around our house as a litterbox since last Fall. I am happy to deal with this right now since there have been NO critters lurking since. We usually have tons of chipmunks and they are very destructive. My new neighbor actually feeds them-I've warned her of the destruction to no avail. We keep the cars in a tightly sealed garage and keep the door down- especially in the evening. So far, so good. My old car most likely has normal wiring coverings but the Camry is probably a feast in waiting. I won't discourage the cat....

Bob
This is an example of "The best defense is a good offense."
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SmileyFace
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by SmileyFace »

Same thing happened to my wife's Honda a number of years ago - but they only ate the soy based wiper fluid tubing so it wasn't as expensive. The car was in the garage. I ordered a couple of hundred dollars worth of various traps and bait stations the next week - they are all around my property now. The battle continues - many types of traps, poison bait stations, etc - my wife thinks I am crazy - I respond "This is WAR!" :). I stopped feeding birds with bird seed as falling bird seed was one attractor of rodents to my yard but neighbors still do so.
We have indoor cats so never come in the house but keeping them out of garage and shed has been a problem.
Victor thinks I am some sort of professional exterminator since I have ordered so much from them.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Come to think of it, I've used everything I've ever heard of. We do have the electronic clicking device. Dryer sheets in the car. Moth balls under the car. Hood open. Remove any engine covers. Inspect regularly and vacuum any sign. And of course the anti freeze in the kitty litter tray under my roll away. I saw the bucket trap, which you can just fill with water. Do it all.
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Equitius
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Equitius »

.....
Last edited by Equitius on Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
RCL
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by RCL »

try this---works real well and already paid for itself
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074X ... UTF8&psc=1
OnTrack
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by OnTrack »

illumination wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:19 pm
OnTrack wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 2:44 pm I've had good luck with keeping the hood open whenever it is not being driven in areas where pack rats are a problem.
Does that help? I would almost be concerned it let's more get into the recesses of the engine bay.
It worked for me.
Dregob
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Re: How to deter rodent from chewing wires in car

Post by Dregob »

We had the same issue with DSL. Squirrels got into the junction box off my property and loved chewing on the tasty insulation. Annoying but it didn't cost me anything. Now I'm nervous about my 1988 truck in the driveway. I doubt the book value is $1200. I dropped collision years ago and would hate to total it due to a hungry rodent.
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