How to Protect Your Car From Rodents, According to Consumer Reports

Owning cars comes with a lot of responsibility, but you may not be aware of how to keep rodents out. More than one owner had their vehicle towed into a repair shop, only to be informed that mice, squirrels, rats, and other small creatures are treating their car wires like an all-you-can-eat buffet bar. So is there any way to prevent this, or will you be forced to deal with it?

Rodents can do a lot of damage

A rodent, that could easily be a rodent in a car when finding a warm place, eating food off a highway.
Rodent on a highway | Getty Images

A single rat can destroy your vehicle. From eating the wires to shredding your seats, it doesn’t take long for these tiny four-legged creatures to wreak havoc on your property. 

Some think it might have something to do with auto companies turning to plant-based products to design the wires. It makes sense, after all. Most of the rodents on this list like eating plants, so there must be a logical connection.

Even though there have been several lawsuits, including one against Toyota, that blames the use of soy-based wiring as the reason rodents are chewing up their vehicles, that might not be the whole story. While it sounds good, there isn’t enough evidence to fully support this theory. Many lawsuits have been thrown out because rodents are chewing up older cars as well.

Even so, it’s not a pleasant thing to find your beloved leather seats now look like one of your dog’s chew toys. So how exactly can you prevent rodents from eating your wires?

Stop rodents before they strike

While there is no full-proof method to prevent rodents from dining in your car, there are a few steps you can take to discourage them, according to Consumer Reports. Most of them don’t require that you buy anything. You simply need to change a few habits.

The most significant step you can take is to avoid parking near places where you know the four-legged creatures will be, like dumpsters, vegetable gardens, or anyplace with a natural food source. This may mean you have to walk a little way, but it’s better than discovering your car won’t start and having to call an Uber.

Another step you can take is to move your car regularly. Eating through wires is hard work and takes time. If you drive the car at least every few days, it will force the rodents to move with it.

Keeping your car interior clean is a third easy step. Food wrappers, drink bottles, and other items may be empty, but the scent will still attract rodents to your vehicle.

CARFAX also recommends using scents like Peppermint oil. This will not only keep the rodents away, but it’ll make your car smell better.

How can you get rodents out of your car?

Once you know you have rodents in your car, as some Tesla owners have recently reported, it becomes a whole new game. After all it’s easier to keep them out than to get rid of them. The good news is that it’s more than doable, and it doesn’t require you trying to bonk rodents in the head with a hammer-like you’re playing a real-life game of whack-a-mole.

You need to prevent them from reaching their favorite food source, which means buying rodent-repelling wire tape or a mesh cage that you can place around wiring harnesses and rubber hoses. You can also add the mesh cage to where rodents are crawling into your car.

If none of these work, or if you’d rather act more decisively, you can always call a pest control service to take a look. They’ll be able to give advice specific to your location, as well as help get rid of the pests who are feasting on your car.

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