vehicle with chewed electrical wiresMice, rats and squirrels can all damage your home to the point it needs thousands of dollars in repairs. Unfortunately, your car is not off limits either. These pests will chew on wires and brake lines to keep their teeth down, tear apart insulation and go after the spark plugs and body harness.

Although pests may strike at any point during the year, they’re often looking for shelter during winter. Your car’s engine looks like the perfect spot to stay warm and dry. In the process, they may build nests, gnaw on things to control their teeth, stockpile food and start to breed.

Throughout all this, drivers often remain unaware of the presence of these pests, until the check engine light comes on, the speedometer dies or the brakes suddenly fail.

Types of Damage

Rodents and other pests can cause several types of damage to your car, including:

  • Damaged Wires: Rodents need to keep their teeth under control and may go after the engine’s wires, chewing through the insulation, which results in a short circuit.
  • Storage in the Engine: Rodents will tear apart insulation to build nests in your engine. For storage, they’ll scatter food around the engine and car’s interior. These two factors may cause your engine to overheat and catch fire or affect how the pedals work.
  • Bodily fluids: The first sign your car has a pest infestation? You smell the buildup of bodily fluids, old food and carcasses.
  • Damaged Interior: Does it look like someone scratched up your car’s seats? Rodents may have entered the interior in search of nesting materials and tore these materials.
  • Disease Exposure: Bodily fluids, hair and dander doesn’t stay in the engine. Turning on the heat or air conditioning spreads it throughout the vehicle, exposing you to bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that could make you sick.

Protecting Your Car

Aside from these factors, rodents make their presence known through acorns and droppings scattered under the hood and below your car, plus bits of paper strewn throughout the engine compartment.

Once you notice these factors, you may want to consider:

  • Using a repellent around and under your car to keep pests away. A pest spray for landscaping, cayenne pepper or tabasco sauce can all act as deterrents.
  • Clearing overgrown bushes and vegetation away from your car. These areas are optimal for pests to hide. If the trees drop acorns, brush the nuts away from your car.
  • Moving the birdfeeder away from your car, as the seeds also attract rodents, raccoons and rabbits.
  • Cleaning all food containers and bags from your car, as their scent may be attracting pests.
  • Avoiding sweet-smelling air fresheners, as their scent may attract pests.
  • Regularly opening your hood to check for critters and nests.
  • Having your engine and undercarriage professionally cleaned, especially if you notice these signs of rodents or other pests.

For additional help, bring your car into DaSilva’s Auto Body to have all damage assessed and repaired. We can also perform interior and exterior detailing after an infestation. Schedule an appointment with our team today.