Welcome back for another weekly dose of all things automotive.
We’re still giddy after last week’s article on basic automotive skills became our highest viewed and most shared blog post ever, with over 1,400 clicks and counting. Thanks for tuning in, folks!
But we’re not in the mood to lay off the gas pedal just yet…
If you aren’t already too busy brushing up on the 3 automotive skills we want you to master by the end of the summer, then we have a new challenge for you: keeping mice and other rodents out of your vehicle.
In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, this can be a real problem. Our service techs are used to seeing nibbled-on wires, fluffed up air filters, and clogged up engine components—not to mention the occasional carcass.
If you let these pests get into your vehicle, the consequences can range from irritating to expensive.
So before the cold weather hits and sends those little critters seeking out sanctuary in your sedan, let’s dig into what you can do to discourage rodents from nesting in your vehicle.
Why is your car so attractive to small rodents?
Your friends and coworkers might be impressed by your 2015 Ford Mustang, but to a rodent, your pride and joy is just another place to do three things:
- Forage for food
- Hide away from predators
- Build a nest
In fact, these are three things that can just as easily be done within a musty sofa or a gap behind the drywall. It’s nothing personal. But it isn’t something to ignore, either.
Between wires, the filters, and hoses, there are plenty of little things for vermin to pick away at to build a nest. And the reality is there are plenty of gaps that the little guys can crawl into. A car isn’t a drafty doorway; air is supposed to pass through.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to reduce the instances of mice and other rodents from playing hotel in your ride…
Be Mindful of Where You Park
This is a case where the most common sense advice is also the most effective: don’t park where the rodents are most likely to roam.
Being shocked at finding mice in your motor after leaving your car to sit for days in a grassy field is about as naive as being flabbergasted after leaving your watermelon unattended at a Riders game and then finding that it has become someone’s headpiece.
When possible, keep your vehicle in a sealed garage.
Tip: Keep Those Treats out of Reach
What you store near your vehicle also plays into your pest problem. Avoid leaving bags of pet food or birdseed that can easily be gnawed through in your garage. If you must, try to keep them in sturdy containers.
Of course, a few mousetraps or poison trails near the perimeters are also effective deterrents.
The longer you leave your vehicle parked in one place, the more it will collect besides dust. Mice, especially, are very sensitive to changes (or lack thereof) in their vicinity, which is why even rubber snakes stop being effective as deterrents after a day or two. When possible, discourage rodents from establishing roots around your vehicle by moving it intermittently and clearing up any debris that may be evidence that mice or gophers were setting up shop.
Watch What You Keep Inside
Are you the type to leave remnants from your latest fast food excursions in your backseat? The more garbage you leave inside your car or truck, the more pests you will attract. (And more questionable looks, too.)
Toss out your trash if you expect to leave your vehicle in any one spot for an extended period of time (anything longer than a few days).
Shoo ’em away with Scent
An online investigation of anti-mice advice will show you a number of ways to ward off mice, rats, and voles through strong scents, particularly these three:
- Dryer sheets
- Moth balls
- Peppermint oil
Of course, you don’t necessarily want to minimize your pest problem by creating an even more obnoxious stench problem, so pick your battles.
And the effectiveness of each method is unreliable, at best. (Also, absence of mice following a preventative measure can be due to many other factors, such as the changing of the season, etc.)
The least offensive of these three strong-smelling products are dryer sheets, which can be placed inconspicuously within your vehicle’s interior, as well as stuffed or clipped with a magnet to many places under the hood. We recommend not jamming up any air intakes with any of the above.
Keep Your Sense of Humour
When all is said and done, sometimes it’s just best to laugh at a problem that we might never be able to completely control.
Here are a few of our “less traditional” ways of managing your pest problem:
- Your car is only as attractive a nest as the next best alternative. Entice mice to a nearby area where they will be less of a problem, like your bathroom walls or vegetable garden.
- Rodents are off-put by high-pitched noises. Keep them at bay by programming your car alarm to sound continually when you’re not in the vehicle.
- Prairie rattlesnakes are one of the few local predators that eat mice, voles AND juvenile ground squirrels. Keep one loose in your vehicle at all times.
- Half the trouble with a pest problem is the psychological aspect. Don’t think of a field mouse scurrying up your pant leg. Quit it, quit it, quit it—oh God, I can feel its whiskers like they’re real!
- Car components with sturdier wire casings are less likely to be chewed through by mice. Test the durability of a vehicle’s wires by gnawing at them at the dealership before purchasing a vehicle. Remember the rhyme: “If it withstands your bite, the wires are right!”
- Two words: mouse mallet.
Got any tricks for keeping the critters away? Share them in our comments section!