Mice are much like most rodents you find in life. These opportunistic creatures will find any available entry point to keep themselves warm and sheltered. Your car might be a massive opportunity for them when left unused for a while, but this article will help you get rid of any rodent infestations and keep them out for good.
How Do Mice Get in Your Car
Mice are warm-blooded creatures and they love to have a warm area to reproduce and stay.
Unfortunately, this means your car is one of the perfect spots for them to create a nest. The car has natural heat and a lot of housing, with so many small vents and openings in the engine, rodents will slip through and make a nest.
Small vents and openings that may have been left by damages all allow mice to get inside your car or your engine. Once they are inside, they can start to reproduce and nest, especially inside your engine if the car has not been used for an extended period of time. Getting rid of these infestations can be a daunting task.
What Damage Mice Can Do in Your Vehicle
As mentioned, rodents need heat and your car can be the perfect spot for them to nest. However, the damage they do to your car can be expensive and frustrating to deal with. Here are a couple of things that mice tend to do to your car if they are left unchecked inside:
Mice tend to love the upholstery in your car and they will chew through this. Once they first get into the car, they won’t have any comfort or nesting materials. Mice tend to use some of the upholstery in the car to make their nests:
- Carpets: Since the carpet insulation is fluffy and generally not as tough to bite through, it is one of the first things that mice use for comfort in your car.
- Insulation: As they get through the plastics, they will get into the insulation that most car naturally have. Since these will also keep them warm in the cold months, mice tend to love the insulation.
- Interior Upholstery: The interior is generally leather o some sort of synthetic leather. Mice choose this as the last item when they have ravaged all the rest to ensure that the population is looked after.
The mice might start in your engine, but if not, they will move to the engine once the inside is not that comfortable anymore. Once they have reached the engine and start to take it apart, we find some of the real damage that rodents tend to do:
- Rubber Pipes: Rodents love chewing through the rubber on the pipes. These pipes offer them more building materials and it could lead to leaks in your car.
- Protective Tape: Most vehicles will have some sort of protective tape of crucial wires in the engine or in the trunk. This protective tape is also a great source of materials for any mice, damaging the connections in your car.
- Plastic: if you have left the rodents in your car for an extended period of time, they might also go after some tougher materials like plastic. Generally, the plastic is not used but rather burrowed through to create new nests.
How to Check If Mice Has Infested Your Car
If you suspect that mice might have moved into your car, there are a couple of steps you can take to look for the mice. Here is a small guide that will show you how to look for mice that might have infested your car:
- Engine Compartment Inspection
Check your engine compartment first, as this is generally where the most damage can occur. You might perhaps even see the mice or small nibble marks on things like pipes. Since the engine is warm when you use the car, it is one of the first areas they choose.
- Trunk Inspection
Since the trunk is not something we look at too much, mice tend to find a nesting spot in the trunk. It is not cleaned out as often and can still have some insulation that will keep the mice warm when they are reproducing.
- Plastic Panel Inspection
Another massive hotspot to keep in mind is all the plastic panels in the car. Not only will the mice create a small hole that you cannot see, but they also hide behind these panels while you are checking the car. The dashboard and center panel are two of the most common sports for mice.
- Professional Inspection
Once you have done a check of the above-mentioned areas, you might still have mice without even knowing it. In the first couple of days or weeks, the signs might not be as prominent and this is when you need a professional to assist you. You might take your car in on your own to a specialist, or have one come to you for a thorough inspection.
Having a professional examine the car will be much more diligent than you are and they will be able to identify some of the signs much sooner than you can.
Signs of Rodent Infestation in Your Car
Once the inspection is done, or if you don’t know how to inspect the car diligently, there are a few important signs that mice leave behind. These signs are almost guaranteed to tell you if a mice infestation is on your car, and you can start working to eliminate it:
- Mouse Droppings: Cleanliness is not one of the strong suits that mice have and they do not clean up after themselves. One of the first things that many people notice when a rodent infestation is taking place is the droppings. They might be too small to see at first, but as they build up, you will encounter them more frequently.
- Nibble Marks: Mice like to nibble on almost everything and you will notice that the upholstery in your car has some unexplained marks on them. Eventually, they might even turn into holes if not looked after.
- Pet Foods: It might not be as common of a sign, but many people have noticed dog food in the car. This is prominent from the mice as they carry the food to your vehicle for the nest to feast on.
- Small Holes In Plastic: The plastic coverings in your car and the protective casings can be a daunting area to inspect. However, this is where mice will leave their holes to get inside the panels.
- A Foul Smell: Mice tend to leave a bad smell in your car and this can be a little frustrating for most people to deal with, especially when you have a sharp nose.
- Mice Themselves: Occasionally, you might find a mouse in your car and this is a bad sign. Since they don’t need to be present in your car, it can be a sure sign of a potential infestation.
How to Keep Mouse Out of Car Engine
Regularly Clean Your Car
If you don’t want to deal with mice in the first place, it is important to clean out the car every once in a while. This is important for people that don’t use the car often, or when you know of any rodent nests around you.
Eliminate Food Sources
Food sources can be anything that you can eat. This means that leftover meals and food you have spilled on the floor can attract mice. Additionally, you should keep the car away from any potential food sources from the outside.
Choose Parking Spots Carefully
If you have a rodent infestation near your home or work, you should consider removing it or changing the spot you choose to park your car. Near areas with food, you might find that rodents tend to live and infest your car.
One of the most daunting things you can do is to add a few mouse traps. While this might not be humane, it is a great way to get the mice to stop entering your vehicle. They are also cheap and readily available with a decent success rate.
Another important thing to consider is poison for the mice. However, this is not the most humane way to get rid of them or deter them. There are various poisonous substances that you can use to kill mice in your car. You also need to consider finding out if the poison you are using is legal, as poisoning rodents aren’t legal everywhere.
Ultrasonic repellers is a humane way to get rid of mice. These devices will emit a sound wave the mice cannot tolerate and they plug into normal sockets. While it might be an expensive thing to buy, the ultrasonic repeller can make life easier. Check this guide on the best ultrasonic pest repellers.
The best way to get rid of mice is to keep them out. Doing this with a natural selection of products can help protect the mice and keep them out of the car. Here are a few natural remedies that are commonly used to prevent rodent infestations:
- Peppermint Oil
- Kitty litter
- Various Scents
- Feces or urine of larger predators
- Relocation of a mice colony
- Cayenne pepper smell
Many more remedies that are natural might also be effective, but these are the most common and almost guaranteed to give results. If mice have become a pest, the humane way to get rid of them will be to use some of these natural remedies.
How to Get Rid of Mice Smell in the Car
- Identify Where The Smell Is Originating
The nest will have a more profound smell than the rest of the car and needs to be determined first. While it can be done on your own, it is better to have some professional assistance in finding the nests and identifying the smell.
- Find Out Why The Smell Is Present
This ties into the first step, but do some searching to find out why the smell is present. Occasionally, it might only be one dead rat or a previous rat infestation. Unfortunately, the smell of rats can linger for a while.
- Cleaning Out The Smell
The best way to get rid of the smell is to get rid of the nest and all the interior that has been affected by the mice. A full replacement can be a little expensive, but removing the upholstery for a thorough wash, while cleaning out the panels with a scented cleaner is the best way to keep the mice smell from affecting you.
- Sanitation Of The Car
The last step would be to sanitize the car effectively. Once the care has been sanitized, it will remove some of the bacteria and viruses that mice can carry. One of these is the Hantavirus that can spread and infect humans as well. It is best to have the vehicle professionally sanitized to ensure that all the mice droppings and potentially harmful things are removed.
How to Prevent Mouse Infestation in the Car
Check For Infestations Regularly
By checking for infestations on a regular basis, it is much easier to identify them before they spread. This can be done once a month, with a detailed inspection being done by a professional with each service the car goes for.
Keep the Car Clean
Cleaning the car will remove any hidden spots and also reveal some of the areas that mice tend to choose for hiding. If clothes are lying around, it can definitely cause a lot of space for mice to hide.
Remove Food Sources
If there is no food available, mice will not choose the car as a home. This does not only mean the food sources on the inside of the car but also things like pet food that might be in close proximity to the parked location of a car.
Remove Surrounding Rodent Nests
If there are rodents nest in the area, it greatly improves the chances of them seeking more shelter. With so many pest control agencies available, it is easy to remove potential rodents that might be surrounding the area.
What to Check in Your Car after Rodent Elimination
If the rodents have been removed, there are a couple of locations you can monitor to see if they return and to make sure that the mice are detected before they come back. Here are a few of the hotspots that mice like inside a car:
- Plastic panels
- Center console
- Trunk areas that are deep and hidden
- Inside door panels
- Underneath the backseats of the car
- Areas that are not used often
It is recommended that you visit a specialist if you find any traces of a hard infestation that cannot be removed with the remedies we have given. These professionals will do everything in just a matter of hours.
Does Car Insurance Cover Rodent Damage
It will depend on the insurance you have and what type of damage the rodents have done. Comprehensive car insurance might cover you from rodent damage on the wires. Wire damage is the most common damage you can find in cars with rodent infestations that have not been treated.
You need to check if you have been comprehensively covered by your insurance and then file a complaint with them for rodent damage once it has been detected. Occasionally, the insurance might require a specialist to look at the damage before paying out.
Rodent and especially mice infestations can be frustrating and bad for your vehicle. It is best to prevent any potential infestations before they occur. Additionally, you might want to have the car checked as soon as possible to ensure the infestation does not spread.
Let me know in the comment section how you have dealt with rodent infestations and if I have missed an important part of the process that you also do when getting rid of mice in your car.