How to Protect Car from Rats?

One of the scariest horror stories for a car owner is rat infestation in the vehicle. Rats are nasty creatures that can make your car worthless by munching through wires and other soft materials like plastic and insulation materials.

Afterall, they have to make their cosy nest inside your car so that they can make thousands of babies. A mouse couple can create 15,000 babies, grandbabies, and great-grandbabies in just a year.

Some people believe that only old cars are more prone to rat infestation. However, many mechanics say that many newer cars have soy-based wire coating that attracts rats a lot more.

keeping rats away from cars

Why does rat chew things in the car?

Rats are constantly looking for things to chew on for teeth manicuring reasons. Rodent’s teeth grow unevenly and if they don’t sharpen them then they risk dying from malnutrition.

How to Keep Rats away from the Vehicles?

Prevent is the best cure for rat infestation. So, how to prevent rats from entering your car? These are some tips we could find online:

1) Park your car in a closed garage: Parking your car in a closed garage is the best way to keep rats away. That’s because it’s easier to control the small garage area. Don’t worry if you don’t have a dedicated garage as you can use other precautions.

2) Inspect under bonnet regularly: Look under the bonnet often to look for rat footprints. This is something that can quickly be done once every two weeks at least. If you do find the rat footprints, you’ll be glad you found them before that did any damage.

3) Don’t feed your pet near the car: A lot of homes today have pets. But you are unknowingly inviting rats if you feed your pets near the car parking area. The pet food acts as a bait and rat will gain pounds on pounds by feeding on this.

4) Don’t store the car for too long: Drive your car once in a while to keep rats away. A long-standing car is a perfect target for rats. Also, if you drive your car, you might notice early on that rats are chewing on your car when something inexpensive like your indicators or horn stops working. No one likes getting in their beloved car after 6 months and getting hit with a fried ECU and bunch on other issues.

5) Leave Pet Dogs and Cats near car: If you have a pet dog or cat then they are great at cleaning up your parking space. Leave them overnight in the garage.

6) Install Metal Mesh to block rodent’s path: Rats have a difficult time chewing metal. Therefore, it’s a good idea to block the openings from where rodents could crawl. Wrapping metal mesh in areas like ventilation tubes, wires and rubber hoses.

7) Keep the lights on in the garage: Rats love to hang around areas that are dark. Therefore, keeping the garage light on during the night and parking your car outside during the day is a good idea. You can also leave the bonnet open so that it’s not inviting enough for rats to build their nest.

rats nibbling on car wires
Example of rats nibbling on wires

Get Rats out of the car

If rats have managed to sneak inside your car, what should you do now? Here are methods to get rid of rats in car:

1) Use traditional mouse traps: Mouse traps that you use around the house works fantastically well around the car too. Keep multiple such traps around the car and also in the engine bay if possible. Now just wait for those monsters turn up to collect bait.

2) Make your car smell bad (for rats): Rats hate the bad smell. What kind of smell rats doesn’t like? Well, this includes red pepper, dog hair, cat hairs, peppermint oil, laundry dryer sheets, tobacco leaves and naphthalene balls. Many people swear by placing many cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil in the engine bay.

3) Use rat repellent product: Today there are many rat repellent products available. They really work great if used properly and in affected areas. However, some of them can be poisonous too, so keep it away from children.

Various Rat repellent available in the market to protect vehicles

  1. Ultrasonic rodent repellent: Rats hate ultrasonic sounds because they can hear it and it creates intense auditory stress for them. The ultrasonic frequency is not audible to humans and other pets. The electronic car repellent creates a hostile environment for the rodents and forces them out from your car.
  2. Rat Repellent Spray: There are rat sprays available nowadays. Mechanics recommend spraying in under the bonnet, especially on the wires. Its effect lasts for around 3 months and then you need to respray.
  3. Rat Repellent compounds: Many rodent repellents are available in the form of cake, granules, or gels. Some of them can be poisonous but most of them are not. The basically attack the rat’s mucous membrane. As a result of which rats after long exposure, gradually start developing the fear of this smell and hence, moves away from the area where Rat Repellent is positioned.
  4. Rat Glue Pad: The glue pads are square shaped pads that are coated with strong adhesive. When rats walk over it, they get stuck on it.
  5.  Honda Rodent-Deterrent Tape: Yes, this is the rat repellent sold by Honda Cars. This is basically an electrical tape infused with spicy Capsaicin (Chilly substance extracted from capsicum). The Capsain acts as an irritant for rodents. This anti-rodent tape’s part number is 4019-2317( available in US Honda dealerships).
    Official Honda Rodent Tape
    Official Honda Rodent Tape

Interesting facts about rats:

  • Rats have poor eyesight. Therefore, they like to follow the edges of the wall to find the way.
  • Rats are very intelligent rodent and can find interesting ways to enter a car and build their nests.
  • Rats like smelling things and are greatly influenced by smell. They love hanging around areas that smell like their food or thing they like chewing.
  • Rats don’t like light and like to find dark spaces to spend their time and build nests. Keeping garage lights on is also a good way to prevent rat infestation.
  • Rats have very sharp teeth that can shred through hard materials like plastics easily.

Here’s how rats played a horror story for Benny Bendavid- “I got in my beloved car one day to drive to office and noticed on the ways that my turn signals are not working. I thought no big deal and it must be just a blown fuse. Now, while driving back to home the A/C was not turning on during summer time.

I thought it was really weird and decided to visit a mechanic during the weekend (I decided to drive without AC for 2 more days). A day after when I started the car, it displayed an error message ‘Check Brake System’ on the dashboard display. The brake booster was not coming on so I had to use a lot of force on the pedal to use brakes. This was a dangerous situation so I drove it carefully to the nearby garage.

The mechanic lifted the bonnet and showed me why my new car was suffering so much. There were rat foot imprints all over the engine bay, and rats were also starting to chew the ignition cables. I was in a deep mess but thankfully I caught them early on before they could do more damage. I tried multiple rat repentant products, changed my parking spot and started keeping mousetraps in my garage. Thankfully, I was able to catch the culprit in a mousetrap a few days later. I have fixed all the issues in my car and I think now my car is free from rodents as no new problem cropped up since then. I never knew rats can destroy my car but now I’ll take necessary action to keep them away from my car.”

If you were tensed thinking about how to save your car from rats, I hope this article was helpful. I have something that you’d like to add, please share it in the comments section.

Check out this video of Rat infested car:

Read: How to make Car Airconditioner Cold Again?

Does Tobacco Keep Rats Away?

Rats hate the smell of tobaccco. Keeping small pouches of tobacco in engine bay could help repel them. Other things rats don’t like to smell are peppermint oil, Naphthalene balls, Cat/Dog Hairs, and red pepper.

How to inspect car for Rat Infestation?

You can pinpoint rat infestation in your car by looking at rat footprints inside your engine bay area, cut wires, chewed plastic, and spotting rat excreta.

Siddharth Sharma
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Siddharth Sharma

Siddharth has always been passionate about Cars and Bikes. He was the kind of kid that always had the latest Auto magazine in his school bag. He had this dream- to become a professional racecar driver. Finally, in 2012 he found himself racing as a rookie driver in the Polo R Cup national racing championship. Over time he had to readjust the sail and get into automotive journalism to continue enjoying machines on wheels.