How To Keep Mice And Other Pests Out Of Your Car

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Here's how to prevent pests from infesting your vehicle and doing damage.

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Pests are everywhere and can get into just about anything, and while having an infestation of rodents or bugs in your home is a nightmare in itself, finding them in your car can make for a horror story of its own. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prevent infestations from happening in your home and in your car. Here we provide you with some easy-to-follow and simple advice you can use to prevent rodents and insects from entering your car and some methods on how to get rid of them if they do.

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Why Are There Rodents And Pests In My Car?

Your car can easily become a place where rodents and other critters seek shelter, especially in colder climates and when there is easy access to it. There are many reasons why rodents may seek out your vehicle.

  • Shelter from the elements and predators
  • Eco-friendly automotive wiring is made with a soy-based coating, which rodents love. Toyota models such as the Toyota Camry, Toyota 4Runner, and Tundra all make use of these environmentally friendly coatings.
  • Resources like nesting materials, especially when your car is standing untouched for a while
  • Food sources left in your car, or a car that hasn't been cleaned out in a while, will attract scavenging rodents

How To Keep Mice And Other Pests Out of Your Car

Since cars can be very attractive to such pests, there has to be something one can do to prevent them from making your car home. Here are some pest- and rodent-repelling solutions to consider:

  • Keep your car's windows closed - Whenever you exit your car or when you're parking it for extended durations, be sure to fully close all of the windows to prevent any pests or bugs that are on or even around your car from entering the cabin. Pests and insects can enter the car even if the window is just slightly cracked.
  • Remove all food and beverages - The smell of food and/or drinks in the car can attract pests and insects very quickly, so be sure to take any foods and/or beverages with you when exiting to keep intruders like mice out of your vehicle.
  • Clean your car regularly - Eating and drinking in the car can lead to messes and spillages that can then attract pests and bugs. Be sure to pick up any dropped foods and clean up any spills whenever there are. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any crumbs and be sure to get rid of any rubbish and clutter. Some family minivans such as the Honda Odyssey come outfitted with an in-car vacuum cleaner to make this easier.
  • Use a specialized deterrent - There are several types of vehicle pest control measures one can use to protect their cars from pests. From electronic devices that emit certain ultrasounds, which deter rodents in particular, to certain scents such as peppermint oil, Pine-sol, and even mothballs. Note that some of these scents are unpleasant for humans, too, though.
  • Address exterior pest problems - One of the best ways to keep pests like mice away from your car is to ensure that the area you park your car in is always clean and tidy. If you park in a closed garage you'll want to make sure everything is packed neatly and there is already a rodent problem, you'll want to also sort that out. It's a bit more difficult if you park outside but you can still make sure the area around the car is clean and get rid of any leaves that will attract bugs and food sources for rodents like garbage cans. You can use various deterrents and traps around your car to keep pests like mice out of a stored car. Be sure to read our comprehensive blog on long-term vehicle storage here.
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How to Get Rid of Pests And Bugs in Your Car

If you're already sitting with the problem of pests in your car, there are some things you can try which vary in success rate depending on what critter you're dealing with.

  • Firstly, you'll want to determine if the exterior and the interior of your car are infested or just one or the other. You'll also want to determine whether or not the spot in which you park your car is affected, too. Getting rid of the pests in only your car, or only the area around it, won't resolve the problem if the infestation is coming from multiple sources. You'll need to treat all areas.
  • Identify what critter is infesting your car as different pests will require different solutions. You'll then be able to determine whether you need a rodent repellent for cars, a type of bug killer for cars, or just some traps. You should consider using an eco-friendly means of getting rid of pests and traps that are humane, and if you're unsure, always consult a professional.
  • Before utilizing any of your repellents, bug killers, or traps, give your car a proper wash to get rid of anything on the exterior. Get the interior professionally cleaned, too, if you're not willing to put in the elbow grease to do a deep clean. Professionals will have a high-power vacuum cleaner to use which will suck up most, if not all foodstuffs, bugs, larvae, eggs, and other minuscule dander that may be aiding the infestation, so this is a worthwhile investment.
  • You can now use repellents for whatever infestation you had. For ants, a natural remedy can work wonders, something like peppermint essential oil or even just mint plants. If you have a cockroach infestation, you can use glue traps, boric acid tablets, and poisons specialized for cars. For rodents, natural remedies work, too, but there are also ultrasound deterrents and synthetic odor deterrents. If you have a wasp or bee problem, we'd recommend using a professional. A variety of 'bug bombs' and 'foggers' and other chemical home-fumigation aerosols can be purchased that can do the trick.

How To Safely Fumigate A Car At Home

If you can't afford to use a professional, don't want to use a bug bomb or chemical fogger, or if the pest repellents mentioned above are simply not working, there is another simple fumigation method you can try at home. Here's how to fumigate a car easily and safely at home without resorting to harsh chemicals:

Carbon dioxide or (CO2) can be used to snuff out any and all pests from your vehicle and is particularly useful for getting rid of tiny critters such as bed bugs, ticks, and other insects that have infested the engine bay, seat cushions, and carpets. A concentrated dose of CO2 will kill any small insects it comes in contact with instantaneously. A block of dry ice is one of the safer forms of carbon dioxide and can be bought at most stores. Use anything under five pounds and do not touch the dry ice at all; place it in a cooler box or a tray, and place one on the floor of your car and another in the trunk. Once the dry ice is placed in the car, you'll want to make sure everything is closed and consider throwing a tarp over the car, too. The CO2 will flow throughout the car. Let the car sit for up to 12 to 24 hours before giving it a good vacuum.

This is an eco-friendly method and the CO2 doesn't damage any of the car's components and wires.

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FAQs

Do car insurance companies cover pest damage?

Yes, most car insurance companies will cover damage caused by pests, so long as you have comprehensive cover.

What’s the best non-harmful rodent repellent for cars?

peppermint oil is touted as the most effective non-harmful rodent repellent one can use to chase away rodents. Essential oils, in general, however, should be handled with care, especially around animals and children.

What kind of car damage can a rodent cause?

If you don't keep rodents out of the car engine, the rodents could likely end up gnawing the car wires and you could end up with a mouse nest in your car. The debris that the rodents bring in and their feces can become corrosive and end up damaging car parts. If you've discovered a rodent infestation, try looking for a nest within the engine bay, and look for any fluid leaks under the car.

How to keep animals out of your car engine?

Throwing a tarp over your car whilst it is parked or in storage works well to stop animals from entering the engine bay, but ensuring the area where your car is parked is free from pests is the best way to prevent it in the first place.

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