Mill Valley Auto Repair

RODENT DAMAGE IN VEHICLE ENGINE COMPARTENT

We see a large amount of rodent damage occurring inside our customers' engine compartments every year, especially during the late fall and winter. Rats are to blame for most of this damage (Northern California Woodrat, to be specific) as they start looking for warm, dry places to nest during the winter.  

Rats can do a lot of damage within an engine compartment in a relatively short period of time. Most of the vehicles on the road today have wiring that is insulated with a soy-based plastic covering. Once inside the engine compartment, the rats are drawn to the wiring as a food source.  The damage to vehicle’s wiring and electrical system begins.  

There is a surprising amount of misinformation as to how to prevent rat infestation. We have seen vehicles with dryer sheets stuffed into various parts of the engine, we have had a customer request we sprinkle mountain lion urine in his engine compartment (he provided said urine) and we have seen chicken wire screwed to the undercarriage of one vehicle that was repeatedly targeted by rats.  None of these techniques has proven to be effective.

Since rats are governed by repetitive habits, the easiest way to deter them is to upset their routine. If your car must be parked outside, be sure to start it up and move it around regularly. A rat will quickly give up on a host vehicle if it becomes inconvenient to nest. If your car must sit for days or weeks without moving, try to leave it inside a garage.  

If you’ve noticed any evidence of rodents in or around your car, be sure to set up an appointment with us right away and we will happy to take a look. 

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