Mill Valley Auto Repair

Tag Archives: winter car care


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 ... read more



We see a number of cars each year in the early part of winter with water inside – sloshing around on floors, soaking the carpets and insulation, collecting in the areas of the trunk, behind the dash and under the glove box. Almost always the source of water getting inside the vehicle is backed up sunroof drains. Contrary to what most people would assume, sunroofs (or moonroofs) are not designed to be water tight. Instead, auto manufacturers equip the frame of the sunroof with internal drains that allow rainwater to be channeled down inside the vehicle and then expelled through body plugs that are located on the underside of the chassis. Leaves, small fragments of tree debris, dirt and silt can collect within these drains and create a blockage. Moderate rain will cause these drains to overflow and allow rainwater to accumulate inside the cabin. Heavy and persistent rain (like what we are seeing this season) will allow this issue to become dire. Most recently we ... read more

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