Unexpected passengers of the gnawing kind – rodents, in particular mice are more than happy to sneak into our homes, sheds, outbuildings and even our garages. But have you ever thought that they might be just as happy to sneak into our vehicles and set up home.
Classic cars are enjoyed by their owners during the summer months and then are carefully stored away to protect them from the worst of the winter weather. Others of us will leave our vehicles safely tucked up in the garage or on our driveways when we go away on holiday. Families with two cars may use just one to visit friends and family, leaving the other at home while they are away. It seems that little things are now becoming a bigger problem when it comes to damage and repair bills for vehicles. These little culprits can cause some significant and often costly damage.
Garages and Breakdown companies have seen the effects of rodent visits to cars, vans and buses. Rodents have been known to gnaw on air conditioning units, heater cores, any electrical wiring, brake fluid caps and more worryingly brake pipes and fuel line coverings. If they venture inside the passenger interior they can strip the rubber from pedals and gnaw on seat belts as well as leaving rat or mouse droppings throughout.
If mice can squeeze through a gap about the size of a pencil or pen, then scampering up the wheel arch of a stationary vehicle and finding their way into engine bays or through gaps around pedals into the car interior itself won’t present too much of a problem.
As mice like dark and confined areas to hide from predators, they have been known to nest in engine bays, shredding the car’s insulation as nesting material. To a lesser extent they have been found nesting in the car upholstery and even behind sun visors. It’s not just cars where rodents take advantage of vehicles. Mice have been found living in the insulation between the interior and exterior wall of aircraft, as well as chewing cables and wiring on trains.
There are many ‘home remedies’ suggested for deterring rats and mice, from the more obvious mothballs and peppermint oil to the more obscure, scented tumble dryer sheets, trays of creosote or antifreeze, chicken wire and burnt toast !?
The 3 most important things rodents are seeking is shelter, warm and food. Keep your vehicle as clean as you can, vacuuming up crumbs, food debris and removing the sweet wrappers and crisp packets (hidden in the back seats by the kids). Check under the bonnet on a regular basis, keeping it clean and act swiftly if you do spot any signs of mice activity.