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Quick tip#78~ Rat condos in your car's engine

Saturday, February 23, 2013

I usually write about helpful, health oriented things in my blogs...

But since many of us own a car, and some of us park it outside, I felt this tip might save some the inconvenience and expense of car repairs necessitated by hungry, warmth-seeking rats this Winter.

Rats that mistake car wire insulation as a marvelous rodent treat.

That was my experience this week, when my car became inoperative due to the solenoid wires to the transmission being stripped of their insulation.

Thankfully the $400 in repairs and the tow to the dealership was covered by my car insurance's Comprehensive, which carries a $99 deductible. Not that I couldn't find a better use for the $99, then spending it on a bunch of RATS!

: )

How to prevent this from happening again, was the bigger question.

Aside from the obvious... rat traps and bait in garage and attic (check), clearing debris from one's property(check)... driving one's car frequently and parking it inside of your pristine garage with a hermetically sealed garage door( not in my world).... the mechanic suggested putting moth balls (not happening) or dryer sheets(happening with reservations) in the engine compartment, away from hot and moving parts.

The most appropriate place I found for the dryer sheet as in the side panels of the engine compartment, where the wiring goes back to service the interior and rear of the car.

Figured they wouldn't get in trouble there.. "float" onto something like one of the belts or sizzle and burn on the engine block. That said, I don't expect the rodents to give up that easily, so plan on periodically checking their placement to see if they've been dislodged or need refreshing.

I got "lavender" scent... it was on sale and sounded less chemically then some of the others, like "Tropical breeze". Although I'm pretty sure that dryer sheet lavender bears little or no resemblance to real lavender essential oil. Chemicallty speaking. And this really bothers all things " crunchy " in my soul.

But anything to save me another repair bill and the inconvenience of being stranded without wheels while the insurance company and mechanic haggle and I drop another $99.

Never thought I'd be asking this question... but if you have any remedies that keep your own vehicle rat free, please share...

: )

2/26/88 Update
Thanks everyone for your comments, lot of fun to read! I've mentioned my car's problem to several friends up at the Y, and their "Rats that Done Me Wrong" Stories came crawling out of the woodwork as if to the Pied Piper! ha

Thx, Pat... yes I think peppermint is more something that I would prefer to have there, given that its a natural oil.
Aqua... surprisingly, not smell of lavender inside my car... that's actually a good thing cuz I hate artificial fragrances.
Morty and Connie... wow, that sounds worse than what I have dealt with! A cat sounds like a good fix, only I wouldn't want to let it outside, cuz we have bobcats AND coyotes here... they don't last very long.

Dryer sheets do nothing to deter rats!
The only thing that gets them is traps and poison bait.
I went thru 4 full trays of bait, under my car at nite and at a hole they dug under my neighbor's fence.. picked the bait up in daylite so pets and birds, squirrels wouldn't get at it. Just awful to have to resort to this, but it had to stop.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    1878 days ago
    Sounds like a nightmare! I live next to some woods so we have wildlife in the yard and sometimes the house and garage...never thought of them going for my car wires... emoticon
    1939 days ago
    I was wondering after you told me at my page about your car, what happened. That is terrible!!! Texas always did have lots of wild animals running around! Florida is bad too! But, in Ohio we had mice nest in the air cleaner before!! Have found dead mice in the hub cabs when removing to rotate the tires. Have had mice chew our phone wire at home and knocked out our phone service. I hate moth balls-we tried that once under our house and you could smell the daggone things inside the house through the floors (because the mice were chewing our wires for the heat tape too, to our water pipes). We ended up building a box with wire too small for mice to get to around it. It worked. Here in Florida, some mice got in our AC, of all things, the unit outside and chewed the wires, which fried them inside (petrified mice) and started a fire in the AC. We had a little smoke fill the house and promptly turned off the AC and it stopped. Called the AC repair and waited 4 hours without Air while he had to completely rewire the inside of the AC. Darn mice! We have tried to keep them out from under the house and the AC, by using duct tape, screen, spray foam, caulk, on every hole, opening, drain we had...and laid our poison, so far so good this past two years.
    We get spiders and frogs in and on our car all the time. Grrrrrrr I heard spiders hate mint, so we put an opened bottle in our shed-so far no spiders-pretty cool! And some under our cabinets at home. Also, mint plants planted around your house helps too, I have yet to do that. But, the bug sprays have helped some.
    But, it sounds like you are doing what they suggested-hope it works! Good luck!

    Thanks for the nice comments on my photos! emoticon
    1939 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/26/2013 12:31:36 AM
    Really! I never have had that problem. Maybe up here they all hide in the garages and wherever warm inside as it gets so cold and in the summer they are out doing their thing. Hope the dryer sheet idea works.
    1940 days ago
    I've not had this problem as I 'live' in my car (or so it seems). I understand that peppermint oil deters the critters and is more up your alley than the dryer sheets.
    1941 days ago
    My sister in law had that happen last year. The bill for the damage by the nasty little critters was $850! She traded the car in for a different model and never had another problem. The only thing I could figure out was that the second car had wires that the critters couldn't get into. You'll have to let us know if you smell lavender when you turn on the fan for air circulation! That would be the only plus that I can think of that could come out of all the trouble you've been through.
    1941 days ago
    We live in the woods and similar rodent/auto problems happen to us all the time. They are constantly eating nuts on our valve covers. They chew on our spark plug wires. Get inside the air cleaner and tear them up. Chew the hood liner up and make nests in it. We have even had them get in the car and make nests in it. The best solution is a cat but they can only do so much. The cat is probably the reason the rodents are hiding in there in the first place.
    1941 days ago
    Never ever thought that could happen.
    I'm glad taht it didn't cost you more than the $99.
    I must mention it my son so that he can be aware. emoticon
    1941 days ago
    Have to say I haven't encountered that problem!
    You have an inventive solution though.
    1942 days ago
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