When it comes to rodents like mice and rats, particularly during the winter, many homeowners are naturally concerned about these animals invading the home itself. And while this is a legitimate concern that should be managed, especially if you’ve had rodent issues in the past, there’s another to be aware of as well: The safety of your car, and specifically certain wires that some rodents are known to chew on.
At A-1 Exterminators, we’re proud to offer the very best in rodent control services to clients throughout West Valley City and other parts of Utah, including not just your home itself, but your entire property. Why do some rodents chew on certain wires in your car, which rodent types are most worrisome here, and how can you stop this from happening to any vehicle that’s parked on your property? Here’s a primer.
Why Rodents Chew Car Wiring
There are a few misconceptions out there about rodents and car wiring, including the myth that they’re attracted to electromagnetic signals. The actual explanation here, however, is far simpler.
Rodents are attracted to car wires because they sit within the engine compartment of your car — a warm, safe, and dry spot — making it an ideal location for them to either seek shelter or build a den. Once they’ve made their way into the engine compartment, chewing on these wires serves two purposes: First, they can use your car’s wiring as bedding for themselves, which is quite comfortable. Second, the gnawing helps them wear down their teeth.
As you can see, though, it’s the warmth and protection that’s really of concern here, not the electromagnetic aspect of car wiring.
Types Of Rodents That Chew On Car Wires
Unfortunately, there are multiple rodent types that may chew on car wires if they make their way into this area. Here are some basics on each of them, plus what makes them a threat to your wiring:
- Mice: Because mice are extremely small and can squeeze through some very tight spaces, it’s not uncommon for them to make their way into your engine compartment. Moreover, because they’re often carrying the bacterium Salmonella, you’ll want to exercise extreme caution when removing these rodents from your car.
- Rats: These are likely bigger than mice and may chew on your car wiring for more of the above reasons. But rats are especially dangerous because they may carry the Hantavirus, which can cause severe respiratory issues in humans. The mice/rat distinction depends on who you ask, but both rodents are equally dangerous here.
- Squirrels: While squirrels may seem much larger than mice or rats, lots of that is fluff — they’re actually pretty tiny, and again can make their way into your engine compartment pretty easily.
- Chipmunks: Chipmunks love warmer climates and love to make nests in attics. They tend to be slightly larger than mice and can quickly destroy your wiring.
Extent of Possible Damage
While the exact potential for damage in your vehicle depends on both the sort of rodent that invades it and the make and model of vehicle, many rodents cause significant damage to cars over time. In most cases, the damage is from chewing on the wires that leads into your car’s engine compartment, but in some cases, they’ll also chew on thicker cables and even some plastic parts of your engine.
Of course, rodents aren’t known for their neatness and will often leave droppings all around where they chew, which can lead to damage as a result. Costs for removing and repairing the damage caused by rodents may vary widely depending on what’s damaged and how much of it, of course.
If you have recently discovered damage to your car, you may wonder if it will be covered by the warranty on the vehicle itself. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen, perhaps with the exception of some cases where rodents have also chewed through hoses or hydraulic lines underneath your car.
This is because in most cases, this form of damage is considered preventable and thus not covered by the warranty. This includes damage caused by rodents and even damage caused by your pet left in your car (or, if it’s hot outside, on a hot day).
Prevention And Removal Of Rodents
In many ways, preventing rodents from invading your vehicle and chewing on its wires involves similar themes to protecting your home from rodents. Here are some simple tips:
- Limit entry points: The single most important element for protecting your vehicle from rodents is making sure that they can’t get into it and that they can’t chew through wires. This means keeping them out of the engine compartment at all times, but also not leaving your car doors open for long periods of time (either accidentally or on purpose). If there are any gaps or holes in your car where rodents might get through, seal them up to prevent future infestation.
- Remove food sources: If you see any rodents around your vehicle while it’s parked, remove their food sources by getting rid of things like bird seed and garbage that rats and mice often eat.
- Clean regularly: Just like in your home, mice and other rodents tend to leave droppings around areas where they’ve been, so be sure to clean your car every now and then.
- Set traps: You can also set simple traps around the outside of your vehicle to kill or remove rodents that are already there (although this is generally more recommended if the problem has already popped up).
- Hire professional help: If you’re concerned about rodents entering your vehicle, it is best to consult with a pest control company like our team at A-1 Exterminators. We’ll be able to assess the situation and tell you what we can do for you.
For more on protecting vehicle wires from rodents chewing on them this winter, or to learn about any of our pest control services in West Valley City or any other part of Utah, contact the pros at A-1 Exterminators today.