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auto maintenance January 06, 2018

Keeping Critters from Making a Home in Your Car

Northern Virginia is home to lots of people — and lots of little animals who find their way into our homes and cars. Sometimes, we encounter rodents, their nests and/or waste in a customer's car. This is not necessarily an indicator of the cleanliness of the customer. Vehicles ranging from luxury cars parked in expensive condo garages to work trucks parked out doors at the construction sights have all been affected. 

The rodents are not necessarily locals. Not unlike the fictional story of the Rats of Nihm there has developed a class of vehicle nesting rodents. Just imagine a motor home at the local grocery store has a field mouse scurry out and into the bushes, this mouse hopped on at the Grand Canyon. The motor home drives away as the mouse scurries into the local landscaping. You pull in to get some milk, it's late and getting cold, our desert-born mouse is cold and dashes up your tire and under your hood, finds its way to the air filter and the heater ducts where he has lots of neat wires to chew on, lots of insulation and filter material to make a cushy bed, as well as a nice warm heater to keep him toasty.

Two weeks later your vehicle is in the shop and an unwitting tech pulls out the air filter to find a hole chewed in the air filter and now is at risk of contracting rodent-based diseases from the southwest!

Another and sometimes more compelling reason to address the rodent/vehicle problem is financial. Wiygul Automotive Clinic has done repairs that range from $90.00 nest extraction to over fifteen hours of labor repairing chewed wires and engine control parts. We have been forced to remove dash boards to get at a nest in the heater ducts.

Ways to avoid rodents

Here are some ways you can keep rodents and other critters from making a home in your car:

  • Avoid parking near wood piles, garbage cans, near shrubs or tree lines. 
  • Avoid leaving open food containers or trash in your car.
  • use hot pepper, dryer sheets, strong soap or moth balls.

Use common sense when applying these techniques — avoid possible fire hazards or introducing the deterrent to your passengers. The idea is to make your vehicle less inviting than the critters natural home.

Be aware: keep an eye out for any signs of rodents! We can't stress enough for you to inspect and re-inspect your vehicles.

If you discover rodent signs early, damage and health risks can be minimized or prevented.

Important: If you suspect that your car has a rodent infestation or have discovered a nest, you should contact Wiygul Automotive Clinic so that we can suggest a safe, healthy and professional extraction procedure and professionally inspect the area to ensure no damage has been done.

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