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Mice have been giving car owners fits for decades. These small creatures continue to find ways into vehicles and cause chaos without any sign of stopping. So how can you keep them out of your car? We did some research and found the answers that you need.
Here are five things you can do to prevent mice from entering your vehicle, or fix the problem if they already got into the car:
- Don't store or park in places near grass or wooded areas.
- Set up mouse traps in your vehicle.
- Place mice repellants inside like human hair, dog hair, or cedarwood.
- Open your car's hood when it's parked indoors.
- Get rid of all food sources.
But there's a lot more to this topic than just keeping them out. Our following sections will discuss all those questions that might be rolling around in your mind. We'll prepare you for every situation imaginable when it comes to these small rodents and cars.
How and Why Do Mice Get into Cars?
People often make the mistake of thinking their cars are protected from mice when it's locked, and the alarm's on. However, mice have ways to get into any vehicle. Their small size makes it easy to squeeze through tiny openings.
Mice will usually crawl up from under your car's engine and adventure into other areas. These four areas tend to be their most common entry points:
- Pedal shafts
- Steering columns
- Any holes around cables
The reason behind mice wanting to get into cars is simple. It's an excellent place to hide away from predators trying to eat them. Your vehicle provides them a safe area to wait until the predator moves onto another food source.
Mice will also enter cars because they're near a valuable food source like garages with pet food inside them or dumpsters. In these situations, your vehicle ends up being an excellent shelter to protect them when eating their dinner.
Some people don't help matters and leave food inside their cars. It doesn't even take more than a few crumbs to make your car appealing to a mouse. This issue is why it's essential to keep your vehicle as clean as possible.
The warmth provided by your vehicle's engine could be another reason for a mouse moving into your car. Mice don't do well in the winter months, which makes them look out for warm places like your car.
What Other Rodents Can Get Into a Car?
Mice aren't the only rodents looking for a nice car where they can sleep and make a nest. Rats, squirrels, chipmunks, gophers, and many other critters might find themselves venturing inside vehicles. Each one can cause a whole slew of issues that a car owner doesn't want to experience.
What Kind of Damage Can Rodents Do in a Car?
If these rodents do enter your vehicle, the number of issues that can arise is unbelievable. These little animals could chew on your vehicle's air filters and wiring, making them need replacement. You might also notice a smell of urine through your vents. Neither of the situations sounds too appealing.
The problems don't stop there. Rodents could do a lot of damage to your car's upholstery through chewing and nesting. These creatures are known to carry disease, which makes having them in your vehicle very unhealthy. These diseases include leptospirosis, hantavirus, salmonella, and many others.
A rodent's presence inside a car could affect your driving skills, as well. There's nothing more distracting than a rodent running around your feet when driving. This situation could become dangerous quickly.
Best Rodent Repellents for Cars
Commercial products made to repel mice, and other rodents do exist. You can buy these products either at a local car shop or online. These items are usually labeled as repellents and come in a lot of forms. Here are some examples that we consider the best available.
1. Loraffe Pack Under Hood Animal Repeller
This rodent repellent works by emitting a combo of LED flashlights and ultrasounds. The combo will stop pesky little critters in their tracks and ensure your car remains animal-free. You connect it to your vehicle's battery using two wires, and it's ready for work.
2. Exterminators Choice Rodent Defense Vehicle Protection
Exterminators Choice's Rodent Defense Vehicle Protection is one of the easiest rodent repellents to use. It's a simple matter of spraying it anywhere that needs protection from rodents. This includes places such as your wheel wells, wiring, and engine compartment.
3. Natural Elements Rodent Armor
The Natural Element Rodent Armor contains a peppermint formula, which mice can't stand. It's another spray option capable of working on wiring, engine compartments, and wheel wells. You'll find it useful in other situations like protecting your home, boats, and much more.
How to Keep Mice Out of The Engine Compartment?
The car's engine compartment or engine bay is the last place a person would want mice nesting. This area is where your engine located and needs to containment-free. But the warmth and darkness provided by this area are very appealing to these rodents.
As a result, let's look at some ways to help keep them out of your vehicle's engine compartment.
- Place copper wire screens over your engine compartment's openings. These screens will deter mice and rats due to them hating the taste of copper. But please consult with a mechanic before sealing your engine compartment's openings.
- Remove any nearby shrubbery or stop parking near greenery. It offers mice a hiding place and increases the possibility your car will soon become a nest.
- Don't let your car sit around unused. You must drive once it awhile to discourage mice from seeing it as uninhabited.
- Check for mice activity regularly. This includes popping open the hood to inspect for any nesting inside your engine compartment.
How to Keep Mice Out of the Heater?
Figuring out a way to stop from mice getting inside your car's heating system is essential. Their presence inside your car's heater could cause it to stop working. It could also blow their nest's particles into the air when you turn it on.
You'll end up breathing these particles in and possibly making you sick. But don't worry, the methods mentioned above should take care of this problem without issue.
How to Keep Mice Out of the Car Cabin Filter?
Keeping your car cabin filter free of mice is crucial because it's a critical element in keeping your car's air fresh. It prevents issues like pollen, bacteria, dirt, and dust from entering your car's HVAC system.
Many of the steps taken for keeping mice from the engine compartment will stop them from entering the cabin filter. But one additional tip would be placing dryer sheets inside it. These dryer sheets will make your car smell nice and repel mice due to them disliking the odor.
How to Get Mice Out of Car Vents
Your car's vents tend to offer easy access for a mouse to get inside. These vents will then act as passageways for the mouse to adventure around your vehicle. Their trips around your car will create a noticeable odor.
This odor will be unpleasant and make driving a nightmare. Thankfully, you can fight back against the mouse and get rid of them using certain scents. A good example would be peppermint as it smells terrific, and mice hate it.
You can utilize this to your benefit by using peppermint essential oils and mint-scented cleaners inside your vehicle. It'll drive the mouse crazy and make sure they soon exit your car's vents.
Pine-Sol would be another useful option. Soak a few old towels in pine-sol and leave them around entrances to the vehicle. We suggest cleaning your car's dashboard and other areas with it, too. It'll get rid of the mouse's smell and push them out.
But whatever you decide, avoid killing the mouse at all costs. A mouse dying inside your car's vents will evoke a smell impossible to endure. It'll also increase the possibility of you contracting a disease.
Cleaning Mice Urine From the Inside of Your Car
Mice urine can bring forth a smell capable of making any car unusable. If your vehicle becomes a victim of its awfulness, cleaning it will become a necessary task. It will be time-consuming and laborious, but these five steps should guide you through it.
1. Take Precautions
It would be best if you took precautions before cleaning up a mice infestation. For instance, you should wear rubber gloves and a respirator. Use them to get rid of any droppings and nesting materials found inside your vehicle.
2. Pull Out The Interior
The next step is removing everything from your car. You should start with the seats and then move onto the entire carpet. This might be a little tricky as some carpets are glued in place. But if you want to remove this awful odor, it does have to come out. But do it carefully because you might be able to place back into your car later.
3. Locate and Destroy All Mouse Nests
After removing the interior, it's time to get into your car's firewall and dashboard. This task might be less or more tricky, depending on your vehicle's model and year. But getting into these areas is crucial as it's usually where a mouse will hide a nest.
This hidden nest will often be right on your car's heater core. Mice love positioning their nets here because this small radiator provides a cozy spot for relaxing. If one isn't there, you might find a nest in your A/C system or heater fan.
Finding this nest is vital to ensure the urine smell doesn't come back when the climate control system is used. You should keep an eye out for chewed wiring, as well. Mice love to chew on wires, tear apart carpet pads, and shred fiber-based sound deadener to build these nests.
4. Clean or Replace Everything
Mouse urine has the terrible habit of soaking into your car's carpet and the carpet pad underneath it. Replacing a carpet pad isn't a big deal as these products don't cost much. But a new carpet is costly and could be quite a financial burden. However, your carpet might be still usable.
We suggest steam cleaning the carpet yourself or having a professional do it. If you do have an expert do it, it'd be wise to have them clean the rest of your car's interior.
Someone doing the job themselves should look into buying a product "Nature's Miracle."This item contains an enzyme capable of breaking down those odor-causing molecules. It should be available for purchase at supermarkets, pet stores, or online.
Use the solution and let it soak into your carpet. It's best to do this outside your vehicle. Once it's finished soaking, you should hang the carpet outside for a few days. It'll let the sun and fresh air draw out the smell.
It would be best if you then put it into a plastic bag or small box for a day. If the carpet still has a lousy odor, it's time to get a replacement.
Anyone who's found signs of mice being under their dashboard will need to clean this area, too. If you found a nest on your heater core, a thorough scrub down with cleaners will be required. This will ensure any dried urine will get removed from all the core surfaces.
For more information on how to clean your vehicle if you have leather seats, check out our post.
5. Reassemble Your Car
The final step is to reassemble your car with the new or cleaned parts. Put your carpet and pad in, reinstall your seats, and reconfigure the dash.
We hope our article answered all your concerns about dealing with mice inside your vehicle. But if you do have any more, post them in our comment section.