Mice in the car can be more that just an annoyance. They can cause thousands in damage when they chew away the insulation on wiring.
Q. It is happening again. I have uninvited guests. I’m getting mice in my car. Several years back I had a Honda and the mice ate the wiring and the anti-lock brakes wouldn’t work. So far there has been one sighting and “evidence” that mice were in the car. My car spends part of the time outside and part of the time in my small barn, what can I do?
A. Rodents have very good sense of smell. The first thing you need to do is make sure the interior of your car is clean of anything that can attract critters. This includes, food wrappers, half-eaten candy bars, banana peels, Goldfish, Cheerios and even soda cans.
Mothballs are a go-to for a lot of people to keep mice away, I prefer oil of spearmint or oil of peppermint which to me certainly smells better. I have seen teabag size pouches at hardware stores that contain these oils. You can hang them under the hood or place them in the car.
Some people tell me Bounce dryer sheets tied under the hood and slivers of Irish Spring soap placed under the seats work, but others report that the mice chew those and use them for bedding.
In the garage start with moving any food or water source, this includes trash cans. Once the garage is clean, seal any holes. Even the tiny ones. A mouse can easily crawl through a hole the size of a dime. Expandable foam and steel-wool works great to block holes especially around pipes.
If this still doesn’t work, you may have to resort to poison or traps. Keep in mind if you see one mouse, you probably have many more. Inside the building you can try some of the repellent products that contain predator urine that are available commercially. Readers have told me they have had good luck with Shake-Away and PredatorPee.
One reason that we are seeing more damage by rodents is that vehicle manufacturers are moving away from petroleum-based foams and plastics to more environmental soy-based materials. This has become such a problem that Honda at one time issued a technical service bulletin that recommended wrapping wiring harnesses with a special rodent-tape to help prevent the problem. You can buy this tape online.
If none of this works get a big cat, falcon or some other raptor.
John Paul is senior manager of public affairs for AAA Northeast. A certified mechanic, Paul tests dozens of new cars each year and also hosts a radio show on AM 950 wrolradio.com