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ANSWERED on Thu 8 Dec 2011 - 2:40 am UTC by JD Umiat

Question: Rats & mice in car's engine compartment

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 7 Dec 2011 05:17 UTCWed 7 Dec 2011 - 5:17 am UTC 

Please explain how to keep rats & mice out of a car's engine compartment.  My house is in a rural area with no garage.  Rodents migrate from nearby farms seeking new shelter.  I do use traps and catch some, but eventually one will make it to the car and chew up everything in the engine compartment.  Things I have already thought of are: build a garage (can't); coyote urine (didn't work); "Irish Spring" soap (didn't work); electrify the car itself to shock them (can't); put a ring of fire around the car (too hot).




 7 Dec 2011 08:24 UTCWed 7 Dec 2011 - 8:24 am UTC 

I've heard in the past that mothballs deter rodents (although I don't believe it!) and also that if you soak cottonballs in peppermint oil and put them in and around the engine compartment that really does get rid of them.. there's also poisoned baits you could use aswell.
Good Luck!




 7 Dec 2011 12:12 UTCWed 7 Dec 2011 - 12:12 pm UTC 

Welcome to Uclue.

Just a bystander's comment, not an "answer":

Here in Germany, it is martens  - not mice or rats -  that cause such problems.
You might look at the suggestions on German language websites found with: 
"auto marderschutz"  - without the "" -  using google's translator.

Good luck!


JD Umiat 


 8 Dec 2011 02:40 UTCThu 8 Dec 2011 - 2:40 am UTC 

Hi, justcurious!

 Wow! I have parked my vehicles outside for years beside open fields and never had this problem. I have also parked vehicles in garages with mice and rat activity. I don't know how I escaped problems for so long. However, just the other day my check engine light came on mysteriously after my car had been stored outside in a relative's yard for a month, and now I am wondering if a mouse got in there!

 I have compiled a list of suggestions after checking over numerous sources. Each one has it's pros and cons, and they work for some people and not for others. Since you don't have a garage and I get the impression you don't want to use poisons since they can hurt other animals, I have narrowed my suggestions down to those which seem to have the most success.

This first suggestion is the most innovative and might be the best solution to your problem.


 Here is a great article on creating a physical barrier for your vehicle when you don't have a garage. Make sure you read through to the bottom where the writer shows how to remove the rear board when you want to drive the vehicle! It might prove to be too much of a hassle if you drive everyday, but if you are innovative, it just might work.

Mice In Cars? A Hastings solution: the car corral 


Here are 3 safe, easy ways to persuade those rascally rodents to spend their winter elsewhere.

* Clean out the vehicle or car, and the storage building. Remove all food that might attract rodents, which usually feed within 20 feet of their nest. Get every one of those sunflower seeds that wound up under the car seat.

* Remove any nearby source of water. Without a supply of food and water near your car, your battle's almost won.
* Finally, place a proven rodent repellent in the vehicle's cab and trunk and under the car hood to drive away freeloading mice and rats. Fresh Cab botanical rodent repellent is the only proven, EPA-registered rodent repellent created specifically for enclosed spaces like a car, tractor, or RV. Fresh Cab is Good Sam Club Member-Tested & Approved for campers, and USA farmers have bought more than 4 million Fresh Cab rodent repellent pouches to store their expensive equipment over the winter.



According to a professor of wildlife management at Cornell University, mothballs and cayenne pepper do not work in outdoor areas. He suggests another approach in this NY Times article about rats and car engines.

"Professor Curtis is skeptical of both of those simple approaches, saying, "They have almost no effect in outdoor applications." He said maple syrup producers used a product called Millers Hot Sauce that repels animals like rats, mice and deer. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/29/nyregion/29rats.html

 Will Miller Hot Sauce work to repel rats and mice from your car's engine? It is commonly used to repel deer, but I guess it is worth a try. I would call the company and ask them if it is safe to spray on your car's engine parts.


This spray is supposed to eliminate the odors that attract rodents back to an area time after time by eliminating feces and urine odors. Most posts I have found seem to be from the manufacturer so I have no idea whether it actually works. However, it is certainly worth a try.


 Rodents like darkness. Eliminate that and you might have a solution.

 "We raise the hoods and clip on a bright light to shine all night on the engines. It is the only thing that seems to work." http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2199792/wildlife-and-your-car


"Other simply leave their hoods open, eliminating the darkness and privacy sought by invasive mammals."

"I live out in the country, with rabbits, mice, rats, kangaroo rats, owls, hawks, coyotes and bobcats. I think if I put them all under the hood there wouldn't be any problem smile.gif but I had two instances of my Chevy Astro, a Volvo, and a Chevy Cavalier being chewed up (wiring and hoses), before I found a solution. I gotta tell you, I was amazed that a mouse could chew completely through a battery cable! So anyway, after replacing several wiring harnesses, dangling poison bait under the hood, traps, a $40 ultrasonic pest repeller, and cussing, I found a solution.
Park with your hood up. No kidding, it actually works."

 1. Peppermint oil (not extract) the theory is that the rats do not like the smell and will avoid it. I would assume sprinkling it around the engine cavity may also cause the scent to drift into the car so if you do not like peppermint I would not suggest it.

2. Bounce dryer sheets- the original scent. For the same reasons as stated above. Put them in the engine away from moving parts or parts that will be hot.

3. Also worth a shot and cheap to try: I have a friend who works around the country and travels in an RV. He told me that he always brings Ajax scouring powder with him and spreads it out under his RV before parking. He claims that it deters both rodents and ants. 

Others sprinkle peppermint oil on cotton balls and place them under the hood.



 Use the Guardfather to hold the peppermint oil-soaked balls


"A couple of little bags of mothballs under the hood - the mothballs outgas and make the engine compartment (and other nooks and crannys) intolerable to critters. The problem I found with this method was that when I turned on the AC in the car, the mothballs could soon be smelled from inside the cabin. Whether you have this problem will depend on where your cabin air-intake is. My solution (since my intake is situated poorly for this trick) is to put the mothball bag on a cord, so I can easily take them out before driving the car, and put them back under the hood when I’m parking it for a few days. It’s worked so far."

 You can also try sprinkling mothballs on the ground underneath your car.


"garden stores sell granular or powdered pure sulphur. Mice, roaches and other vermin hate the smell. Cut an old pillowcase into 8" x 8" squares and put a spoonfull of sulphur in the center. Gather the ends and tie into a small pouch. Place these bags around areas that may have a mouse or bug problem."


"Wire damage commonly occurs when a vehicle isn't being driven for long periods of time or when it's near a vibrant population of gnawers. Soy or no soy, the first step, as I've mentioned before, is to make sure you're not inadvertently putting out the welcome mat by making other food sources readily available.

If food isn't the problem then we need to look at humane ways to ask the local fauna to leave the car alone. There are any number of techniques that will do the trick... at least for a while. But the same adaptability that allows certain wild species to survive and even thrive in close proximity to humans also causes them to habituate quickly to our scare tactics. Here are some ideas:

    Noise, such as a portable stereo.
    Strobes or other blinking lights.
    Balloons or aluminum pie plates tied to the underside of the vehicle.
Make wires less tasty by spraying with capsaicin, the chemical that makes hot sauce hot. This won't get rid of them permanently, but it may buy you some time to clean up and make the car less attractive to rodents."

I certainly hope that some of these suggestions help. Please let us know whether you have any success.

Good Luck!



rick suddes 


 2 Jan 2013 10:22 UTCWed 2 Jan 2013 - 10:22 am UTC 

Spray Rataway Fragrance to protect from squirrels, mice, rats, rabbits damage....spray the engine, firewall, hood insulation, belts,wiring works very well when used often! safe around children & pets..


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