Rodents in your vehicle…a real trauma

Our very own Jon Chartier has begun a monthly series of automotive-related articles…enjoy, more to come!


This month in ask Jon, I’ll be talking about an issue we’re seeing more and more; rodents in your vehicle. This time of year, they’re doing their best to find a warm home for the winter. Traces of mice and chipmunks under the hoods of cars and trucks has been common forever. The critters make nests using a multitude of materials from in and around your car. Some of these items are insulation, wiring, loom materials, paper items such as air filter media, cloth items, newspaper, and natural items such as grass and leaves. They chew away at just about anything. I’ve seen wiring and hoses chewed. I’ve even seen air intakes so clogged with mice debris the engine will not start. Another part of this issue is when these little beasts get into the interior of the car. Many people leave their windows open when they park in their garages. This is an open invitation for the little creatures. Also, more commonly, they are entering through the air ventilation or HVAC system, whose intake is located near your windscreen wipers. On newer vehicles, the air is filtered by a cabin air filter. It is easy for them to chew a hole through this filter and make their way into the car through the heater box and vent tubes. In the worst cases, I have installed a piece of metal screen over the cabin filter to stop them. This screen can easily be reused each time the cabin filter is renewed. It is not uncommon for the little monsters to g et caught in the blower fan. If the fan is running with them in it, it will cause them to suffocate and die there. Aside from the smell, the heater system will need to be disassembled to get the carcass out. My best suggestion to avoid all this is to keep your car clean. A mouse’s life revolves around its hunt for food. Don’t make it easy. Leftover food, wrappers and even crumbs on your seats and carpets is what they’re after. If you do end up with these critters in your car, you have a few options to rid them. Sticky mats and traps are a great method. You can also use electronic deterrents that plug in near your car in the garage. These units put out a signal that they can’t stand. We see birdseed issues all the time, so having a sealed container to store it in is critical! Prevention is way less costly than the repairs to the damage they can cause. If you have any questions about your car or even a curious car question please email me at the link below. Feel free to stop by Garry’s service center and say hello!

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