If you decide to put away your vehicle for an extended period of time, the last thing you want is for mice, rats and other rodents to make themselves at home inside of your vehicle's engine bay. Rodents can wreak havoc by chewing away wiring looms, stuffing air intakes full of bedding material, and leaving behind other debris. To keep this from happening to your vehicle, here are a few tips you can use.
Raise the Hood and Leave It Up
This sounds contrary to what you should do when keeping a car in storage, but there's a logical reason behind this unusual tactic. The idea is to keep rodents from finding a dark, warm place to nest. Keeping the hood up leaves your engine bay out in the open, preventing rodents from having a safe and cozy area to feed and nest in.
It might not always be possible to leave your hood up when storing your vehicle, but it should be done whenever possible. Just remember to disconnect the battery so that the hood light doesn't remain on and drain your battery.
Use Ultrasonic Deterrents
While the human ear is relatively limited in the range of sounds it can perceive, rodents have a much keener sense of hearing. This can actually work to your advantage when it comes to keeping rodents at bay. Ultrasonic pest repellents are designed to emit high-frequency sounds that can only be heard by certain animals, including most rodents. The noise emitted is usually annoying enough to drive even the most stubborn rodents well away from its source.
There is a catch, however. Some rodents can actually acclimate themselves to the ultrasonic noise if given enough time. This makes ultrasonic pest repellents a relatively short-term solution that should be used in conjunction with traps and other forms of rodent deterrence.
Use Strong Odors to Your Advantage
In addition to sharp hearing, rodents also have a keen sense of smell. As a result, certain odors that smell quite pleasant to human beings may be extraordinarily overpowering for rats and mice. These odors include cinnamon, peppermint, cedar, mint and garlic, just to name a few. For instance, you can dab a small amount of peppermint oil or cedar oil on a few cotton balls and place them in various spots throughout your engine bay.
Mothballs can also keep rodents well away from your engine bay. Unfortunately, the smell of mothballs is also quite unpleasant for human beings. Not only that, but mothballs can also be quite toxic to human beings, as well.
Plug Those Holes
Your vehicle's engine compartment is littered with plenty of small holes and other access points that rodents can squeeze through. These include the air intake and wheel well vents. Not only is it a good idea to keep your vehicle on jack stands to minimize the chance of rodents getting into your engine bay, but you should also close off as many holes and small entrances as possible. Some of these holes can be blocked off with masking tape, while others can be screened off with wire mesh.
It's also a good idea to seal or screen off your exhaust pipes, just to make sure rodents don't have another way to get into your engine compartment.
A Clean Car Is a Pest-free Car
Last but not least, you should have your vehicle thoroughly cleaned just before you put it in storage. In addition to cleaning the interior and exterior, you should also have the engine compartment thoroughly cleaned of all debris, including dead leaves, branches and pine needles. These and other debris can easily be used as nesting material by mice and rats.
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