FAIRFAX, Va. — From worn-out brake pads to transmission issues, there are countless causes for car troubles. Would it surprise you to know that mice could be one of them? In the midst of winter, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is warning motorists that rodents are also a source of strife under the hood, especially in colder weather, posing a threat to both drivers and their vehicles.
“Cars and trucks offer ideal places for refuge for rodents to spend the winter. Once inside, they are insulated from the cold and potential predators, and can easily gain access through vents, steering columns and pedal shafts,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Some automobile brands also now feature plant-based biodegradable materials like soy-wiring, which is particularly appetizing to rodents looking for food.”
Recognizing the signs of an infestation and practicing proper prevention techniques is critical to help keep rodents from hiding under the hood. Common indicators of rodent activity in cars include gnawed upholstery and insulation, chewed wires near the engine and droppings. Vehicles parked in rural areas or near alleys and sewers, as well as those left unused for extended periods of time, are at higher risk for an invasion. To keep rodents out of cars, NPMA and its consumer educational site, PestWorld.org
, offer this advice:
Keep the Vehicle Clean: Paper, tissues and fast food bags can quickly pile up and serve as nesting material for mice.
Promptly Address Moisture Build Up: Water is a necessity for rodents to survive, so a leak in the heater or wet materials left in the vehicle will draw them in.
Eliminate Entry Points: An open sunroof or cracked window is all a mouse needs to easily gain entry to a car. Make sure they remain closed when the car is unattended.
Pay Attention to the Garage: Despite parking in a garage, vehicles can still be at risk for rodents. Take extra measures to ensure the garage is rodent-free by keeping trash cans covered, eliminating excess debris, clearing clutter and caulking/sealing any gaps or openings where rodents can squeeze through.
Check Under the Hood: Rodents tend to build their nests near the engine due to the warmth it generates. Routinely take a look under the hood to ensure invaders haven’t made their way in, as rodents situated here have easy access to crucial circuitry.
Contact a Pro: Take the car to a professional automobile mechanic if a rodent infestation is suspected or found. A licensed pest control professional can assist with a rodent issue in the home.