How to Keep Mice and Rats Out of Your Car (& Other Rodents)

Mice, rats and other rodents can cause serious damage to the car's electrical system and therefore you must keep them away from your car. Here's how to keep them away with a few simple steps

How To Keep Mice And Rats Out Of Your Car

The last thing you want to happen when you take your car out from the garage after a winter-storage is to realize that it has been a home for rats or mice during the winter.

As soon as rodents invade your car, they begin to nibble away at the insulation of the car’s electrical wiring. This can lead to short circuits, which can fry control units or other expensive electrical parts.

When they feel comfortable enough in the car, they also use the car’s gaps to store food. Rats and mice hide in small spaces in the engine or cabin of the car, and from there, they begin to breed.

But can you keep them away, and exactly how you can do it? In this article, we will talk about everything you have to know about how to keep mice, rats, and other rodents out of your car.

The best way to keep mice and rats away from your car is to leave the doors and hood open. You should also eliminate food sources around the car and it’s a good idea to move your car regularly. There are also some products you can use to keep them away.

You must understand that the rodents live in your car because it is comfortable for them, so to get rid of them, we need to make it as little comfortable as possible for them.

Here is a more detailed list of 10 ways to keep rats, mice, and other rodents out of your car.

1. Leave the hood open

Open Hood Car

The favorite place for rats or mice to live in is in the engine bay close to the engine. They like to use the engine’s air filters air box as a place to store their food, and they can take the hood’s isolation as material for their house.

What you can do, to not let them thrive under the hood is to let the hood stand open. You can also open the airbox for the air filter if you know how to do it, to ensure they will not thrive there. Don’t remember to install it again when you take out your car again, though.

2. Leave doors open

Open Car Door

If they are not living under the hood, they will live in the cabin of the car. This is because it is windproof and a protected area for them, which also often holds a good temperature.

Inside the car, there are many places to thrive, so you need to make them not thrive. If your car is protected from water and wind in the garage, you can leave the car doors open to prevent them from living there.

This is by far the most effective method, but you must remember that you can’t do it if there is a risk that it will rain into the car or if you have a garage with high humidity. Only do this if you have your car inside of a protected garage.

3. Eliminate food sources around the car

Stuff In Garage

Food droppings attract rodents, and they shouldn’t be in the garage near the car in the first place. It could be a piece of pizza that hasn’t been eaten, cat or dog food, or your favorite candy bar.

If you plan to store your car for a long time, you need to make sure there are no food sources in the garage where your car is standing because if they are in the garage in the first place, there is a big risk that they will live a better life in the car.

You can also vacuum your car and the garage carefully to remove all food leftovers before you make your car ready for long-term storage.

4. Remove Hiding places around the car

Trash In Garage

Another good way to keep them away from being near the car in the first place is to hide any hiding places near the car. It can be clothes or trash lying on the floor.

Do not let anything lay on the floor; hang it up instead, if possible, to make sure they will not have any good homes to live in during the storage. Do not put shoes on the floor near the car either, because they will probably like to live in them.

5. Move your car regularly

Move Car In Garage

A car that stays parked for weeks or months will have a much higher risk of attracting rodents. If the car has been standing in the exact place for several weeks, the rodents know that no one will disturb their houses.

Move the cars to different positions every month or as often as your can, to make it a little bit lesser chance for them to be comfortable there.

6. Make your car smell bad

Car Smells Burning Rubber

There are some repellent products that you can use in your car to keep mice away. Peppermint oil has a strong smell that many people find pleasant, but rodents do not like it. You can soak a cotton ball in peppermint oil and place it strategically where mice hide.

If you do not have peppermint oil, cut Irish spring soap into small pieces and wrap a string around it. You can then hang it in the hood of your car, and it will act as a rodent repellent. Other deterrents are pine sol, cayenne pepper, and self-defense sprays.

You can use many different products, and I do not have any scientific proof that they work, so try it out and check what works for you. You can also do some more research here: Smells that mice and rodents don’t like.

7. Do not store any stuff in the car

Trash In Car

Do never store any clothes or other stuff in your car while you have it parked for a long time. By keeping everything in the vehicle organized and clean, you eliminate rodent breeding grounds. Take a bag of your sports clothes and take them out of the car after use.

By letting your clothes lay in the car, it is also a big risk that they will use the cloth as a material for their home, which will also destroy your clothes.

8. Block Entry Points

Car Rust Hole

The car has different entry points for rodents. The way through the cabin air filter into the blower motor is a common way for them to go into the car.

Another way they often come from are the ventilation holes in the trunk. These are there to let the overpressure out that occurs in the cabin when you close a door.

However, if you let the car doors stay open, as we mentioned earlier, there is, of course, no idea to block any entry points.

9. Electronic gadgets

Rat Repellent

Technological progress has led to the development of electronic products that generate a small ultrasound that keeps rodents away.

The Electronic devices can be connected to the car’s cigarette lighter or the garage’s electricity plug. The sounds generated by the device make the car uninhabitable for rodents but are not noticeable for humans.

There is a lot of discussions if these devices work or not. However, they are often quite cheap and it could be worth a try.

10. Mouse Traps

Mouse Trap

If you already have mouses in the car and you want to get rid of them, the only thing to do is to catch them with a mouse or rat trap.

These have been in use for centuries, but their use has been replaced by new biological chemicals that are more effective. If you still like to catch mice the old-fashioned way, you can buy one or two mousetraps. Make sure you place the mousetrap away from the motor and in dark areas where you suspect mice are multiplying.

Be careful when handling the mousetrap, as it can damage your fingers or your pet. You can also choose to use sticky mouse traps. These have a sticky surface that traps mice. Once caught, throw the sticky mice away.

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Written by:

Magnus is the owner and main author of MechanicBase. He has been working as a mechanic for over 10 years, and the majority of them specialized in advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting. Certified Automotive Diagnostic Technician.