“Rats in a Car!” Not so sure Samuel L. Jackson would be inclined to play a lead in this movie, but for many of us, we have already played a role in this saga. We see many cars with rat damage, mostly to the electrical wiring, but occasionally, nesting and obstruction of vents or air induction for the engine. That odd unpleasant smell could be a rat or evidence of a rat visiting your car.
Rats love our cars and trucks. Every vehicle we have is a refuge from the elements and predators. Car-loving rats are just trying to make a living, but at your expense. The space under the hood is dry and warm, with many superbly comfy nooks and crannies to rest and possibly, raise many little rat families. Wiring and hoses offer an entertaining chew toy, nest building material and something smells edible. Many insulating components for wiring have a soy based component that is a powerful attractant. Anything that is wrapped or insulated, may be sending a come and chew-on-me signal to armies of hungry rats. When you park your car and turn-in for the night, your car is advertising comfort, food and safety to rodents.
A rat infestation can be generational. Once they find a home, their family and friends are welcome and they advertise, with a vengeance. Every rat leaves a trail and like ants, they create a path for other rats to follow. Although you may have effectively evicted one rat or family of rats, they have left a bright neon sign that says “Vacancy!” to all the other rats that may happen to cross paths with your vehicle. A good scrubbing and pressure wash with cleaning agents may help turn that neon vacancy sign off and close your car or truck to future rat tenants. But, you can only hope. Don’t leave you vehicle untended for long periods and even over short periods, don’t pass on an opportunity to open the hood and look for signs of an unwanted guest. Rats leave calling cards everywhere they visit, you’ll know.
We see many cars that have been homes to generations of rats and often without the knowledge of the owner. Rats have their natural place, but cars are not natural and the consequences of unknowingly maintaining a rat hotel can be unnaturally expensive. Because they love wiring insulation, chewing through and damaging the wiring can suppress performance of electrical components. In some cases, kill the engine. Replacing or repairing rat damage can be very expensive. A long-term rat presence will eventually generate an unpleasant odor. Don’t let this happen. The cost is ridiculous and the clean-out is unpleasant.