The summer driving season is almost upon us, and unfortunately a certain percentage of car owners are unlocking their garage doors to discover that the car they have lovingly stored all winter has been victimized by rodents. Mice and other pests such as squirrels and rats – and in England, martens – can cause significant damage to a car as it sits unattended for weeks and months at a time. Issues can range from wiring chewed to pieces in hard to reach places behind the dash or in the engine bay, to torn up seats, headliners and carpets. Nests and droppings are another problem, and the smell left behind by a mouse infestation can be very difficult to get rid of.
How can you keep this from happening to your classic while it lies dormant during the colder months? The key is to cut off access. Mice can’t do damage if they can’t get into your car, so it’s important to make that as difficult as possible for them. This means thinking like a devious little rodent and visualizing all of the unlikely ways that they could use to gain entry to your vehicle.
For example, to prevent your muffler’s insulation from being chewed up or choked by nest making, you can block the tailpipe with steel wool – something even rat teeth can’t gnaw through. Make sure to do the same thing with the vehicle’s air intake. Underneath the hood, you can wrap wiring in plastic or something thick to serve as a chewing barrier. Make sure to do the same to the thick spark plug wires, if possible, as they are frequent targets. The judicious spreading of mothballs in the trunk, floorboards and engine bay is also a good idea.
Finally, a good car cover that tucks underneath the vehicle’s body work goes a long way towards keeping critters outside where they belong. Some people even go so far as to lay down poison, spray peppermint extract and hot sauce on the floor around the vehicle, or buy ultrasonic noise emitters to drive pests away. If you can, check up on your car from time to time to see how effective your efforts have been at preserving its pristine condition – it’s the best way to avoid springtime heartache.
Does anyone have any pest-control tips of their own when it comes to protecting a stored vehicle?