Pest-Proofing: How to Keep Mice out of Cars

Many of us are used to carefully pest-proofing our homes, but sometimes we don’t think about pest proofing our cars. However, depending on how old our vehicles are and how we treat them, keeping our vehicles carefully pest-proofed can be just as important. Thankfully, answering the question of how to keep mice out of cars is relatively easy with the right prevention techniques, which we’ll cover in this article.

Why Mice?

Mice hide in vehicles to escape the rain, cold, and wind. They also use cars for their nests and to avoid predators. As such, it’s essential to make your car as unattractive to mice as possible. Smelling a dead mouse in your vehicle can be gross, and seeing one alive can be scary in the best of situations. What’s more, mice are ridden with disease, and they can damage delicate components of your car if left unchecked.

Dealing with a mouse infestation after the fact is never ideal. What’s more, seeing a mouse or rat hanging around your vehicle is often a sign that an infestation has already begun. It’s essential to be vigilant and preventative in your approach instead of reactive, or you could end up investing much more money and effort in fixing the problem.

Unless your mouse infestation can be attributed to an accident or a bad repair job, it’s unlikely that car insurance companies like Geico will cover the damage. As such, prevention is everything when it comes to rodent infestations. Taking some small steps to prevent them from causing trouble in the first place will save you money and hassle down the line.

Rodent Vulnerability

Mice are able to squeeze through holes the size of a U.S. dime, so if they’re bound and determined to make it inside your car, they will do so rather easily. Common entry points for mice in vehicles include:

  • Cable holes
  • Cracked windows or sunroofs
  • Vents
  • The steering column
  • Pedal shafts
  • Rust holes

Keep in mind that older or used vehicles may have more openings for mice to exploit. The vehicle make and car manufacturers may make a difference, too, so it’s advised that you do your research to see if your car might be especially vulnerable. For example, a Ford from a specific manufacturing year might be more susceptible to mice than the same model from a different year.

Some car manufacturers use soy in some of their materials in an effort to make them more environmentally-friendly, and these products are thought to be especially tempting to mice. It’s worth taking the time to do some research to check whether your car is especially vulnerable or not when you purchase it. If you do this, you will know the most vulnerable places in your vehicle in advance, too.

Resources like Autocheck can help you find out if the car has been in an accident in the past, which can affect its vulnerability to mice, too. It’s unlikely that a rodent infestation will be present on a car’s history report, but it’s always worth a look just in case.

Safety Precautions

Before tackling your rodent problem, always make sure to take proper health precautions. You should invest in gloves, masks or respirators, disinfectant, and garbage bags before you try to tackle an existing infestation. The CDC also recommends that you wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with a rodent infestation, even if you were wearing gloves while handling.

Rodent Prevention

When it comes to the question of how to keep mice out of cars, making your car unattractive to mice is an excellent method to dissuade them from entering or nesting in your vehicle. The first step in making your vehicle unattractive to mice is to clean up any food or debris you keep inside the car. Mice are attracted to old food, and they enjoy hiding beneath junk or detritus. As such, keeping your car clean is an essential first step to eliminating their presence.

Sealing any openings into your vehicle, of course, is the next logical step in mouse-proofing your car. However, it’s next to impossible to find every dime-sized opportunity in or around your car that they could exploit. If you have a persistent mouse problem, this step may be necessary to kill the infestation once and for all, but if you don’t, making sure the windows are closed all the way may be good enough.

Logically, the next best thing to sealing up any entry points in your car is to keep it in a safe, secure garage. Even if your garage sees the occasional mouse, a car parked outdoors will be at much higher risk than one parked in a solid garage. Having a cat around that can patrol your garage or property can be a nice bonus, but be careful that the cat doesn’t find its way into your engine, too!

If you cannot keep your car inside a garage, make sure you go out and start it every few days. Leaving your car unused for long periods of time is an excellent way to invite mice and other pests inside. Not only will running the car deter mice from nesting in the engine, but your own scent will also make mice think twice about entering your vehicle since your scent says “predator” to them.

There are many commercial repellant options on the market if you need a little extra oomph to keep your car clear of intruders. Scent-based repellants are usually quite effective, but if you’re not a fan of these, other electronic repellents are also available. These rodent solutions use sound, vibration, or light to make your car a less desirable place for mice to be.

Light can be effective at deterring mice in general, too. If you can spare the extra charge on your electricity bill, try leaving your car in the garage with the overhead light on. You might think about leaving the hood open during this exercise, too. This light should make any mice present rethink their choice of home, and it should keep mice from seeking shelter in the engine, too.

Fixing an Existing Problem

While prevention is far easier and cheaper than solving an existing rodent problem, eliminating a rodent infestation is definitely possible. The first and most logical step to take is to place mouse traps in your vehicle, of course. Place these traps in any places where you’ve seen mice, and be careful to tell children to stay away from any traps or poison that you place.

Mousetraps come in many different varieties, and their price can vary widely depending on the variety you choose. The simplest mouse traps start at $1, while humane catch-and-release traps can go up to $20. Which trap you choose should depend on how you wish to handle the mice and your budget.

Placing rat poison may not be the best idea in cars, since a rat or mouse can take the bait, then die in an inaccessible location in your vehicle. When this happens, you may be subject to the scent of a dead critter until you can get a professional to remove it!

If all else fails, there is always the option of selling your infested vehicle and starting over with a new one. However, you likely won’t get a good value for the car if you’re selling it with an active infestation. If you do decide to cut your losses, though, AutoTrader is an excellent tool that can help you sell your current vehicle, find new truck prices and car prices, and start over with something new.