Welcome to Howtopreventratsfromeatingcarwires.com!
First of all, thank you so much for visiting my site! If you are dealing with a rodent issue in your car, I want you to know that I have been in your shoes. I know first hand how seriously frustrating this issue can be and I can speak to you from experience (see My Story page).
I created this website with the intent of helping as many people as possible who are dealing with rodent damage to their cars. I want to be clear that there are affiliate links to Amazon on this website where I will receive a commission for purchases made through them, though there will be no additional cost to you. Please only make purchases through these links if you have found the information here to be helpful. Alright, let’s get to it!
Important Note: If you want to get straight to the point (essentially if you don’t care about the “why”) and want step by step instructions on how to keep Norway Rats and Roof Rats out of your car. See Step-By-Step: How to Keep Rats Out Of Your Car
There are 6 types of rodents that may be getting into your car:
- Norway Rats (aka Brown Rats) – See article Step-By-Step: How to Keep Rats Out Of Your Car or See Below for More Information
- Roof Rats (aka Black Rats) – See article Step-By-Step: How to Keep Rats Out Of Your Car or See Below for More Information
- Mice – See article How to Prevent Mice From Eating Your Car Wires
- Squirrels – See article How to Prevent Squirrels From Eating Your Car Wires
- Pack Rats – See article How to Prevent Pack Rats From Eating Your Car Wires
- Rabbits – See article How to Prevent Rabbits From Eating Your Car Wires
This Home page is dedicated to methodology that serves to protect against Norway Rats and Roof Rats. Please see the appropriate article for the type of rodent you are dealing with. If you don’t know then see the article How to tell if a Rat, a Mouse, or a Squirrel is chewing your car wires?. The strategies for defending your car are pretty much the same for each but there are subtle differences.
Now..Let’s get them RATS!
To initially organize this coup and retake the throne that is your car, you must first know your enemy. Here is a quick run down of your enemy profile, The Rat.
- Rats are habitual. They like to run along the same paths, eat at the same places (2-3 places), eat the same foods, etc. This is even true to the extent that if a rat has a normal path that typically has an object in it’s way, even if the object is removed it will still run around it as if it were still there.
- Rats are very cautious. They will initially eat small chunks of a new food source to determine whether it is safe or not. They cannot vomit so they will eat a small bit first to see if they get sick. Rats will also be deterred from places/situations that are not familiar. Paths that are marked as “safe” will have signs (e.g. rat droppings, rat urine, chewed up bits of paper/objects) that the other rats can detect.
- Rats are sneaky. They prefer to stay concealed/in the dark and will always prefer to run alongside a wall or under foliage/covering.
- Rats pee on EVERYTHING. This is their way of marking territory, showing that food is safe to eat or if this path is safe to take, etc. Rat piss is the equivalent of an identity card. Other rats can tell information about that rat based on the pee (age, gender, size, etc.). A rat nest would essentially glow under a black light.
- Rats have terrible eyesight. They rely on their sense of smell in order to determine if something is safe, and their whiskers to navigate their environment. Though they are limited by the clarity of their vision, rats can see ultraviolet light and this can help them in spotting their urine.
- Rats are omnivores, meaning they will eat both plants and meats.
- Rat teeth will continually grow, so they are always gnawing on objects to try and keep them at a manageable length. If their teeth get too long it can be fatal.
- Rats live in colonies of 8-15 and they can reproduce 6-8 new rat babies every 22-24 days! When weather shifts or food sources are scarce, alternative shelter may be sought out.
Now that we have a basic understanding of our enemy, we need to determine why they are taking shelter in your car.
Top 3 Reasons Why Rats Are In Your Car
- Shelter: Especially during the winter months, rodents will leave their burrows in pursuit of warmer shelter that could also act as a potential nesting grounds. The engine compartments of cars presents an ideal location for these purposes. It is warm, dark, dry and full small nooks that could be perfect for a nesting space. If this is the case, you will see bits of shredded material in a nook or corner of the engine compartment. You will notice rat droppings as well and a black light would reveal a serious amount of rat urine.
- Chew Toys: As mentioned previously (in the enemy profile) rat teeth continually grow all their lives and the engine compartments of cars can provide tons of wiring and tubing that rats can enjoy to keep their teeth at a manageable length in a concealed environment.
- Food: Most newer cars have soy-based wiring, which can provide a nice snack for the rat. See article Does your car have soy based wiring?
So now that we know the behaviors of our enemy and the reasons why they are camping out in your car, let’s devise a plan to evict these squatters!
Before we get started I want to make it crystal clear that the instructions below explain the EXACT steps and products I used (and continue to use!) to successfully protect my car against rodents. This methodology factors in rodent behavior and psychology which makes for a very high probability of success.
Exactly How To Prevent Rats From Eating Your Car Wires
What you will need:
- Tomcat Rat Snap Traps (6 traps per car)
- Rodent Defense (i.e. peppermint oil spray)
- Bright Light (4 Flashlights or 1 Shop Light)
- Optional: Fake Owl
Step 1: Leave Your Hood Up At Night
At the first sign of damage or rodent droppings in the engine compartment, it is essential to leave your hood up at night. You should do this for the first 1-2 weeks every night and then 2-3 times a week once you feel comfortable that there are no more rodents visiting your car. This essentially eliminates the engine compartment as a potential nesting grounds by taking away the warmth, allowing more moisture to enter, and exposing it to more light.
Step 2: Place Tomcat Rat Snap Traps on the Tread of the Front 2 Tires
You will need 6 snap traps total and 3 will be placed at specific locations on the tread of the front 2 tires. Here is video to show exactly where to place the snap traps.
When rodents enter the car, they climb up the tread of the tires so this essentially will block off the entrance to the car. I use the Tomcat Rat Snap Traps because they are super easy to set (i.e. I don’t feel like I am going to lose a finger when I set them), their design makes it almost impossible for a rodent to take the bait without setting off the trap, and they get the job done!
Step 3: Spray Rodent Defense into the Engine Compartment
In the first 1-2 weeks, spray the engine compartment 3-4 times a week and then reduce to 2-3 times week once you haven’t noticed any new signs of rodents. Rodent Defense is an all natural peppermint spray that was specifically created to deter rodents from chewing on the wires in cars. The purpose of the spray is to confuse the rodent on the safety of the engine compartment by making it more difficult to detect the scent of their urine. As mentioned above in the enemy profile, rodents use urine as a way to mark paths, locations, food, etc., as safe.
Step 4: Shine Bright Lights on the Tread of the Front Two Tires
As mentioned in the enemy profile, rodents always prefer to stay concealed and hate being in the light. The goal of this solution is to deter the rodent from climbing up the tread of the tires by forcing it to walk through a spotlight to get into the car. It would be best if you laid out 4 flashlights on the ground level and shined them on the front and backs of the tread (i.e. essentially you would shine them on the snap traps that are at the bases of the tread). Alternatively, you could take a shop light and shine that under the car at night.
(Optional) Step 5: Place Fake Owl on the Ground Near the Car
This is more the cherry on top, but I have always used a fake owl in my lineup. You can just place it at ground level and move to a different spot every few days. To be honest, it’s effectiveness is unknown, but it makes me feel more comfortable.
I want you to know that we are in this battle together and I can certainly be a resource for you! I hope that the information I have provided has been helpful. It seems more and more people are starting to have this problem and it is important to take action ASAP. Please leave a comment to let me know how these solutions are working for you and/or if you have any questions. Thank you!
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