Source: Jordan Yates

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:

  1. Norway Rats (aka Brown Rats) – See article Step-By-Step: How to Keep Rats Out Of Your Car or See Below for More Information
  2. Roof Rats (aka Black Rats) – See article Step-By-Step: How to Keep Rats Out Of Your Car or See Below for More Information
  3. Mice – See article How to Prevent Mice From Eating Your Car Wires
  4. Squirrels – See article How to Prevent Squirrels From Eating Your Car Wires
  5. Pack Rats – See article How to Prevent Pack Rats From Eating Your Car Wires
  6. 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.

Rat Behavior

  • 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

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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Important disclosures: The author of this website is not responsible for the use or misuse of any product or similar product referenced on this website. Please follow the instructions provided with any product purchased.

24 thoughts on “Home

  1. I have a 1996 S10 pick up that I found a rat and nest under the hood it had eaten the hoses, wires and will not start ! I have used peanut butter with sevin dust I put under the hood on coffee filters. It or they ate it and it and it didn’t seem to effect them! They kept getting under the hood and tearing the material off the underside of the hood and starting another nest. I put moth balls and that helped where I placed the moth ball but they chewed in other places. I am now leaving the hood up and I don’t see as much activity. But they are still going into space that is harder for me to see. They have literally caused my life to be put on hold except except for researching a way to be rid of them! I am on a fixed income and can’t afford to have my truck repaired!
    I also have a 2008 Toyota Solara that I use for my main transportation I found a squirrel under the hood and had made a nest the same day. I noticed this when I started the car and the engine light came on. I looked under the hood & that’s what I found!! I tried the same things I’ve tried on the S10 truck. What seemed to slow them down a bit was I put gallon milk jugs cut in triangle cuts around the top & lift the flaps, filled with water and added 6 moth balls to each container. I did check under my car hood often and one new place was toward the front on the driver’s side was two very small black hoses or little tube looking things coming from a black oblong box shaped thing the hose were chewedcompletely into! I also ordered a gadget called Rid a rat cost me $50.50 and placed under the hood. It hooked up to your battery and has a light that blinks constantly. I found it and the wires on it had been chewed where they lay across the battery! The engine light is on and my car is skipping. I drove my car and left home! I can’t deal with it at this time. I have a daughter that’s dealing with cancer and another one with blood clots in the leg and lung. These varmits destroying my vehicles has been a nightmare!! I would appreciate any solid advise on getting rid of them !!

    1. Hi Carol! Wow, thank you for sharing your situation. I will gladly share everything I know in order to try and help you out. And if anyone has any other situations they would like help on, please add a comment as well! Alright let’s get right to it!

      Situation #1, 1996 S10 with rats: I think you have made the right move with leaving the hood up. This is a surprisingly super effective maneuver that is easy to implement and it’s free. In reference to the moth balls, my research that I have been conducting has shown them to have a low probability of success, BUT in some instances they do work. It sounds like they are partially working. So keep the moth balls, though you might want to get a peppermint based spray so that you can get the smell into those hard to reach areas. Rodent defense is what I have been using. Separately, there are a couple routes you could go. If you don’t mind spending a little money, I would highly suggest getting 6 snap traps and placing 3 around each front tire. One on the top, one at the base of the tread at the front and one at the base of the tread on the back (see picture in the snap trap section above). I would say to bait each with peanut butter and I would use the TomCat Rat snap traps which are super easy to set. Rebait once a week. Now I don’t know if you have any cats or pets or small children but obviously make sure they don’t go near the traps once they are set. Ok secondly, do you have a work light and bright flash lights. I would say run an outdoor extension cord out to the car and hang a work light from under you hood at night so that it shines in and obviously still keep the hood up. You could also take the work light and place it under your car. For the flash lights, you could also shine them into the engine compartment at night but I would definitely have them at least shine on the tread of each front tire. So you would place them on the ground have them shine on the tread of each tire. Essentially it would be shining on the snap traps. The rat will not like to run through the bright light to get into the engine compartment. Thirdly, I would suggest getting a fake owl and placing that near the car on the ground. You would want to move it every couple of days. If you really want a long term solution, I would highly suggest getting an outdoor cat. My research has shown that this is absolutely one of the best solutions to have (either that or an owl, but those are more expensive and can take some time to attract one). For more information on exactly what I do, see the article “So I’ve Successfully Evicted the Vermin, Now What?”

      Situation #2, 2008 Toyota Solara: I will fully admit that I am most familiar with rats and how to deter them from cars and I am not very familiar with squirrels. It sounds like it may have been the squirrels that chewed up the rid a rat. To be honest I don’t have any first hand experience with deterring squirrels from cars. I am going to search to see if i can find a legitimate website that seems to be offering good advice on this. From what I know, I would consider introducing coyote or red fox urine but only putting it around the car. These seem to be more effective with deterring rabbits and squirrels versus mice and rats. Separately, the fake owl may be useful where as well. I have also seen good reviews of the Hoont outdoor solar powered animal repeller. Sorry I can’t be a huge help on the squirrels but I will try to search for a good website and then report back.

      Please keep me posted on the progress! Thanks!

  2. The info you posted for Carol was very helpful to me also. I’m having a terrible struggle with rats also. Have been spraying the engine with (can’t recall the name), & it seems to be helping. However a few days ago I started having trouble starting the Van. It has always started the second I turn the key. Then I was thinking maybe I’m getting the battery to wet, or some of the wires. So I havn’t sprayed it for 3 days, & it’s now starting better. Tomorrow I’m going to buy a shop light to out under the hood, & some flashlights to shine on the tires. Glad I live in sort of a rural area, as people would probably wonder why I was leaving my hood up all night, with a light on the engine & flashlights on the tires. Ha Any way, I so appreciated this info. Thank you very much, Mr. Rat King Dave.

    1. Hi Peggy! Thank you for the feedback! That is great to hear that you have found the information useful on this site! Yeah maybe be careful with the spray around the battery wires, though it shouldn’t really effect anything. Certainly keep up the spraying at least a few times each week and definitely leave your hood up. And in regards to the shop light, that would be perfect! Keep me updated on the progress! -RKD

  3. Thanks so much for helping me understand rat behavior. Your articles were key to getting the rats out of my car and keeping them gone! Also, enjoyed the rat video. Get them Rats!!!

    1. Hi Joe! Thanks so much for your nice comments! I’m glad that you found this information to be helpful! Please let me know if I can be of further assistance or if you have any specific questions! Thank you!!

  4. Very interesting blog.
    I really appreciate your work and thanks for creating the awareness on how to keep rat out of the reach of wires. Rats are the becoming the major problem day by day in almost of of the homes of this word. Controlling their growth is not so easy. Like the methods you have mentioned above, there is an option of hiring the pest control service too. Professionals like Sacramento pest control also help in the extermination of the rats and mice by using the organic matters, no matter whether it is car, bedroom, garden or any area of the house. It is really very easy for them to control the pest infestation.

  5. How could I continually feel the rats in my seat cushions and hear them but never see any droppings. Luckily no wire chewing. Also what about an underhood continuous strobe light

    1. Hi Jericho! Wow, that sounds terrifying. I know that car manufacturers have been using bio based products for the foam in seat cushions so I am not surprised to hear this. I am surprised though that you wouldn’t be finding any droppings. Rats continually leave droppings wherever they frequent, so if they are in your car often you would see droppings. It is possible that a female rat has nested inside your car seat and is raising some young in there. When nesting, female rats won’t leave the nest so that would explain why the droppings aren’t so scattered about (though the males will come back to the nest often). Are you seeing chew marks on the cushions? And what kind of car do you have? It is important that you find specifically where the nest is so that you can remove (carefully!) all the nesting material. Check the glovebox as well.

      You might want to consider leaving your car doors open at night. This will leave the inside of your car more exposed to the elements and acts to take away the shelter from the rodents. Shining bright lights on the inside of the car at night and placing bounce sheets everywhere wouldn’t hurt either.

      Separately, you want to do everything can to avoid the rodents from going into your engine compartment. Even if the rodents are already on the inside cabin of your car, you want to make the engine compartment an undesirable place. I would highly suggest leaving your hood up at night, placing snap traps along the tread of the tires (as shown here: https://youtu.be/H3aOa0Pe8kA), and turning your AC vent to circulate the air. For the under the hood strobe lights, certainly not a bad idea because rodents hate bright lights. I wouldn’t suggest using the strobe light by itself though but also combine with leaving the hood up, snap traps, and a peppermint spray.

      I hope this helps! Please keep me posted on progress!

      Thank you!!

  6. I have a 2010 Honda Accord. Did what you said last night. Six snap traps around the front tires, and left the hood open. It seemed they were even more active and I found a lot of snail shells and poop covering the engine. What should I do? Try putting a shop light shinning down on the engine with the hood open? Car is outside.


    1. Hi Din, dang I’m sorry to hear it hasn’t worked so far. I would continue to leave the hood up. I would certainly implement some bright lights into the situation. Shine a light into the engine compartment and take flashlights and shine them on the tread of the tires. If you have a peppermint spray, spray that into the engine compartment or alternatively, place some bounce sheets near the areas where you are seeing the poop/damage. You could also place some bounce eets on the ground level around the tires. Also if you have a fake bird or fake owl, please that at the ground level in front of the car and move it every day to a different spot. Please keep me posted on progress. RKD

  7. RATS ATE MY RAV 4. I’m a senior citizen and my lease is coming to term. My 2015 Toyota Rav 4, less than 16,000 miles, incurred $8000 in damages to the engine wire casing recently. I was planning on purchasing the vehicle when the lease ends soon – but now? Toyota will not negotiate the buy-out amount. The car has been damaged. They placed Downey dryer sheets under the hood. Jeez. Thanks for your guidance. It’s been very difficult for me to deal with here in Northern California. I have to negotiate the lease buyout soon.

    1. Hi Cynthia! Sorry for the delay in my response! Wow that’s a lot of damage..Dang… And, I really hope you haven’t had any more damage since. Dryer sheets are really hit or miss when used by themselves. I suspect that your deductible is $500 since you have a lease and since the insurance carrier typically require comprehensive coverage. This whole soy based wiring thing really puts a damper on having a new car. I know Toyota’s seem to get hit pretty hard by the rodents, but to be honest, all the other major car companies have the same problems. One thing you could do is ask the dealership if there are any models that don’t have the soy based wiring when you renew or go to purchase. In some state the Lemon Law will require the dealership to disclose this if your are interested in buying a car. When you get a chance, please review the step by step methods I use. This will put you in a much better spot than just using dryer sheets alone. Please keep me posted on your battle with the Vermin. Thank you for the comment! RKD

  8. On an old Saturn sedan, I had squirrels chew through the plastic gas tank filler tube. I only realized this when filling up at a gas station and seeing the gas spill on the ground.

    Great site. A modest suggestion: when you publish your web address, camel-case it – that is: HowToPreventRatsFromEatingCarWires.com WWW specs demand that URL parsing is not case-sensitive and it’s a lot easier to read

    1. Hi Bonzo! Thanks for sharing! Oh man, that could be dangerous just leaking gas everywhere. Squirrels are tough to defend against. What did you do to keep them away?

      Appreciate your comment and the suggestion! I will certainly do that. I’m new to creating websites and to add a little back story here: when I first purchased the domain name I actually misspelled it haha! I bought howpreventratsfromeatingcarwires.com and forgot the “to”! I had to buy another domain name haha! Thanks! RKD

  9. For long term storage of a vehicle in rural areas, I LIBERALLY spray the entire undercarrarige and inside the engine bay with expired bear spray. (oil based , not water based). It coats every nook and cranny and surface and wires, everything.

    NEVER had had a single incident of chewing or a sign of droppings from any animal after this treatment, even in the old truck i had parked for a year.

    to prep the truck for coming out of storage, i spray citrus degreaser into the engine aby , let it soak and then rinse it off. This removes the bear spray oils and ensures you can work on the truck without burning hands or eyes.

    hope this helps. Its worked for me

    1. Hi Bushman! I’ve never heard of bear spray. It sounds like this similar to pepper spray? Great to hear that it is working for keeping the Vermin away! Thanks for sharing! RKD

  10. My 2002 Toyota truck was destroyed by a SQUIRREL, not a rat. A normal, cute looking SQUIRREL the kind you see in the city parks.

  11. I live in the city ,I just picked up my car paid $545.00 to fix my car!! The part was only $10.00. What about vinegar would that work to repel those varmints?

    1. Hi Jen! I am not sure about vinegar. I do know though that Rodent Defense is mostly a mixture of water and vinegar, though I am not sure what the purpose of the vinegar is. Please let me know if you have any other questions! Thanks! RKD

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