How to deal with rat invasion under the hood

Our tech guru has the answer
by Ferman Lao | Oct 3, 2011

Hi, Ferman!

We have a problem regarding rats. They have been biting the wires inside our car. At one point, we smelled smoke coming out of the car. Good thing we were already near our house when that happened.

We’ve brought our car to an electrician thrice to fix the wiring. At one point, we were even forced to rewire the whole system.

We’ve also used those plug-in devices designed to repel rats but we haven’t been successful in getting rid of the rodents.

What’s the best way to get rid of them and to finally solve our problem with the wires? Thanks!

Ramon

Hi, Ramon!

You may think that your problem is strange or unique but you are actually not the only one with an automotive-related rodent problem. In fact, I've been asked about it more than enough times over the years.

Here are some things that you can do to avoid having it happen again.

Use the car more often. Vehicles that are immobile for long periods of time or those which are not being used often are the ones that usually encounter this problem. After all, rodents may find it comfortable to live inside a non-moving home.

Keep your surroundings clean. By clean, I don't mean it has to be spotless. Just keeping the immediate area around your car free from clutter, food, debris and junk is enough. With clean surroundings, there is lesser chance for rats and mice within the vicinity to find their way to your car. You'll also prevent other pests from taking residence in the area.

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Get the engine bay detailed. The idea behind this being is to remove any odor that may attract rats and mice to your engine bay. Sometimes the scent of food and other odor from the hands of people who've worked recently in the engine bay may attract them. Getting the engine bay detailed will, at the very least, get rid of some of the scent that may have been left behind by both man and mice. This also includes urine, which animals use to mark their territory.

Set traps. Don’t bother with flypaper; they won’t be able to hold rodents that are big enough to chew your wires. A gum- or gel-type trap will do a better job. Place these in areas rats may use to reach your engine bay. Apart from traps, poisoned baits may also work. Just be sure there are no kids in the household that may mistake them for candy. Do note that if the area surrounding your vehicle is clean and clutter-free, there should be no need for traps and baits.

Season your car. Sprinkling your engine bay with pepper may do just the trick for you. Rodents have a more sensitive sense of smell and pepper will serve as an irritant to keep them away.

I hope these tips work in keeping your engine--and your entire car--rat-free!

Best regards,

Ferman Lao
Technical editor

Do car problems keep you awake at night? Seek solutions from TopGear.com.ph's Motormouth Online by emailing topgear@summitmedia.com.ph.

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