With the winter swiftly approaching, you’re likely already worried about mice finding their way into your home. However, experts warn that your house isn’t the only place you should be protecting yourself from rodents. Since the underside of the engine compartment of your car is open, any creature can climb right up and make a home under the warmth of your hood. And while this could happen to anyone, there are some things you might be doing—or not doing—that could be attracting mice to your car. Read on to find out what experts say could be the cause of a mouse infestation in your car.
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If you’re not driving your car, you could be attracting mice, experts warn.
There are a handful of reasons you may have a car sitting idle—you have a spare vehicle, you’re working on the car, or you just haven’t been driving as much during the pandemic. But the unfortunate truth is that your car quickly becomes the ideal spot for mice to call home if it never leaves the driveway.
John Burkhauser, certified master technician and director of education at Bolt on Technology, says to discourage rodents from moving into the hood of your car and chewing on essential wires, which can lead to pricey repairs, you need to drive the vehicle regularly.
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To deter mice, park your car in a well-lit area.
If you are going to leave your car sitting in one spot for a bit, experts suggest parking it in a well-lit area. Jordan Foster, pest management expert at Fantastic Pest Control, says rodents don’t like bright lights, so they’re likely to avoid your car if it’s near them.
He also notes that you should try to avoid parking in areas that attract mice themselves, like “unkempt gardens, deep shrubbery, piles of firewood, sewer lids, or trash cans full of garbage.” Parking in a well-sealed garage with the lights on is optimal, Fosters says.
Avoid keeping any food—whether for humans or pets—in or near your car.
You may have a few snacks in your car for the road, or you may park your car in a garage where you store extra pantry items—but whatever the reason, if you do so, you’re attracting mice. “It’s unnecessary to make it easier for mice to find food; they are exceptional at finding it,” warns Foster.
He says even something as minuscule as a forgotten ketchup packet from a fast-food run can lure mice to your car. Mice also love birdseed and dog food, which is often stored in the garage or outside, so try to keep it far away from the car, Foster says.
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Place dryer sheets in and around your car if you’re not driving it for a while.
Some smells that we find enjoyable are ones that mice find repulsive (which may not be a huge surprise considering these creatures love garbage). That’s why Burkhauser says you should use scent-based products to repel mice. Pest Kill suggests dryer sheets since they’re cheap and easy to use—plus, while mice will hate the smell, you and your passengers will love it.
A passionate car owner explained to Hagerty Car Insurance that when he stores his car, he lays the sheets all over the interior, under the hood, in the trunk, on top of the tires, and in the exhaust pipe. When he’s ready to drive, he collects the dryer sheets and tosses them. “Not only will there be no mice, but the car will also smell like it just came out of the dryer. Works great for me!” he said.
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