Automotive

$5000 of rodent damage

  • Last Updated:
  • Apr 15th, 2021 4:01 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Nov 18, 2012
16 posts
16 upvotes
Toronto

$5000 of rodent damage

Help?

Twice in the last three weeks, I've had to take my 2019 Elantra in for service due to rodent damage. The first time, they chewed through not one, but two wiring harnesses, the intake for my engine, and a bunch of other stuff. Dealership pulled at least two potential nests out from under the car. Got the car back a week later. One week after that, a bunch more crap starts going off. This time, they chewed through the ABS wiring and caused a bunch more issues and the dealership pulled out an entire branch of cedar from within the car.

Insurance covered $4400 worth of damage the first time, this time around I've paid out of pocket since the bill was just over my $500 deductible.

I've put peppermint oil everywhere I can under the hood. On the recommendation of the dealership, I've got smelly fabric softener sheets under every single mat in my car (and in the trunk). I would use mothballs, but real mothballs are incredibly difficult to find and the newer "mothball packets" aren't made from the same chemical (if you've used them and they've worked, let me know!). The dealership has NOT recommended that chili tape you can get for cars to help with rodents. The other two cars in my driveway have not been affected (both are over 10 years old and don't have the soy-based plastic garbage my car has that seems to attract the wildlife). I drive my car at least once a day but can take it out more often if that'll make a difference.

I live in an established neighbourhood with, you guessed it, lots of trees. Multiple people on my street have had issues with this in the last few years, with repair bills in the thousands. At the rate I'm going, I'll end up with another few thousand dollars of repairs by the time April is over and my bank account can't take it much longer.

There isn't another place to park.
I don't have a garage at my disposal.
I don't have a cat/dog to try and catch rodents.
Traps don't work - the squirrels know how to get into them to get the bait and get back out again.

I'm at my wits end. I need something that's not going to cost me $1000 and that I can get/use now. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
42 replies
Deal Fanatic
May 22, 2003
6751 posts
3680 upvotes
Vancouver
Don't have any solutions for you, but my wife went through this last year when she lived at her parents for a bit after giving birth. Lots of trees nearby and some rodent ate through her wires, causing a few error lights. Dealership just wanted to swap everything, can't remember the exact price quote but it was a lot, I think over $1000. She brought it back to our independent mechanic where they repaired the wires for about ~$200
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4834 posts
3701 upvotes
Argh I feel for you! I've been dealing with rodent issues for a while now too. I was going to suggest peppermint oil but that's really disappointing to hear that it didn't work for you. It has stopped the mice from invading my barbecue. Mice are creatures of habit. You need to do something to change their routine.

Oops sorry I just assumed this was a mice issue but it could be squirrels? I know they go through a period where they chew on non-organic stuff to curb their teeth growth because they're alway growing...they gnaw at my patio Pouting Face
Newbie
Jan 24, 2021
38 posts
9 upvotes
I highly recommend rat baits. Put them at night then take it away from the morning. Or buy two one for eat fronts wheels at canadian tire tom cat rat bait $22 comes with about 12 rat poison. Tie strong rope I forgot what they are called its the yellow strong one get at Dollaroma. At night rolled your car on the rope so it does not go away cause rat will get it and store it their home. Then in the morning take it out. Then put it back on again at night. Moth balls dont work just wasting money on them. If you really want to try moth balls go to asian store you'll find them. Good luck!

rat-rodent-repellent-deterrent-2454861/
Last edited by BlueEagle88 on Apr 12th, 2021 7:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
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Feb 20, 2015
1730 posts
1173 upvotes
Southern Ontario
Get cats. I know they're trouble but you won't have any mice/rats/squirrels/birds/butterflies/frogs anymore.

Cayenne pepper works for me when I get vermin digging and destroying my garden. Have to reapply though. Animals hate it. If you do this, don't get it in your eyes or breathe it in.

Image

Some manufacturers put soy or some sort of food based wiring wrap nowadays and animals eat it. Total screw up by someone down the line.
Deal Addict
Dec 27, 2007
4148 posts
1717 upvotes
Gibsons wrote: Get cats. I know they're trouble but you won't have any mice/rats/squirrels/birds/butterflies/frogs anymore.

Cayenne pepper works for me when I get vermin digging and destroying my garden. Have to reapply though. Animals hate it. If you do this, don't get it in your eyes or breathe it in.

Image

Some manufacturers put soy or some sort of food based wiring wrap nowadays and animals eat it. Total screw up by someone down the line.

I heard about that too!

All these cars parked outside the Denver airport had wires eaten by rabbits

https://denverite.com/2016/11/02/denver ... -eat-cars/
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
16800 posts
18492 upvotes
Oakville
Gibsons wrote: Get cats. I know they're trouble but you won't have any mice/rats/squirrels/birds/butterflies/frogs anymore.
Cat's won't stop them unless you have several of them living outside full time.

OP. You probably want multi-faceted approach. Good trap will work, so I'd start there. Ultrasonic devices can deter, but are no guarantee. Poison is an option but make sure it's where kids and cats can't get at it.
If you can, do what you can to seal off your car. That could mean an underbody shield, or heavy duty chicken-wire. To seal off gaps.
A motion activated sprinkler could also work well.

I once built a squirrelinator when we had problems with them coming in the our house back in college. It basically electrocuted them with 110vac. To my amazement, after only one zap they would never come back again. In your case, a metal mesh net under you car could repel rodents and not be deadly if you use a current limited power supply.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Sr. Member
Jun 21, 2006
826 posts
431 upvotes
pic of engine nest
we were able to find a used harness and repair for customer
its happening even more since most people havent been driving much
Last edited by iGarage on Apr 12th, 2021 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Feb 20, 2015
1730 posts
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Southern Ontario
engineered wrote: Cat's won't stop them unless you have several of them living outside full time
That's what I meant. If the OP at least had a garage, they could try to rodent proof it. That's way easier than protecting it from the great outdoors.

Electrical issues can be horrendous when a vehicle gets older... I'd be looking for another car after that major electrical work, personally.
Member
Jan 3, 2003
418 posts
114 upvotes
Vancouver Island
sneezylisa wrote:

I'm at my wits end. I need something that's not going to cost me $1000 and that I can get/use now. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
My area has the same issues. My mechanic recommended this stuff after he found rat prints in my engine compartment last year:

Doktor Doom Rodent Repellent

So far, (fingers crossed!) I haven't had any problems.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
29313 posts
9889 upvotes
Squirrels are incredibly smart but what I don't get is how are you driving the car once a day and there are still squirrels infesting the car? Are they like hanging out with you on drives? Hanging on for dear life on the freeway?

Did you have the peppermint in there the whole time? Rats/mice are deterred by peppermint but I don't think squirrels care about that, which might be your problem. Sounds like a nightmare.

Maybe setup a feeder for squirrels outside/away from the car? Maybe take their attention away from chewing wires to eating nearby nuts? Or will that just attract more of them? I dunno.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 23, 2003
15466 posts
3759 upvotes
Toronto
would not pouring some ammonia around the area help deter them? I know when I had raccoons in my area, pouring this around the perimeter of my home got rid of those buggers.
Last edited by hightech on Apr 12th, 2021 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
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Oakville
Gibsons wrote: That's what I meant. If the OP at least had a garage, they could try to rodent proof it. That's way easier than protecting it from the great outdoors.

Electrical issues can be horrendous when a vehicle gets older... I'd be looking for another car after that major electrical work, personally.
Yea, garage would be ideal. But how can you guarantee no rodent problems in another car? You'd have to get something 20 years old to be sure to avoid soy based wire insulation.

If the loom is being replaced, maybe having the shop wrap it in kevlar fabric, and then foil tape to help keep them off. Braided stainless wrap would be ideal, but possibly unrealistic.

I did find some nut shells on my strut towers once. I think there were chipmunks looks for a quiet spot to snack.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
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Oakville
ES_Revenge wrote: Squirrels are incredibly smart but what I don't get is how are you driving the car once a day and there are still squirrels infesting the car? Are they like hanging out with you on drives? Hanging on for dear life on the freeway?

Did you have the peppermint in there the whole time? Rats/mice are deterred by peppermint but I don't think squirrels care about that, which might be your problem. Sounds like a nightmare.

Maybe setup a feeder for squirrels outside/away from the car? Maybe take their attention away from chewing wires to eating nearby nuts? Or will that just attract more of them? I dunno.
They're probably just going in there at night, not living permanently. OP should also try to destroy and squirrel nests in the trees around his house.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
Deal Addict
Oct 3, 2013
1684 posts
2441 upvotes
West
Scent deterrents never worked for me when I had this problem years ago - I wouldn't bother. You can wrap the harnesses with laundry detergent sheets, if you want, to act as an extra barrier, but I wouldn't count on the scent scaring rats away.

If you cannot take any other actions to avoid the rat, the only thing that will work is killing it. It already likely has your car "marked" with scent, and will home back in on it whenever it gets a chance. Place baited traps around either side of the front tires, as that's how they jump into the engine bay. Also invest in some warfarin blocks, and place them at various parts in your door jambs, engine bay, etc. Some people also use sticky traps and place it straight on top of the engine block - I never needed to do that, but it's another option.

Make sure it hasn't made a nest inside the air filter box, otherwise it'll definitely keep coming back. Clean up the pee & poop multiple times a day if you have to, though make sure you use an N95 to prevent yourself from catching hantavirus. As the weather warms up, it's unlikely to continue through the summer.

I made a lengthy post here about my experience a while ago: rodents-engine-bay-2402066/

Good luck!
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
29313 posts
9889 upvotes
engineered wrote: Yea, garage would be ideal. But how can you guarantee no rodent problems in another car? You'd have to get something 20 years old to be sure to avoid soy based wire insulation.
There honestly should be some class-action suits regarding this soybean bullshit lol. Like what are these manufacturers thinking exactly? Are they trying to cash in on the hundreds to thousands when the rodents get to this stuff and your car stops working? I don't get it, but seems like someone needs to set these losers straight with a lawsuit.

As for other solutions, I wonder what would happen if you sprayed down the engine bay with insect spray? Presuming it doesn't damage any plastics or the wires itself, would it do anything to rodents? Wouldn't they quickly die after eating that stuff and thus deter them? I know it's all "plant based" mostly but it's still poison nonetheless; plus it might not be too appetising?
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Feb 20, 2015
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Southern Ontario
engineered wrote: But how can you guarantee no rodent problems in another car?
Only a certain handful of cars are mentioned with this, Honda was sued. I guess the Big 3 with their environmentally unfriendly wiring has helped them.

I just read that Honda has some tape they give customers with a hot pepper contained in it.

This just in, the new 2021 Kia's have peanut butter (or Hazelnut) infused soybean wiring casings. I'm joking, but if it would save them a buck, they'd do it.
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Feb 11, 2007
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ES_Revenge wrote: There honestly should be some class-action suits regarding this soybean bullshit lol. Like what are these manufacturers thinking exactly? Are they trying to cash in on the hundreds to thousands when the rodents get to this stuff and your car stops working? I don't get it, but seems like someone needs to set these losers straight with a lawsuit.

As for other solutions, I wonder what would happen if you sprayed down the engine bay with insect spray? Presuming it doesn't damage any plastics or the wires itself, would it do anything to rodents? Wouldn't they quickly die after eating that stuff and thus deter them? I know it's all "plant based" mostly but it's still poison nonetheless; plus it might not be too appetising?
I don't think it was done out of malice. They were probably just trying to green up their image and supply chain. I know Ford was advertising the soy-based foam in their seats.
I wonder if sticky tape would discourage them as well? Probably would have to replace frequently though.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.
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Feb 11, 2007
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Gibsons wrote: Only a certain handful of cars are mentioned with this, Honda was sued. I guess the Big 3 with their environmentally unfriendly wiring has helped them.

I just read that Honda has some tape they give customers with a hot pepper contained in it.

This just in, the new 2021 Kia's have peanut butter (or Hazelnut) infused soybean wiring casings. I'm joking, but if it would save them a buck, they'd do it.
It's kia/hyundai so it will probably burst in to flames if the squirrels don't eat it.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

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