When most people think of Fall car care, especially in the North, they think of putting on Winter tires, checking the engine cooling system, and testing the battery and charging system. On the other hand, when squirrels think of preparing for Winter, they’re looking for somewhere to stash food and a warm place to build a nest. While prepping your car for Winter, be sure to take steps to keep squirrels from nesting in your car!
Squirrels and Rodents and Cars
Four-legged creatures generally know nothing about engines, transmissions, and electrical systems. In their daily foraging and exploration, though, squirrels and mice are bound to learn something valuable, that cars are warm and dry. Indeed, while trees and bushes are a squirrel’s natural home, the engine bay would be a perfect winter home, if only it didn’t move around so much! Depending on the animal seeking refuge, a car isn’t nearly as impenetrable as we think.
For example, a common field mouse can fit through a hole just 17.5 mm in diameter, smaller than a dime. Of course, squirrels are a bit bigger, but it shouldn’t surprise you that there are holes upwards of 17 mm all over your car and throughout your car. If a rodent can get into your car, it’ll start setting up a home if it feels safe enough. If that happens, you might end up with electrical problems, mold problems, or smell problems.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Car
The key to a rodent-free drive is to make your car as unhospitable as possible. You can’t block most holes, because they’re there for a purpose. Think: air intake tubes, HVAC air inlet, rear vents, etc. Still, there are a few things you can do to keep critters out of your car.
- Clean car. If the engine bay is clean, free of leaves and twigs and other natural stuff, rodents will be less likely to consider it “home.” Similarly, if the interior of your car doesn’t smell like food, animals will be less likely to investigate.
- Screen openings. As mentioned, some openings can’t be blocked, but screens can deter animals from exploring your engine intake and filling it with food.
- Rodent spray. This can be applied to non-heated parts in the engine bay and around the car, suggesting to squirrels and other critters to search elsewhere for shelter.
- Fake snakes. Snakes love to snack on all kinds of rodents, from tiny moles and field mice to squirrels. It’s cold, so snakes are already in hibernation, but squirrels don’t know that. Rubber snakes around your car may deter rodents from getting closer to your car.
Aside from cleaning your car, consider the same for your parking area. Make sure your garage is as unhospitable as possible to critters looking for an escape from the cold. Clean and dust everywhere, spray rodent repellent around entryways, seal holes and screen off vents. If no animals want to get into your garage, they’re less likely to get close to the car parked inside.
Watch his video from car Angel on rodent proofing your engine.