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Gnawed wires. Damaged upholstery. Foul odors. These are all telltale signs that you may have a mouse taking up residence in your car.
While mice may be small, they can create big problems for you and your vehicle. A single mouse can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your car in a matter of days. And the diseases they carry can be harmful to your health, too.
If you suspect a mouse has made your car its new home, the best course of action is to get it out — fast. Keep reading to find out tips to help you track down any unwanted rodent passengers and keep them out for good – and learn how your car insurance can help if something goes wrong.
How do I know if a mouse is living in my car?
There are several ways you can tell if a mouse is living in your vehicle:
- Car problems: Unfortunately, some drivers first discover a rodent problem after their car won’t start or isn’t working properly. This is often caused by mice chewing through wires in the engine compartment. A mouse or rat will gnaw on wires as a means to sharpen its teeth. And there is some evidence that mice find newer soy-based wire insulation materials to be pretty tasty, too. With so many complex electrical systems in modern cars, chewed up wires are almost guaranteed to cause problems.
- Damaged upholstery: If a mouse has decided to make itself a new home in your car, it will start by looking for materials to build a nest. Lucky for that mouse… plenty of things in your car could work perfectly. If you find holes in your seats, missing chunks of insulation or chewed-up foam, you might have a mouse problem.
- Mouse droppings: Like any pest infestation, finding animal waste is a pretty good indicator that you have a problem. Look for tiny mouse droppings on your car’s carpeting, seat and dashboard.
- Bad smells: If you detect foul odors coming from your car, it may be due to a pest problem. Often, drivers will first detect these smells coming from the vehicle’s air vents. Mice can use the vent system as a tunnel to get from the engine bay to your car’s interior. And vents often provide easy access to insulation and filter materials they can use to build a nest. Over time, a musty odor can develop from mouse urine (gross, we know). And if the smell is really bad, there’s a chance the rodent may have died inside.
- Mouse nest: Finding a mouse nest is the easiest way to confirm your rodent suspicions. The first place you should look is inside your car’s airbox (that’s where the engine air filter is located). Mice love this location because it’s warm and protected from the elements. Open the box and look for signs of rodent freeloaders. The area should be empty and relatively clean, so it will be evident if there’s a nest inside. You should also check under your car’s plastic engine cover, if it has one.