9 Simple Ways on How to Prevent Rats from Eating Car Wires

Rodents are known for eating peoples’ and animals’ food supply and building nasty nests in the household. These tiny animals further destroy your vehicle by chewing plastic, hoses, wires, and other critical parts in your vehicle. And rodents such as rats, squirrels, and mice love to stay in warm places, and the car engine offers a great environment, especially during winter.

Rats also like to make nests in dark spaces with crannies and nooks, making your car engine an ideal place. The car engine not only provides protection but also has several components where mice can nibble and trim their teeth. Rats are the most common rodents in most homesteads, and thus we shall concentrate on how to prevent rats from eating car wires.

The rodents chewing your car wires result in major car issues such as headlights and sensor malfunctions. Rodent damage to car wiring cost is relatively high, and the process of replacement is complex and lengthy. Luckily, we have plenty of techniques to keep these nasty animals away from your vehicle.

how to protect car from rats home remedy

Why Do Rats Eat Car Wires?

Rodents love to stay under the hood next to the car engine’s warmth. When the vehicle remains parked for long, they will probably create nests and have babies. Apart from the warmth, the car has wires that interest these animals. There are several misconceptions and myths about why do rats eat wires in cars.

Some people believe that car wires are made with soy and other organic materials that taste good to the rats. Others believe that rats are attracted by the electromagnetic signal emitted by vehicles. Both statements are just fallacies. Biologically, rats’ teeth keep growing and get too sharp and long.  

They, therefore, chew car wires, plastics, and other things since they need to keep their teeth trimmed. Car wire damages caused by rats are pretty significant and will affect all models irrespective of the model or make. Some companies have rodents chewing car wires insurance under comprehensive coverage. It is, however, more prudent to prevent the risk before it happens.

Read Also: How to Keep Mice Out of Garage?

Is It Common for Rats to Eat Car Wires?

Car owners will agree with me that rat-caused car wire damages are quite common. Rats, like other rodents, will always look for places they can survive. Car engines offer a secluded, warm, dark space to build their nests and store food. When in the engine, these rats chew the components around, including the car wires.

how to prevent rats from eating car wires

Ways to Prevent Rats from Eating Car Wires

As we have seen above, rodents will chew your car wires as they try to trim their long sharp teeth. This damages your vehicle’s components leading to expensive repairs. The question now is, how do you keep squirrels and rats out of your car engine. Here are multiple ways to keep rats away from your vehicle:

1. Use Mothballs

Mothballs are one of the most effective ways of keeping cats away from your car. It is also the cheapest and fastest solution to prevent rats from getting near your vehicle. Mothballs are non-toxic to humans, but rodents and pests do not like them. Scatter mothballs around the car and under the engine bay. Mothballs may leave an unpleasant smell in your car, but you can use an air freshener.

2. Rodent Defense Spray

Spraying rodent defense in the engine components prevents the rats from eating the car wires. In the beginning, spray the engine parts approximately 3 to 4 times a week. After about two weeks, you can reduce this to two to three times a week.

Rodent defense sprays are made with natural peppermint designed to deter rats and other rodents from eating wires in the vehicle. Rodents use their urine to mark food, location, and paths safe. The spray confuses the rats about their safety in the engine by making it difficult for them to detect their urine scent.

3. Essential Oils

If you find rats eating your car wires, the first thought is what natural ways you can use to keep them away. Plant extracts and essential oils are quite effective in repelling rats. Put some cloves, wormwood, eucalyptus, or peppermint oil around the vehicle and under the hood. Repeat the process repeatedly for several days to get optimal results.  

4. Electrical Gadgets

The market is full of electrical gadgets that one can use to deter rats from their vehicles. Consider devices that vibrate or produce a sound that rodents can hear but are inaudible to humans. Most of these gadgets are motion-sensitive and are the ideal option to prevent nesting. The advantage of using electric gadgets is they are a one-time solution.

5. Special Rodent Tapes

Special tapes have been explicitly designed to protect your car wires from rodents. One of the best rodent tapes is from Honda but does Honda rodent tape work? The tape feels and looks like electrical tape. It is treated with an active component of chili peppers known as capsaicin which keeps the rats away. Wrap the tape on the wiring under the hood or any other area where the rats seem to visit.  

6. Use of Light

Rats prefer nesting in dark places and cannot sleep in a lighted place. It is therefore advisable to switch on the lights of your garage or park your car in a well-illuminated area. Leave the vehicle’s hood open to ensure light gets into its hidden crevices. This will keep the rats from hiding and nesting in the hood or engine.

You can also keep some bright lights on the front two tires’ treads. These lights prevent rats from climbing on the tread of the tires. If possible, lay out 4 flashlights on all the tires to protect the front and back of the vehicle. Another alternative is to put a light under the vehicle’s hood at night.

7. Keep your Parking Clear

Looking for how to avoid rats in cars naturally? If you park in a garage, ensure it is clutter and litter-free. Unattended boxes and trash provide an excellent environment for rats to hide and breed. Also, ensure that the garage is well locked, and there are no spaces where rats can pass through. If you do not have a garage, avoid parking your vehicle in or near grassy areas.

8. Run the Car Regularly

Rats will mostly nest in unused vehicles. Therefore, if you are parking your vehicle for a long time, turn on the engine frequently. Leave the engine to run for some time, even when not going anywhere. This is a good way to prevent rats from turning your engine into a breeding ground.

9. Use Rodent Repellants

The best rodent repellent for cars is made with strong tastes and smells that deter rodents from getting in your vehicle. The best thing about these repellants is that they do not damage the wires. Spray the repellant in the car’s engine bay, and they will drive the rats away.

Some people may advise the use of poison. Let it be the last option as much as it seems to be a good idea. A rat may die inside the vehicle, leaving a foul odor. The other downside is that if a predator feeds on the dead rat, it also gets poisoned.

what attracts rodents to car wires

How Can You Tell If Rats Have Been Eating Car Wires?

The most common signs that rats have been eating your car wires are scratches, droppings, nests, urine stains, and roughly gnawed holes in the non-metal parts, especially in the engine. If you see the holes in the non-metal parts of your car, it is most likely that the rats have damaged other vehicle parts too.

Some indicators will show if there are damages inside the vehicle. They include the vehicle failing to start, malfunctions in the electrical display, or check-engine light is on. When rats first move in your car, you note indicators such as foul odor, tiny pieces of paper hidden in hard-to-see places, and a reduction in sound and heat insulation in the engine.

If you note any of these signs, take action immediately. Rats cause severe safety and health risks. Debris and nests prevent the engine from functioning when driving. On top of that, rats carry various diseases that can be transmitted to humans through the ventilation system.

What Should You Do If Rats Are Eating Car Wires?

Once you realize that rats have been eating your car wires, the recommendable action is to take the vehicle to an auto repair shop or call a professional. Trying to fix the wires yourself may cause more damage exposing you to further safety risks. Most professional mechanics are trained and experienced in dealing with rodent-caused damages.

After repairing the vehicle, take preventive measures to avoid a repeat of the same. Use rodent repellent for car engines or the other methods discussed above to keep the rats away. Ideally, call the pest control services to deal with the situation. The service providers are trained to deal with pests and offer you a long-lasting and effective solution.

Final Words

Rats have become a menace in most households. Rats love to stay, nest, and breed in dark areas, and the car engine is an ideal place for them. The car engine features several components made of wires, plastics, and pipes. Rats chew these wires and other car parts while trying to trim their long, sharp teeth.

Some techniques on how to prevent rats from eating car wires are using mothballs, rodent repellant sprays, electronic devices, and rodent tapes. Also, avoid leaving food or food wraps in your car since they attract rats and cars. If you notice that rats have already eaten the wires, take the vehicle to a professional for repair.

Purity Wachira

Hi, I am Purity a researcher and technical writer since 2015. I hold a Masters in Supply Chain Management working in an automotive company. I am a resourceful lady with vast knowledge and interest in vehicles. My enthusiasm for cars drove me to more research, and the more information I got, the more I felt the need to share the knowledge through writing. My biggest win is to leave a positive impact on the automotive field and solve people's problems through articles, product descriptions, and product reviews.

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