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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:59 pm 
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Location: Seattle, Wa
Rodents- rats, mice, squirrels - like to chew wires, insulation, plastic, and can do serious and expensive damage to a car.

A 2009 Subaru Legacy started running badly.
Under the hood, there was a nest of leaves and debris.
And the wiring harness and many other wires had been chewed.
But this rodent, or rodent family, also gnawed into the radiator coolant, windshield washer, and brake master cylinder reservoirs, also the air intake system, the battery positive terminal cover, and the power steering hose.

Why
Warm engines on a cold night invite mice.
They need to chew to keep their teeth from growing too long.

Avoid the problem altogether
Park the car in a garage or on concrete.
Park away from vegetation, brush, trees, lawns etc
Open the hood so the engine cools faster
Get a cat.

Solutions I read about online.
Visit your local garden, nursery or farm supply store for some more good ideas as well as various traps, poisons, and scents to drive away varmints.
Try these at your own risk. Don't use poisons where any children, pets or other animals could be accidently harmed.

Put mouse traps all around the car
Mice reportedly don't like the smell of moth balls, so hang a sock, stocking or mesh bag full of them under the hood
Put rat poison around the car, but keep it away from pets.
Stuff copper mesh all around the engine but keep away from open wires.
Get 2 cats.
Sprinkle cayenne pepper power around and under the car.
Some people say to spray peppermint oil, rosemary oil, bleach and water, vinegar and water, cat urine, or coyote urine on or around the engine compartment. Farm supply stores might carry coyote and cat urine. The problem is the car will smell like it when you drive. Rosemary might be ok, but cat urine..?

I also read that stuffing Bounce brand fabric softener dryer sheets around the engine might help keep mice away. Not sure why or if only Bounce but regardless, remove before driving or you'll have another problem- fire.
Get 3 cats.
Stay up all night, sitting near-by with a pellet gun at the ready.
Buy a large tangle of wiring, place a distance from the car, run a wire and light bulb to it for warmth so the rodents will go there instead of your car.
Buy a pregnant cat.

See many more photos here
http://www.cars101.com/rodent-chews-an-engine-compartment.html


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:06 pm 
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That is some very impressive rodent damage.

Here are some of my rat stories and what I did about them.

I have worked for pest control companies in the past.

The best method, of course, is one you do yourself.

Be careful handling dead rats. Use common sense, wash your hands, and don't let a dead rat lie around. Keep a good supply of traps - you may go through 6 or more! Throw it out as soon as possible, preferably no more than a few hours after being killed. When i would hear a trap catch one, I would wait 30 minutes to be sure it was dead, and throw it out right away - and reset the trap for more!

I have had rodents chew a water line to a fridge ice-maker, and cause a flood.

When I shut off the water supply to the fridge, they started chewing on all the other water supply lines in the house. They caused another flood, at which point I had to shut off all the toilets and sinks in the house.

After that, it took over a week to get the rodents (I'll tell you how in a moment).

Before I got rid of them, all the plastic supply lines in that house looked just like those plastic parts inside that Subaru. It was incredible.

When the problem was solved (2 dead rats) and the plumbing fixed, we went to do a load of wash.

They also chewed through a water supply line inside the clothes washer, causing one final flood - from their rodent graves.

Here is my suggestion on how to handle this:

Buy regular green rat poison (not mouse poison) from a Home Depot or Lowe's. Do not buy the more effective types, such as the yellow bars from Ace Hardware. You do not want to kill them with the bait; the bait just tells you they are still around and that there are more to kill. More importantly, the bait makes them thirsty.

At Home Depot, buy the rat traps that have small cups (about the size of thimbles) in them. Don't fill them with peanut butter - fill them right to the top with water. Do this carefully, with the trap set, with an eyedropper. It will take maybe 25ml of water.

The rats will eat the bait, go for the water in the traps which you put within a foot of the bait, and that's it.

In one location, I killed 8 rats in a week this way. About one or two a night.

I was sure no more rats were coming because the bait would not be touched any more. I would put fresh bait blocks out so it would be easy to tell.

I wanted to be sure I killed all the rats that I possibly could; the ones that trained themselves to come into the house. Because they won't quit trying, and they will show other rats (and their babies) the way.

Only then did I concern myself with "rodent proofing" as best I could.

Rats are super smart, and stubborn. They will find or chew another way in if you block one entrance. If you shut off water supply lines they will stubbornly continue to chew. My guess is they started drinking windshield fluid in that Subaru and continued chewing everything in sight after that point.

That's my story, hope it helps.

And thank you for such a great Subaru site.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 3:59 pm
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Location: Seattle, Wa
Hi. Great tips, thanks.
The technicians see rodent damage pretty often especially when its cold, and they have to clean it up. That's a dirty, germy task.

Hadn't thought of them inside chewing wires (start a fire) or plastic pipes (flood).
I have an indoor cat, not sure she'd be any good at catching them though, she'd have to wake up first. Lucky our neighbor's cat, Roy, is a big boy and good at catching mice that he leaves on his family's porch. He doesn't do anything about the moles though. I wish he would, we all have these piles of dirt that appear overnight.

Joe

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