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how to keep rats out of car engine? Answered



It sounds like you're having a problem with pack rats. They are a real pain (if you are in their territory). They are attracted by shiny things and love car engines to make nests and will chew all your wiring and hoses if you give them time to do so.

Your best option is to get real, pure peppermint oil and sprinkle it around the engine compartment (but not on engine parts). Most rodents (including squirrels) apparently do not like the smell and will look elsewhere to make a home.

You should also check your engine area daily and start your engine at the same time (if you don't drive this car everyday). Starting the vehicle won't guarantee that they'll flee, so make sure you pop the hood and inspect the area thoroughly and apply some more peppermint oil while your at it.

No matter how much the peppermint oil (or the hassle to find it), it will still be cheaper than having your car towed and replacing all the wires and hoses they've chewed through...

Well it could be pack rats, Norway rats (black rats), or roof rats. They all like to take shelter and nest in cars. Peppermint oil is such a hit or miss solution. It is one of the most commonly suggested methods for this problem, but the success rate is really less than a 50% chance of working. If you really want to solve for this problem you need to use a combination of methods. Here is a great resource for more information: http://www.howtopreventratsfromeatingcarwires.com/

We've experienced mice & rats attacks on our auto wiring for the last 50 years here at our Texas farm. They don't care whether the wire covering is petroleum or soy-based - they'll chew it up either way. Leaving the hood up works for us as long as the vehicle can be kept in a garage, barn or shed. Be very careful with moth balls. We had a dog that loved eating them & died with a couple of days of consumption. We try to encourage rat snakes on our farm but I realize this isn't feasible for most readers.:)


we just moved out to the country; a 10 acre tract in San Diego, Texas; my brand new truck would not start and took it into dealership and they said that the rats had eaten all of the wiring;needless to say it is costing a fortune to fix, but I need to know how to stop it from happening again.


6 years ago

Your a little light on the details. Are they full size actual rats or just overfed mice?
Is the car in storage or in use?
Is it stored inside or outside?
Parked on Asphalt or just in the grass?
BY the way, if they are in the engine they are probably in the interior also. Mice just love being in places like under seats and in glove boxes. And they smell really bad when they die in there.

Did you think of using poison?, its very effective.

Please poison causes many other problems like killing birds,pets, and other animals. It does not work on Rack rats most of the time. It may make them sick but in the mean time they can still do a lot of damage.

What we have found works great is a product called Rid-A-Rat. The company guarantees the product 100% so I though I had nothing to loose. I am very happy with it. Like the company said it sent my pack rats packing and they haven't been back to chew on my car yet.

I bought mine at Ace Hardware but the company has a web site.

Thanks, but poison is really not an option in this case.

Go to Ace hardware or Canadian Tire and buy some of those electronic pest repellers. They plug in. Try hanging an extension cord into the engine compartment and plug one or two into it. Worked for me. I also have them in my country home and no Mice or other pests other than Spiders!

Cat - Terrier type dog. Failing that kill them before they get there - an electric fence keeps most things at bay.

I leave an off road vehicle parked out on a country property for months at a time until I need to use it. Rats/mice/something used to chew on the spark plug leads. I now park it with the hood open (the front half of the vehicle is under an overhanging roof), and I have had no problems since. They must like the darkness.

Wow-that almost sounds too simple to be true!!!! But I'm gonna try it anyway, Thanks!

Rats love to chew rubber. They just like the way it feels to chew it, so parked car engines are in danger that way. Also they like to find a little place out of the rain to built nests, chew up seed collections and whatnot. Chipmunks too.

We had this problem with both of our cars which are parked outside in a wooded area most of the time. We coated all the exposed rubbery parts with Ropel and then in the little flat cubby areas we taped in upside down spikes, like those used for deterring pigeons. This has been working for us.

Two sort of off-the-wall ideas:

Rats prefer darkness. Could you install some lights under the hood (bonnet) of your car?

Ernie "Turtle Man" Brown Jr. says that rats hate the smell of mint. Could you spritz mint extract under the hood?

I put bunches of mint into my deck box and a bait station next to the deck box recently, trying to cover all my bases. The rats may have moved on - the dog is no longer frantically trying to open the box.

Where are the rats coming from? You will probably have to do general rodent control rather than just excluding them from the engine compartment.

I would suggest placing covered bait stations around the area where the car is stored as well as making the area inhospitable to rats. Look around and see what is attracting them; is there a food source or shelter that you can eliminate? Is animal feed stored in rodent-proof bins?

Where I used to live, I had to do ongoing rodent control. Even when we did not have chickens, the neighbors supplied the rats with unlimited dog food and unpicked fruit, and there were ramshackle outbuildings that made great rat condos.

Secure bait stations are commercially available (just bought one last week) or you can make your own by cutting a rat-sized entry hole in a small tacklebox (I made this for our old house). Secure a tray or cube of rat-poison-bait inside the box, latch it shut (padlock if necessary), and place in an area where the rats will find it. Check periodically.