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Oh, gnaw! When uninvited guests make a home in yourcar’s engine.

If you’ve ever had to deal with a vehicle with wiring damage from rodents, then you know the level of havoc it can cause.

Imagine if you were all curled up for a nap when your couch turns out to be a massive and noisy engine. That's why we typically see damage from rodents in vehicles that are kept outside and not driven regularly. Try to drive the car regularly or at least move it from one spot to another. This is especially true this past year when many people are working from home and driving less.

Park away from bushes and shrubbery that might attract rodents. Bird feeders are a secondary source of food for them, as well, because they go after dropped seeds. So park away from them, as well as any other food source like dog and cat food, compost, garbage cans, etc.

If you can, park in a garage. If you’re still experiencing issues, call in the pros. A licensed pest control professional can help offer solutions for your home and garage. And keep your car clean on the inside: find those long-lost fries and get rid of the food wrappers. Rats especially have an extraordinary sense of smell, so by keeping your car’s interior clean, it will be less of a temptation for them.

Fact or Myth

Myth: Rodents like the taste of wire coating

You may have heard something about car makers using soy or other organic products when making car wires in regards to why rodents chew on them.

Fact: Rodents’ teeth keep growing

Keeping their teeth trimmed is the primary reason that rodents like squirrels, mice, and others need to chew on things. If they don’t, their teeth will grow to the point that they wouldn’t be able to eat. In fact, one theory on why rodents seem to always find the wiring harness under the hood is that it resembles the natural growth of shrubs and bushes in the wild. The chewing on car wires gets all the attention because it’s so destructive. However, rodents will also chew on plastic or anything else in their reach.

Myth: Car wiring emits an electric/magnetic signal that attracts rodents

While there is some evidence mice may be able to detect magnetic fields, there’s far less evidence that this is the reason they decide to call engine compartments home.

Fact: Engines are warm, dark and downright attractive to rodents

Until we can sit down and ask a rodent for their secrets, the most likely explanation is that a car just makes a great habitat. It’s typically dark with lots of nooks and crannies for a critter to hide in and stay safe. In the winter, an engine bay can offer warmth and a hiding spot from predators.


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Meet Kristina Minahan

Kristina Minahan enjoys working in sales at Capitol Toyota and is the proud mother of three: twins Khloe and Konner, age 10, and Karsyn, age 11. As a family they love to go on long bike rides, enjoy the great outdoors and go to Disneyland any chance they can. Contact Kristina at Capitol Toyota for your next Toyota purchase at or 503.399.1011.


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