Did you know it’s not uncommon for rodents to get into your car’s engine bay and build a nest, chew wiring, or store food? As you can imagine, the cost of fixing your car because a cute lil' mouse got in can be quite high.
One of our client's cars came to our shop because it stalled while she was driving on the highway. The engine light came on, and she had it towed to our shop. It became apparent to us that there was a rodent messing with her car. When we looked at the air filter it was completely chewed up, which caused a chain reaction as to why the car had stalled. We replaced the air filter and away the client went. A couple of weeks later, the car returned to us with the same symptom—stalling while driving on the highway. We checked the air filter and sure enough, the rodent returned! This time, we replaced the air filter and put chicken wire in front of the filter to block the rodent out. So far, the mouse-mobile hasn’t returned.
In another case, our client’s car came into our shop running rough. Trust me, if you rode in that car you would definitely know that something was up—the car felt like it was a bucking horse while driving. Then, without any obvious signs, the car would run fine again. On and off the rough condition would go. Turns out that a mouse had made its way to the engine and built a nest in one of its nooks. The mouse also chewed the wiring to the fuel injectors, it’s really a feat that the car even ran at all! So every time the wires made a good connection, the car would run well. Sporadically, if the wires were flexing or there was a poor connection, the car would run rough.
There’s no sure way to prevent these creatures from getting into your car—short of parking your car in your garage. Rodents have always been trying to find warm, sheltered, safe, and secure places to hide, rest, and store their food.
The key is this: check under your hood regularly! I know many of you already regularly check fluid levels and top up your washer fluid . . . take a look and see if you can spot signs of a mouse-house. Look for chewed or bunched up nesting materials, food such as small seeds or nuts, even rodent droppings or fur!
If you suspect something is wrong with your car, get it looked at right away! The last thing you want is for a small, fixable damage to cause a chain reaction and turn into a very expensive one.