Help! There are rodents in my car!

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Have you or your mechanic ever found a mice or rat nest inside your vehicle?

Rodents like to nest inside vehicles, under the hood and in other protected areas for shelter, residual heat, road salt and quietness. Mice are the most common to nest in vehicles compared to rats, rabbits or squirrels. Vehicles not driven over a period of time and recreational vehicles are most susceptible to rodent infestations as well. This blog today is designed to help you learn what to do if there is a dead rodent in your car or vehicle.

Steps to Find and Remove the Rodent:

  • Mice are small and can crawl into the tiniest of places (they only need the space the size of a dime). A good thorough search through your car will be a good first step.
  • Use your nose to pinpoint the location, look where the smell is the strongest.
  • Turn the car on and run the air to see if the smell gets stronger. If it’s in the air system (or near the circulation system) this will give you a quick heads up of where to look.
  • Pull out the cabin air filter and give it a thorough inspection for food bits, droppings, etc.
  • Remove any seats that can be removed and look in, around and under them.
  • Lift the carpet where possible and look in any nooks and crannies there.
  • Remove the removable parts of the dash and look in there as well.
  • Go underneath your car with a good flashlight and look for areas with holes or other ways to access small places to hide.
  • Look around the engine and other areas under the hood for any nests, etc.
  • Mice use a variety of materials to build their nests, look for scraps of anything that may help to keep them warm.
  • Use any signs of mouse droppings, food, nesting material etc. to see where they may lead to.
  • Once found, you will need to remove the remains of the dead mouse. Protect your hands with rubber gloves and be sure to wear a face mask. The smell will be the strongest at the source. As it is moved around, the smell will get worse.
  • Pull the mouse out along with any maggots or bugs that have accumulated on the decaying body.
  • Place all items into the plastic bag, seal it and dispose of it properly.
  • Now, it is time to clean the area to remove any remaining debris and get rid of the odor.
  • Clean the area thoroughly with an odor remover. Spray an odor neutralizer throughout the car as well for any remaining stench.

When You Can’t Locate the Mouse in your Car

Sometimes, you will be unable to locate the dead rodent. In these cases, it will be necessary to find a way to remove as much of the odor as possible until the rodent decomposes and stops smelling. This usually takes several weeks, although the smell will lessen gradually over that time. Here are some suggestions to get through this tough time.

  • Keep the windows open as much as possible to air out the interior.
  • If the rodent is not in the ventilation system, run it regularly to keep fresh air moving through the vehicle.
  • Drive with the windows open.
  • Using air fresheners and odor neutralizers will help to reduce the smell until it goes away.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Find what’s attracting the rodents to the car. Are there snacks inside that they’re trying to get to? Do you have trash outside of your car (in the garage, etc.) that would attract them to the area?
  • Some cars, such as Minis, have fluids that attract rodents. They will chew through the tubes to get to the liquids. They are a common problem for these vehicles.
  • Do you store your vehicle in a garage or location with a rodent problem? Have a pest management professional inspect your structure for rodent activity.

Thomas Pest Services has been solving rodent and insect problems for those that live, work and play in the Capital Region and surrounding towns like Chatham, Schenectady, Latham, Saratoga Springs and Queensbury with third generation experience. Rodent removal is serious, Thomas Pest Services is licensed in getting rid of rodents, contact us via phone at 1-877-518-2847, via web inquiry, Facebook or Twitter!


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