How to Protect your Car from rodents

Writer - John Linden

If you’re a car collector of any kind or happen to own a classic car, odds are pretty good that you’ve had to have your car in storage at some point in time. Rodents seem to find anything in storage to be irresistible, even vehicles under car covers. To nip your rodent problems in the bud when you’re prepping your car for winter storage, there are a number of options. From dryer sheets to D-con to sulfur or steel wool, here are a few ways to keep those pesky little nuisances out of your stored car.

1) Rodent-Deterrent Tape

This is a ‘do-it-yourself’ method which involves using a Honda product. Honda-4019-2317- Rodent-Tape is regular ole electrical tape treated with Capsaicin. Capsaicin is the hot in spicy food. You know, the kind that makes you reach for a glass of milk or chug some water. The tape comes in rolls of 22 yard/20-meter lengths and is available both online and at Honda dealers.

2) Mothballs

While the unmistakable aroma of mothballs is no one’s favorite, they do do the trick in terms of keeping mice, rats and rodents out of your car. If you put them in when you put the car away for winter storage, the mothballs themselves are dissolved by the beginning of summer. To get rid of the smell, open up your car to air it out and take it for a few rides. Voila! No nasty rodent damage and no more mothball smell.

3) Dryer Sheets

You don’t need expensive, brand-name dryer sheets for them to be a rodent repellent. Simply get some from the Dollar Store. The sheets need to be placed all over the interior, in the trunk, on your tires, in the exhaust pipe, and under the hood. When you prepare your car for its first spring outing, simply gather up all the dryer sheets and throw them away. Not only does this keep the rats and mice away, your car will smell like it just came out of your dryer.

4) Traps

Victor snap traps work well. Particularly, the snap traps with the 1” square plastic yellow tongue. It has greater sensitivity than the metal-tongued traps. If you smear peanut butter in the center whole, it is irresistible to the rodents. Just use enough to give off enough scent to draw them in. Just be aware that peanut butter is also irresistible to some small bugs and crickets. Check your traps regularly to be sure that the peanut butter is still there.

5) D-Con

One of the most tried and true, effective means of removing rats and mice from any place is to place D-Con around any areas which may give them access. The areas need to be too small for access by cats, dogs or any other pets – as D-Con is harmful. There is a slight odor as the pesky little rodents are killed off, but for cars in storage, D-Con is guaranteed to prevent damage to any insulation or upholstery in your classic car.

6) Steel Wool

If you put small wads of steel wool inside the pipes of your vehicle, the rats and mice cannot get in. This is a little more humane way to protect your car than simply killing them off.

7) Sulphur

Powdered, pure Sulphur or granular Sulphur can be found in your local Garden store or Home Depot. Vermin like mice, roaches, and rats hate it! The best way to use Sulphur and protect your car is to cut an old pillowcase into 8 inch by 8 inch squares. Next, put a spoonful of Sulphur smack dab in the center. Gather up the ends and tie into a small pouch. Place several bags around any areas that might have a rat, mouse, or rodent problem.

8) Miscellaneous Tips – ‘TomCat,’ no covers, low visors, tape, jacks

‘Tom Cat’ mice packets come 6 to a box. Put the unopened packets in your trunk, under your seats, on the floor, or under the hood on the air filter. Leave the packets closed. If any packets are broken, remove them as it means you have an intruder. If you have any open packets, it’s a reminder to check on your stored vehicle more often. Also, try not to store your vehicle in an old barn or garage – these provide easier access for rodents.

Rodents, like rats and mice, love dark areas to build their homes. Areas like the car’s installation, seat cushion material, hood blanket, etc. By leaving your trunk and hood open, you eliminate the area for a potential rodent home.

Low visors do not prevent the rodents from getting in, but provide an extra precaution in case they do actually get there. Mice or rats can be known to ‘nest’ in the sun visor and cause damage to both your headliner and visor. If your visors are lowered, it eliminates the chance for those pesky varmints to establish residencies.

Remember to tape over your tail pipe opening and your air intake. Many a classic car collector has a story about tearing down your engine and finding a mouse carcass right on top of the piston.

By putting your vehicle up on jack stands – rodents will only be able to access it, if they have super-rodent jumping powers or can pole vault. In addition, to raising up your car, set mouse-traps and use dryer sheets. If you have no pets (or none of your pets have access), you may also choose to set out about 6 little caps of antifreeze. Once you’ve purchased the jack stands, you are able to use them year after year. Also, by backing up this method with the dryer sheets, mouse-traps, and antifreeze, you’ve established a rodent-proof residence for your classic car.