Mice in your Car?

Eeek! There’s A Mouse In My Car?!
Mouse in the house? That’s nothing unusual. But mice in your car?! That can send a driver screaming. Here's what to do if a rodent takes up residence in your vehicle.

by Amber Kanuckel Updated: February 8, 2021

Mouse in the house or garage? That’s nothing unusual. But mice in your car?! That can send a driver screaming. It does happen, and it’s not as uncommon as you might think. And it doesn’t necessarily happen to cars that have been put in storage or parked for extended periods. It only takes a few hours for a rodent to weasel into a vehicle, which means it can happen to the car you drive every day, any time of year. So now what?

Mouse in Your Car? How Did This Happen?
First, you need to know how and why it happens. Cars are attractive places for rodents to hole up and hide from predators. Sometimes it happens because cars are parked near convenient food sources like bird feeders, dumpsters, or in a garage where pet food is stored. In these cases, your car just happens to be a handy shelter close to dinner. If you’ve left that half-eaten granola bar on the dash, or if you or your kids have eaten in the car, there will be crumbs that attract these hungry rodents.
Additionally, soy-based insulation that your modern auto wiring is wrapped in, proves to be an irresistible treat to mice, rats, and squirrels.
The warmth of your engine, especially in winter, may also be the reason mice move into your car.  But no matter what the weather is like, the dark, confined spaces beneath your car’s hood offer good protection from predators and lots of nice cubbies to build a nest.

What Kind of Damage Can Mice Do To Your Car?
Once inside, these little critters can cause a surprising number of problems. They might chew on wiring and air filters, causing them to need replacing, or you may notice the smell of their urine coming in through the car’s vents. Yeecch! When they slip inside, they can also do a lot of damage to upholstery as they chew and nest.
And it’s not the healthiest of situations, either: mice, rats, and other rodents can carry disease—nasty bugs like hantavirus, salmonella, and leptospirosis, among other things. If there happens to be a nest in or near the car’s air filter, then every time you turn the ventilation system on, you’ll be blowing dander and particles into the car, which can trigger allergies, too.  And, if a rodent that has taken up residence in your car suddenly starts running around at your feet while you’re driving, it can be a hazardous situation.
Eviction Notice: How To Deal With Rodents Already In Your Car
If you have noticed signs of rodents in your vehicle—droppings, bird seed on the seats, particles flying through the air when you turn on the heat or A/C, or maybe you’ve seen the critter in the flesh, here’s what to do and tips on how to prevent an infestation in the future.

Prevention Is Key!
The shelter that a car offers makes it automatically attractive for rodents, but there are a few things you can do to minimize an infestation.
☑    Park your car away from other attractive nuisances, like dumpsters, bird feeders, and sources of water.
☑    If you keep pet food in the garage, where you park your vehicle, consider storing the food in hard plastic storage bins, or elsewhere.
☑    Pick up dropped food inside the vehicle, and clear out garbage and discarded food wrappers daily.
☑    Vacuum regularly.