Rats are very smart rodents and will make a home out of any dark, protected area nearby a food source, including vehicles. If you have a vehicle that you are working on, or just do not drive one of your cars often, it can make for a perfect hiding spot for your neighborhood rats.
Unfortunately, rats can do quite a bit of damage to a vehicle if they start munching on its components. Just like you should know how to avoid and prevent rock chips on your bumper, knowing how to keep rats from chowing down on your vehicle is important, especially if your vehicle will be sitting idle for an extended period. There are many products and methods available but many of them contain toxic, unnatural chemicals that can hurt your children or pets. The following are 5 ways to get rid of rats in your vehicle naturally!
1) Getting the Rats Out of Your Vehicle
The first thing you will have to do is to get the rats out of your vehicle before you start working on keeping them from coming right back to their homes. Of course, there are all different traps that are tried and true, but they result in the death or serious injury and suffering of the rat.
Luckily, there are ways to trap rats that does not cause them harm. For example, Harris Catch and Release Mouse and Rat Trap is easy to use and does not hurt them. You simply set the trap with bait, such as peanut butter, then check back later and see if you have caught any! After you do, it is up to you where you release them, though it is recommended by PETA to release them within 100 yards of where the rat was caught.
2) Clean, Clean, Clean!
Even if you get rid of the rat or rats, if the scent of the rats remains, or if their nesting material remains, either the same rat, or new rats, will likely return. You need to ensure to get all droppings, chewed up substances, and nesting material cleaned up and disposed of. It is not as easy to get into all of the nooks and crannies of the vehicle’s engine compartment as it is to clean out the interior. To handle that, you can use a standard garden hose to spray away any excrement or nests. On newer vehicles, this is perfectly safe, and no harm will be done by washing down your engine bay with water.
You also want to be sure to get rid of any clutter that may be present in or around your vehicle. Rats like dark, quiet, seemingly safe places to rest and eat. They do not like open areas. This means that using an idle vehicle for storage is not the best idea. You do not want there to be hiding places that are not necessary. Of course, old food containers and similar should be removed.
3) Get Rid of Food Sources
Rats are going to make their homes close to somewhere they can get food and carry it back easily. To start, make sure that any spilled food is removed from your vehicle. Vacuum everywhere, including between and under the seats, and around the belt buckles.
These preventative measures, just like SLiPLO’s Universal Scrape Guards, are just as important, if not more important, than trapping the rats. Getting rid of food sources does not stop at cleaning up old food and clutter in your vehicle. For example, if you store bird feed or pet food in your garage with your vehicle, you need to make sure these items are in a container that rats cannot gnaw through which can be a difficult task.
It may be easier to move those types of items inside or to another location away from your vehicle. If your vehicle is parked outside, be careful that it is not surrounded by overgrown brush where your resident rats may be finding their meals.
4) Utilize Light
Rats feel safe in the dark. They do not like to eat, nor nest, out in the open, especially if it is bright. If it is possible, you may want to leave your hood open and a light on in your garage to discourage nesting. Alternatively, you can make sure the vehicle is not parked in the shade and open the hood occasionally, so that rats do not find your engine bay an acceptable safe place.
5) Use Natural Products to Deter Them
Rats, like many other animals, have a sense of smell that is far superior to ours. This can be used to our advantage when trying to keep rats away from our vehicles. Some products, like Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent Spray, use scents that are perfectly pleasant to humans to overload the rodent’s senses and effectively keep them away.
Mighty Mint Rodent Repellent Spray is made specifically with vehicles in mind and will not hurt your car’s interior, engine bay, trunk, or tires. It should be noted that you should wait for your engine to cool before applying this product. Not only is it safe for your vehicle, but since its main ingredient is potent peppermint oil it is also safe for your pets and children as well.
This option is only meant for after you complete the other steps above because otherwise results may vary. Some rodents, rats included, will tolerate strong scents they do not like if the reward of nearby food and safe shelter is great enough. Despite this, scents are usually effective in this situation because the repellent will be in enclosed spaces (your vehicle) where it will not quickly dissipate. Best of all, this product is affordable, unlike how much a car skid plate may cost you or other preventative vehicle related purchases.
Here at SLiPLO we care about helping people keep their vehicles, which are often their prized possession, in tip-top condition, and having a rat making their home in your vehicle can certainly cause damage. The best ways to remedy this situation naturally is to catch and release the rat, extensively clean your vehicle, inside and out, remove food sources, let light in, and use scent-based deterrents.