Six ways to protect your car from rats

Rats are once again in the news. Whether they are rabbit-sized or just running riot in an ‘eyesore’ Scottish garden, they are certainly making headlines and that is always a problem.

I’ve written before about why you should be concerned about a rat infestation. In that blog, I detailed the signs you should be looking for that indicate you have a rat problem – gnawing, rat-sized dropping, smears, odour and noises in the night. Rats in the home are a problem because they will not only damage your property, but they can also spread nasty diseases.

If you think you have a rat problem, call us immediately on 020 8430 4133.

Rats in cars

Looking through the news, though, I’ve noticed another problem that seems to be being reported more and more – rats causing problems in vehicles.

Let’s be clear, I’m not referring to the research being undertaken at the University of Richmond, USA, which has turned these rodents into drivers. When I say cars, they are actually transparent plastic boxes with aluminium floors. Inside, the rat has a choice of three copper bars – one moves the car, one moves it to the left and the other to the right. The rats soon learned to drive and were able to work out routes for themselves.

No, what I’m referring to are several news stories in recent months concerning rats making their homes in car engines. As we know from rats in our homes and businesses, this has the potential for being a major problem. They could gnaw cables, which could cause mechanical issues that lead to an accident. Even if their behaviour doesn’t result in an accident, it could lead to a problem that is costly to diagnose and fix.

There have been reports that problem the arises from the use of soy-based cabling, although a Honda spokesman has pointed out that the problem existed decades before this form of more sustainable wiring was introduced.

As far as I can see, the attraction of a car engine is very similar to the attraction of an attic space or outhouse. Rats want shelter and safe harbourage and, unless you are using it, it will be quiet, sheltered and there could be residual heat in the engine and even left-over snacks and sweets.

A report from 2016 found that 9% of UK vehicle owners reported damage to their cars by rats. This included damage to the engine compartment and chewed pipes, wires and plastic cowling. In total, it was estimated this damage cost UK drivers more than £370 million.

What can you do to protect your car?

Here are my 6 top tips for keeping rats out of your vehicle:

  • Make sure parking areas are clear of waste and places where rats can hide
  • Make your car and parking area no-food zones – remove the food and you remove one of the major attractors of rats
  • Illuminate the parking area – difficult in these times of energy price increases but it could save you damage to your engine. Rats like to be secretive and will try to avoid lit areas
  • Cats and dogs – they may not catch the rats, but they will act as a deterrent
  • Regularly run your engine and move your car, even if you are not using it
  • Set traps and poison – we advise you to seek professional help with this as rat poison is also dangerous to other animals and, even once it has killed the rodent, could be a threat to your pet

If you think you have a rat infestation in your home, garden, business or vehicle, we have the expertise to deal with it quickly and effectively. Call us on 020 8430 4133 to discuss your problem.

Download our Rat Leaflet for more information.