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Mice in Your Car? How to Get a Mouse Out of Your Car

Mice are small rodents that can cause a big problem for your car. Whether you have a car parked outside, in the garage, or in storage, it does not take long for mice to move in and wreak havoc.

Garage Mouse

Photo by Wall Boat Licensed Under CC0 1.0

Risks of Mice in a Car

Even alone, one mouse can cause damage in just 24 hours. The destruction can include, but isn’t limited to:

  • Chewing through electrical wires and hoses
  • Nesting with insulation
  • Tearing up carpet and upholstery
  • Storing food on essential car parts
  • Stains from urination
  • Diseases spreadable to humans

The concerns of mice in car interiors continue to grow as manufacturers make changes in the materials used to build cars.  Metal, plastic, and glass were commonly used when constructing cars.

In the past couple of years, however, car companies have shifted towards more natural materials. Materials, that while great for the environment, are very inviting to mice. The foam of cushions, carpet and even wire insulation now has soy as an ingredient. This new material draws mice into the cars and creates a great home with all-inclusive food.

How to Tell if Mice are Living in a Car

Though you may not know you have become a landlord for some rodents, mice take no effort to hide their presence. Strange noises in parts of your car, bad smells, and mouse droppings are common signs of a mouse. Mice like warm, dark areas to build nests – making car heaters the ideal place to live. Pay close attention to this area, as strange vibrations or rumbling may indicate habitation.

Other common areas are:

  • Engine compartment
  • Trunk area
  • Behind plastic panels (dashboard especially)
  • Center consoles

How to Get Rid of Mice in Car Engine

The car engine compartment is the last place you want mice, and the first place they want to nest. The engine contains vital components for your car to function properly. Unfortunately, there are lots of non-metal parts to car engines that leave them susceptible to mice.

Prevention is your best option. Parking inside adds another layer the mice must cross before getting to your car. If you need to park outside, avoid parking your car near thick vegetation. Bushes and trees provide coverage for mice to sneak right in.

Arming your car against the mice lowers the risk of damage. Mice don’t have the taste buds for a spicy meal and will avoid anything too spicy. Purchase rodent tape with hot peppers embedded that deter mice from chewing on any hoses or wires wrapped with tape. Use this in your engine compartment to keep mice at bay.

Regularly check your engine and the area around for any excess moisture – which attracts mice – or openings that should have covers. Having a good mechanic take a look to make sure nothing is out of place keeps you one step ahead of the mice.

How to Get Mouse Out of Car Vents

Vents offer easy access for mice to enter your vehicle. Vents also act as passageways to other areas of the car. If there are mice in your car vents, you will most likely smell them. Luckily, you can combat the mice with smell also.

Certain scents naturally repel mice. Peppermint is a great smell to utilize because it smells great, and mice don’t like it. Mint-scented cleaners, peppermint essential oils, and even mint leaves themselves can all be used to deter mice.

Pine-Sol is also thought to repel mice. Soaking some old rags in pine-sol and leaving them around accessible entrances to the car works as a first-line defense. And cleaning your dashboard and other areas with scent creates a pleasant atmosphere for you while pushing the mice out.

Other commercial products also use smell to dissuade mice. You can purchase these online or at most car shops. They are labeled as rodent repellent and come in many forms. Place pouches inside vents or sprinkle granules in and around your car to repel any curious mouse looking for a new home.

Another strong smell that repels mice comes from mothballs. However, it’s important to remember that mothballs are toxic. Since the car is a tightly contained area, it isn’t recommended to use the poisonous substance in such a small space that you and others may use regularly.

When working to remove mice from car vents, you want to avoid killing when possible. If a mouse dies in your vents, the smell will become impossible to live with, not to mention the increased possibility of disease. Usually, a mechanic is required to remove the mice bodies from your vehicle, as they can be in hard-to-reach places.

How to Get Rid of Mice in Car Interior

The interior of a car is attractive to mice, so keeping the area around the car clean is essential. Mousetraps placed around and in the vehicle discourage mice from approaching the vehicle. If you have a cat, putting their litter box in the garage also deters mice from approaching. The scent of their natural predator will make them think twice about settling down.

A clean inside is just as important as a clean outside. Make an effort to remove any food or possible snacks for mice from your car. A car full of crumbs is more likely to attract rodents. Keep in mind that mice also eat birdseed and dog and cat food. If you store these in your garage, make sure they are in sealed containers and well away from your vehicle.

Place ultrasonic devices in the car to repel any mice currently in the car. The sound won’t affect you or any passengers, but the mice will be ready to jump ship.


Damage in cars caused by mice becomes expensive quickly. Check your vehicle often for signs of habitation and prepare to act if needed. A clean area and a clean car are great preventative measures. Certain strong smells will repel mice and clear out any areas they may have nested.

Commercial products, such as rodent repellent tape, protect against damage and deter mice from making your car their new home. A variety of mousetraps and rodent preventions make it easy to care for your car and keep everything in working condition.

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