Get rid of rats and keep them from coming back

How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Car Engine

Rodents can be nasty pests that cause destruction and high-expense repairs to vehicles. There are methods used for prevention and to deter current rat infestations in cars.

Risks of Rats in Cars

Rats are continually looking for the best place to make their nests. Unused cars often fall prey and suffer severe damage, though rodents can create high destruction levels in just 24 hours. Rats also present a risk to you and anyone else near the area.

Car engine electrical wiring harness damage from rat

1. Disease

Rats are famous for carrying the Bubonic Plague (also known as the Black Death) during the dark ages. While contracting the Black Death isn’t of concern in the modern-day, rats can still infect humans with various diseases. Direct contact with the rodents or rodent droppings can cause infection, and breathing problem in contaminated dust from rat droppings. Having rats in a car or anywhere around isn’t an option if you consider the health of yourself and your family.

2. Damage

Car parts now contain soy ingredients to be more environmentally friendly. Rats are attracted to cushions, cables, and other materials that consist of soy. Damage can occur quickly and include:

  • Destroyed electrical wires
  • Damaged car hoses
  • Torn upholstery
  • Ripped carpet
  • Stains from rodent urination
  • Ruined insulation for nesting

Overall, rats are unwelcomed guests and should be removed from your property as soon as possible. Luckily, there are multiple compelling ways to keep rodents out of your car, especially in the engine area.

How to Get Rid of Rats in Car Engine

Rats are attracted to the engines in cars because it provides an excellent place for nesting. Rodents look for warm, dark places to hide and build homes for their families. Engines make for prime real estate – until you turn on the ignition. Car engines have lots of non-metal parts that are easily chewed, and they can quickly pull insulation to create a cozy nest.

Auto shops see damage from rodents often and year-round. Sometimes the nests created have odd items the rats have picked up, creating more problems if foreign objects fall into areas of the engine they shouldn’t. A new engine is an expense you don’t want. So, the question is, how do I keep rodents out of my car engine?

1. Natural Deterrents

Strong scents deter rats, specifically peppermint and Pine-sol. Clean the engine and other areas of the car with peppermint essential oils or Pine-Sol. The plus side is, that using Pine-sol will make your car smell great for you. Other products specifically designed to discourage rats from cars discussed below.

2. Remove Food Sources

Removing food and chewing sources will also cause rats to relocate out of your car. Don’t keep food in the car and regularly clean it to avoid any crumbs that might entice rats to make a home in the vehicle.

3. Keep Area Clean

A clean area around the car is also necessary. If you store pet food in the garage or near where you park, ensure containers with secure lids and materials rats can’t chew through are used. Birdseed or dog food nearby encourages rodents to settle down.

4. Use Rat Tape

You can also purchase rodent tape to place around appealing wires. The tape uses embedded hot peppers to dissuade rats from chewing, taking away one of their reasons for staying.

5. Ultrasonic Repellant

Another method for getting rid of rats in cars is to use an ultrasonic device. High-frequency sound waves transmit at a level the rodents find uncomfortable and often intolerable. The noise is undetectable by humans and most pets (such as cats and dogs), so it won’t interfere with you or your family.

Ultrasonic devices work to chase rodents away, so it is essential to follow up with preventative measures. Ultrasonic repellents are designed to work with other rodent repellent methods and are not recommended as the only method.

Rats can learn to ignore the noise with enough time, using an electronic device that also utilizes flashing lights can increase the benefit. Rodents prefer dark areas disrupting that with strobe lights, and high noise may be too much for one rat to handle.

When removing rats from your car, you don’t want to use poison. Poison in the car can be toxic to you and your passengers. Also, if you kill the rats, they will likely die in the vehicle. Dead bodies mean you will have a rotting corpse stinking up the car and possibly spreading disease. A professional mechanic may be required to remove any dead bodies.

How to Protect Car From Rats

Rodent damage to car wiring

If you are storing a car or just haven’t used it in a while, there are preventative methods you can use.

Parking inside will offer an additional barrier to deter rats from entering your vehicle. If you can’t park inside, keep the area around your car clean and well-trimmed. Overgrown vegetation provides great places for rats to hide and maneuver into the car.

Block any small entrances to the engine compartment. Rats often climb wheels to gain access to the engine, so placing deterrents or traps around and on the tires can be beneficial.

Cats are natural predators of rodents, so if you have one, utilize it. Place the cat’s used litter in the garage or near the car. The scent of the cat’s waste will warn the rats that the area is not safe for nesting, and they will choose a new location, hopefully far away.

With these preventative measures, make a habit of regular maintenance. Check on your car often to make sure the area does not encourage rats. The sooner you can intervene if there is a problem, the better.

Products to Use

There are plenty of products currently on the market to assist with protection from rats.

1. Sprays

One spray, Vehicle Protection Rodent Defense, is a great product to use for prevention. It’s a spray explicitly designed for use in cars and works as a repellent to rodents such as rats, squirrels, mice, and more. The spray prevents nesting and chewing on wires or other areas of the car.

Electrical repairs can become costly very quickly, so spray directly on any area that could be affected. These include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Engine compartment
  • Wheel wells
  • Wiring
  • Any area you can reach

The product is so practical that gallon sizes are available for use in larger areas. Repeated use keeps rats away with no side effects to you or your car.

2. Pouches

Botanical Rodent Repellent is another excellent product for use in the car. This repellent comes as scented pouches that deter rats, mice, and other rodents from hanging around the area. It can be used as a preventative method or in infested areas and is completely non-toxic.

The pouches are used in surrounding areas such as garages, sheds, barns, and storage units. They also work well directly in cars, trucks, tractors, farm equipment, RVs, and even boats. Each pouch works effectively for 30 days, and then you replace it.


To avoid unwanted bills for car damage or health concerns, stay on top of your car maintenance. Review the area and keep anything that may attract rats away from the vehicle. Keep the car clean and use preventative measures. Products specifically created to repel rats, such as sprays or pouches, will go far in keeping your vehicle in working condition. Also, check pest and rodent control services in your area, and consult with an expert rat relief company if you see an infestation on your property.

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