Rats eating the wiring in your car? RV?

Rats eating the wiring in your car? RV?

The Weekly Driver reports that vehicles parked outside and near trees are literally being eaten by rats! At least their wiring. “Owners of cars from several manufacturers are increasingly reporting that rats and other rodents are eating their vehicles from the inside out,” the website reported.


See survey below. Have rodents damaged the wiring in your car or RV?


Reports in several states by owners of Honda and Toyota vehicles, as well as other carmakers’ models, are claiming rats are devouring the wiring in their cars and causing major costly repairs. Although rodents eating wiring of all kinds has been a problem for decades, it’s picking up steam nowadays because “green car” concerns have resulted in manufacturers using soy-based engine wiring and coverings. The soy alternative is an eco-friendly alternative to wrapping wires and car parts in plastic.

One car dealer a week in the Atlanta area is coming into the shop with chewed-up wires, reported an Atlanta TV station.

One way to deal with rodents — rats, mice or squirrels — under your hood, suggested by Consumer Reports, is installing a metal mesh around wiring harnesses and rubber hoses and across any openings where rodents could crawl into your ventilation or intake systems. Or you could put mouse poison mixed with peanut butter around your garage for a more severe solution.

Honda sells a rodent-deterrent tape, essentially an electrical tape treated with super-spicy capsaicin, which Honda describes as “the stuff that puts the fire in a bowl of five-alarm chili.” The tape (part number 4019-2317) is available through dealers [or at Amazon] for about $36 for a 20-meter roll, about 22 yards. [Similar products are available at Amazon.]

Sprinkling crystallized fox urine around your vehicle is a possible solution, although you shouldn’t put it in the engine compartment because it could get into the ventilation. The item is available at Home Depot and Amazon.

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10 thoughts on “Rats eating the wiring in your car? RV?

  1. Billy Bob Thorton

    Unfortunately, most “solutions” that seem to work are because that particular rodent event, was either changing at the time of application of the remedy applied, or the convergence of events didnt lineup with rodent and vehicle in the same place at the same time. With the exception of the antifreeze, pack rat solution.

    Just research the thought to be remedies on the net.

  2. Carolyn

    We lived on the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the native hutias are common. They’re about the size and shape of a possum without the pointy nose. They chew into the hoses in cars seeking water in the arid climate. Everyone installs sheets of hardware cloth on the underside of their cars. It’s heavy enough the little rascals can’t/won’t chew through it. Maybe worth trying here if rodent problems are ongoing.

  3. Nick DiPietro

    The best deterrent I have found is a powerful led stoplight shining under your car truck or RV I live in a rural area two years no rats mice or any other critter that loves darkness hook up a dawn to dusk timer and these nocturnal creatures will stay away.

    1. Nick, is that a stoplight or a spotlight? 😉 Sounds like a good idea, either way. —Diane at RVtravel.com

  4. Stanley Sokolow

    I’ve had rats nesting (and leaving abundant droppings) on top of a pickup truck engine, making a nest inside the air filter chamber of a car (with bedding made from fiberglass insulation chewed from inside the garage wall), and chewing the wires and vacuum control lines that operate the air flow controls in the heating/cooling system of a car.

  5. Steve Barnes, Kamloops, BC

    Our neighbour’s motorhome, near where we park our 5th, suffered several thousand $ damage from pack rats and others. They were in the a/c ducts, destroyed the microwave, a/c control module and enjoyed other components.
    .
    We have tried all the usual remediies: moth balls; different poisons; flashing lights, 110, solar and 12v; rodent repellant from Tractor Supply; spring traps; live traps and profanity, the latter being the most satisfying.
    .
    CHUCK, could you sponsor/solicit an article from a qualified scientist explaining the pros and cons of each suggested solution. This is a huge problem for motorists and RVers.

  6. Jim

    We’ve had mouse, squirrel, and rat damage to all our vehicles over the years.
    We live in a rural location in the mountains, and vermin seem to quickly take advantage of our vehicles for nesting and shelter. Bags of scented wood chips, mothballs, glue and snap-traps, nothing works. Only thing that works is leaving the HOOD OPEN. That incurs sun damage to plastics, but it’s better than chewed wires.

  7. Tommy Molnar

    Never had the wiring problem, but we had a pack rat move in (under the hood of our pickup) within two days of parking in an RV park in NV. I opened the hood to check the oil – and this little bugger had chewed a bunch of the insulation off the hood and used it to build his nest on top of our 7.3 Powerstroke. Grrrr. A local resident suggested we put some old fashioned anti-freeze in a small cup and tape to a level spot on the engine. After evicting the vermin from his home, we DID what he suggested (with the anti-freeze HE supplied) and that was that.

  8. Kathy Porter

    We had rabbits eating wiring in our car. Tried evertything mentioned in your article. Finally we bought mothballs and parked on top of them after putting them in several mesh bags. We hung a bag in the engine compartment when we put the car to bed. Leave your windows down and a/c on high for a few minutes before you use the car to get rid of the smell after removing the bag in the engine compartment. This worked for us after paying twice for repairs. Towing was covered, but it was $400 each time for the repairs on my 2015 Toyota Rav 4.

  9. Jerry friedman

    Fresh Cab, available at Tractor Supply is a great repellant for rodents. It doesn’t kill them. It smells nice and it’s widely used by farmers and ranchers to control rodents in barns. We keep it in our bays and sometimes keep a packet (they come 4 to a box) in the truck engine at night if we think we’re at risk

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