Rodents can cause costly repairs in unused cars

Posted at 8:37 AM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 09:37:40-04

MERRIAM, Kan. — Across the country, many people are no longer commuting since the stay-at-home orders have been in place.

While you've probably saved money not using much gas, those unused cars could be attracting a different issue.

JoCo Automotive says the shop has seen a handful of cars come in because wires have been exposed due to rodents nesting inside and chewing the wires, which has caused some cars to not start.

"The other day, a pretty new car, it was a newer General Motors car, came out and it wouldn't do anything," JoCo Auto owner Alan Hereford said. "He turned the key, it had power, but it wouldn't do anything. I had a technician look at it and took a little while to find out there was one wire that was chewed through by guessing a mouse that decided it was a pretty nice place to make home."

That one wire was a communication wire that was a connector to the power steering, which is why the car wouldn't start.

Depending on the type of wires that have been damaged, these repairs can cost anywhere between $700 to around $2,000.

"You can see here on the vehicle, that wiring harness is completely full of wires. There's literally hundreds of wires in that harness," Hereford said. "So if you have a situation where you have a rodent that decides he wants to get in there and start making dinner out of that wiring harness, he can ruin that harness. Not only is the part expensive, but it can be a lot of labor to replace it."

Just a week ago, Hereford posted this video on Facebook to show the amount of damage one rodent did to a driver's cabin air filter.

If you do suspect a rodent may be in your car, one thing you do not want to do is put down rat poisoning inside.

"Other times what you'll have is they'll eat the poison and they will die inside the vehicle," Hereford said. "And we've had cars that we've had to take apart, that smell of a rotting rodent out of their vehicle, so you don't want to use something that'll kill them in their car."

He suggests using a mouse trap and putting it in a fastened and secure location. That way you can just throw the trap away once the animal is inside.

It's also recommended to start your car and drive it around the block at least once a week to keep your car from sitting idle and inviting any rodents in.