If there’s one thing worse than having mice in your home, it’s having mice in your car.
Once nested in your car, these little pests not only induce irritation and frustration, they can also smell awful, pose numerous health risks, and rip up your car (in potentially dangerous and/or expensive ways).
While having mice in your car is less than ideal, it is not the end of the world, for there are things you can do to get rid of them. If you think you have mice in your car, make sure that you carefully read through this article to learn all the facts.
- 1 Where do mice hide in cars?
- 2 How to get rid of mice in a car?
- 3 Can mice get into a locked car?
- 4 Is mice damage covered by car insurance?
- 5 How to clean mouse urine and feces from your car?
- 6 How to get rid of dead mice smell in car?
Where do mice hide in cars?
Because cars are complex machines with lots of hidden spaces and compartments, mice can hide and nest in many of these places. It’s important to first familiarize yourself with the most common locations for mice to hide in cars (listed below) so you can constantly check on them for mouse tracings and signs of mouse activity.
Mice absolutely love glove boxes because they give them privacy and are pretty easy for them to get to.
Generally speaking, mice can go through your car’s air inlet vents (where theheater/defroster sucks in outside air from), then through the ducting, and finally into your car’s evaporator core/blower motor. And once they’re there, they’re only a step away from nestling right into your glove box.
Furthermore, many people stow napkins, manuals, wrappers, and other small plastics in the glove box which mice enjoy nibbling and gnawing on.
The trunk is another popular spot for mice to nest or just hang out. Although less secluded and much larger than the glove box, the trunk offers mice a spacious location with many entry and exit points.
Having mice in your trunk is not nearly as bad as having them in your engine compartment or an internal system, such as the ventilation system, for the trunk space is more open and contains less places for mice to hide.
However, make sure that your trunk doesn’t have any noticeable holes or gaps in or around the trunk carpet. If there are, you might have a more difficult situation to deal with for mice may be nesting just outside of the confines of the trunk, and thus will be harder to get to.
The car engine compartment is probably the last place you want mice to be. When mice are under the hood in the engine, they might chew critical belts or wires which can result in serious and potentially dangerous engine malfunctions.
A mouse nest in a car engine fan, intake manifold, or general engine compartment can cause a fire, and frayed wires from chewing and gnawing can also cause fires.
The car hood stores many, if not all, of the most important parts of your car: the engine, transmission, brakes, battery, alternator, A/C, radiator, and many more.
Therefore, this is also one of the last places that you want mice to be. Mice under your hood can do all kinds of damage to your critical systems and can potentially ignite fires in a number of ways.
You probably know car vents as the openings that the A/C and heat come out of, but many mice know them as nesting spots. Mice find their way into these vents for maximum privacy and security, and once they’re there, they can be quite hard to get out.
Furthermore, if mice get into your vents, the smell can be unbearable!
The average modern car has a ventilation system that provides a constant through-flow of fresh air, and if mice get into any part of this system (particularly behind the vents in the front cabin), the smell of mouse urine will permeate throughout the entire car.
The dashboard location is very to similar to the vents because once mice find their way into your vents, they have access to the space behind your dashboard.
This whole section of the car is appealing to mice for two main reasons: isolation and materials.
Behind the dash, there are lots of cables, plastic and other scrappy materials mice like to eat, use as materials for their nest, or use just to keep their teeth filed down.
How to get rid of mice in a car?
So, you might be pretty confident that you have mice in your car. Now the question is, what is there to do about it? Luckily, there are many solutions to getting rid of mice in a car.
Keep your car clean
Keeping your car clean cannot be emphasized enough. If you keep your car filled with old bags of fast food, snack wrappers, and other pieces of garbage, you are basically inviting mice into your car.
At the very minimum, DO NOT keep trash in your car. If you eat or drink something in your car, don’t let the packaging sit there for more than a few days—ideally, throw it out as soon as you are done with it.
For those who want to take this more seriously, invest in a mini car vacuum. These things work wonders at picking up those small crumbs that line the carpets of your car.
Park your car under shelter
Parking your car under shelter can often times be overlooked when trying to prevent mice from entering.
If you have a garage or any kind of vehicle storage place, use it. If you park your car in a sheltered area, you are making it just that much more difficult for mice to enter.
Drive (and honk)
One of the most common reasons why people find a mouse in their car is because they do not drive it enough. Mice love cars that sit for weeks or months at a time without being driven because a car being driven disrupts their comfort and ease of life.
Even if you don’t need to drive anywhere, just go for a drive around the block a few times a week to get the engine revving. If you have mice, they will not like this. And while you’re at it, just before you turn on the ignition each time you drive, give your horn a few beeps. This will also drive the mice crazy and scare them out of their hiding spots.
Mouse deterrents also do wonders to prevent mice from coming into your car and to keep mice away.
There are many different mouse repellent options you can choose from, but scent repellents and mouse traps have stood the test of time.
Scent repellants: Cayenne pepper and peppermint oil are two scents that mice can’t stand. Place some powdered cayenne pepper or 100% peppermint oil around your car to keep mice from coming in—mice tend to avoid these scents at all costs.
Mouse traps: Mouse traps work wonders. A mouse trap is an excellent deterrent because it get rid of the mice and because the scent of the dead mice (from the traps) will keep mice from occupying the area. Therefore, a mouse trap will both get rid of mice and keep mice away. A mouse trap is also relatively cheap and easy to use. Try placing a mouse trap on the tops of your tires when your car is parked (this is one of the most common entry points).
See a mechanic
Seeing a mechanic is often seen as the last resort for many car problems. But, if you have the time and spare change to see one, do it.
A mechanic can quickly inspect your car for mouse nests and concerning entry points, especially in areas that you may otherwise not be able to get to. For example, if you have a mouse or a nest behind your dashboard or in your ventilation system, it is very difficult for the average person to get into the spaces. On the other hand, a good mechanic can get into any part of your car and find and remove a mouse nest in just a day.
Can mice get into a locked car?
Yes, mice can easily get into a locked car due to their small size and their ability to squeeze through incredibly tight spaces.
Locking your car is really only effective for animals who can actually open the doors. Mice cannot open doors, but CAN squeeze through openings smaller than a dime. There are many possible entry points in your car, but these are the most common entry points that mice will go through to access your car:
- Under the engine
- Holes around cables
- Pedal shafts
- Steering columns
Is mice damage covered by car insurance?
Car insurance plans vary greatly. Therefore, it is not recommended to adhere to any of your previous assumptions or general online claims without first contacting a representative of your car insurance company.
Very generally speaking, most car incidents involving animal damage, including rodents chewing on wires, are covered by comprehensive auto insurance coverage. BUT, not every insurance policy has this coverage, which is why it is so crucial to first contact your insurance company.
If your car insurance policy does have this type of coverage, as long as you’ve chosen to specifically add comprehensive coverage and as long as you have met your deductible, your insurance will typically help with the cost of repair.
How to clean mouse urine and feces from your car?
Not only can mouse urine and feces smell awful, they also pose major health risks to us. Therefore, it is extremely important that you clean up all mouse urine and feces promptly AND properly.
The most important thing to know about cleaning up mouse urine and feces in your car is to first take the proper safety precautions. In other words, do not vacuum right away. Why? Mice can carry Hantaviruses, which can be fatal if infected, and these viruses can be spread through mouse urine and feces. Humans can contract Hantaviruses through breathing or by getting it on a hand and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.
Therefore, the first step in the cleaning process is to move your car out from your garage or vehicle shelter and into an open place. Roll down all of the windows, open all of the doors, and let the car air out for a while before you clean.
Then, gear up. Put on a pair of gloves, a ventilator (any surgical-type mask will do), and a pair of protective glasses.
Once you are ready to start cleaning, the first thing you will want to do is vacuum up all visible mouse droppings. Next, mix bleach with water and spray the affected areas until wet. Let the sprayed areas sit for about five minutes, then wipe them down with a paper towel, and then sponge the areas with the bleach solution.
At the very end, throw out your materials (paper towels, sponges, gloves, etc) in a plastic bag and then wash your hands with soap and warm water.
How to get rid of dead mice smell in car?
It may seem obvious, but the first step to remove a dead mouse smell from your car is to remove the dead mouse! Without first removing the source of the smell (the dead mouse), any other odor elimination steps you take will be essentially useless (if you still have mice that are currently alive in the car, well, you should first remove them before you should address the smell).
So, once you do remove the dead mouse, it’s important to know that the dead mouse odor can last for several weeks. Because the scent can be so strong and overwhelming, traditional air fresheners, such as scented candles, air purifiers, or bags of potpourri, will simply not work as well as you’d like them to. These methods can temporarily mask the dead mouse smell, but for a permanent solution, follow these steps:
- Properly remove the dead mouse and clean all of the mouse urine and feces in your car (see previous section for details)
- Pour a cup of vinegar into a spray bottle and spray around the car interiors (NOTE: vinegar is safe on carpet and cloth but should not be used on leather). Let it sit for 5 minutes, then wipe away with a clean, damp paper towel.
- Put an odor absorber or odor neutralizer like Ozium or Febreeze near the source of the odor (where the mouse died). You can also try using natural odors like a bowl of un-brewed coffee grounds, sliced onions, bowl of vinegar, activated charcoal to help combat the smell (natural odors will work most effectively if they sit overnight).
- Be patient. It still make take a few days for the smell to completely disappear from your car. You can speed up the process even more by driving the car around with the windows down and turning on the car fan at the highest setting to increase airflow in the car.