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How to get a rat out of your car

How to get a rat out of your car

Spotting, Repairing, and Preventing Mice Infestations in Your Engine and Upholstery

Do you drive to carpool? We’re not talking about human passengers here, we mean rats! Unless it’s fresh from the pet store, it’s no fun to have a rodent riding shotgun. A rat infestation in your car not only damages the electrical and upholstery, but can also be a serious health hazard. If you think you have some uninvited riders, then you are in the right place. We’ll cover how to rid your car of rats, how to spot the signs of an infestation, and how to prevent further infestations.

[Edit]things you should know

  • Spray your car with peppermint oil or another scent-based deterrent to repel rats humanely and naturally.
  • Install snap traps or no-kill traps under the seats and under the hood to catch rats in the act.
  • Leave the hood open to drive out any mice under the hood, and allow your car to warm up in the sun to raise the temperature to uncomfortable levels.
  • Call a professional pest controller to handle the situation in the safest, most effective way.


[Edit]rat out

  1. Spray your car with peppermint oil. Peppermint oil has been found to repel rats that do not like the smell of peppermint. Add a few drops of peppermint oil to a spray bottle of warm water, and spray your upholstery, trunk and mechanics under the hood with a liberal dose to repel rodents. Repeat this every few days.[1]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 1.jpg
    • Alternatively, use a commercial scent-based rodent repeller, and spray it according to the directions on the package.
  2. Place mouse traps inside your car. Place mousetraps in the front and back of the seats, in the trunk, and even under the hood of your car to catch intruding mice.[2] Opt for a no-kill trap if you prefer a lighter method of elimination.
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 2.jpg
    • Staff your trap with nesting materials such as cotton balls, which are often more effective than other types of bait.[3]
    • When using no-kill traps, be sure to release captured rats away from your home to prevent them from returning, and make sure it is legal to release live rats in the area.
  3. Blow the horn or use an ultrasonic repeller. Ultrasonic repellents are electronic devices that make sounds that only certain animals can hear, and which they find unpleasant. Park your car in the garage, and mount the devices on the wall near the car.[4] Alternatively, drive your car to a secluded area and honk the horn for a while to scare away the rats.
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 3.jpg
    • Note that although these are popular methods, none of them have been proven to be as effective as the other methods.
  4. Warm up the car in the sun. Mice hate extreme temperatures, so go ahead and roll up those windows and park the car in a nice, sunny spot for a day or two to let the inside broil. Alternatively, let your heater run on high for a while to get real toast on the inside.[5]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 4.jpg
  5. Open the hood. Although it may seem counterintuitive, rats love a closed car hood, as it provides plenty of shelter. However, opening the hood of your car exposes the space to the air, making it colder and making rats think twice about living in such an open space.[6]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 5.jpg
    • Be sure to park in a garage first to avoid unwanted debris finding its way into your engine.
  6. Contact a pest control service. Rodents can be stubborn, skittish as they are. The safest and most effective way to remove a rodent infestation from your car or anywhere else is to hire a professional service to do it for you.[7]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 6.jpg
    • Alternatively, many car cleaning services know their way around a vehicle rodent infestation, and will clean your car and remove the rats for you. Just call ahead and make sure they are equipped to handle it.

[Edit]signs of infection

  1. Watch for droppings or urine. The most obvious sign of a mouse problem is visible droppings or discoloration on the upholstery due to urine. Rat droppings are small, black pellets often found in the nooks and crannies of your car, such as under the seats or in the mechanics.[8]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 7.jpg
  2. Smell the interior for foul odors. Mouse feces and urine comes with a rancid, pungent odor. But even if you can’t identify a nest in the interior, the tiny intruders may have made a nest in your car’s ventilation system. Turn on the AC or heating for a few minutes and check for foul odors from the vents.[9]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 8.jpg
    • If you detect a foul smell from the ventilation, avoid driving your car until the problem is resolved, as a compromised ventilation system can pose a serious respiratory health risk.
  3. Check the wiring and upholstery for signs of chewing. Chewing – This is what rats do best. Open the hood and check any visible wiring for dent marks or stripped cables. Also check for holes in your seats, sunglasses and any other fabric inside your car. If you see any rough edges, this could be a sign of rats.[10]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 9.jpg
    • If you suspect your car may have an infection, first check the engine block for signs of damage, as complete or partial damage to this area can be dangerous. If you’re unsure about your car’s internal parts, have a mechanic take care of you.
  4. Look for nests in the air filter and elsewhere. This is another easy giveaway – bundles of shredded nesting material all gathered in one place. Check your car’s air filter (under the hood) where mice are likely to nest due to the warm climate.[11] Check under the seats, in the glove compartment, and under the hood, too.
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 10.jpg
    • Nests are often made of soft bedding, such as wood chips, shredded newspaper, or even your car’s own upholstery. Plus, they’re often quite large and easy to spot.
  5. Drive the car and check it for any mechanical or electrical problems. Sometimes the problem is invisible, and is happening deep inside your car’s interior. Take it for a spin and listen for any mechanical problems like erratic noises. Also check the dashboard for any warning lights, and make sure all electronics on the console are in working order. If they aren’t, a mouse may have chewed through some of the internal wiring or electronics.[12]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 11.jpg
    • Test your car’s dashboard and console functions—such as the AC, radio, windshield defroster, etc.—one by one to make sure each function is in working order.


  1. Clean your car with bleach after infection. Rodents attract other rodents (not to mention health concerns), so it’s important to clean your car after getting rid of rats. Park it outside, open the doors, and let it air out for about 20 minutes. Then, vacuum up any dirt and spray areas where rats are present with a mixture of 1 part bleach and 9 parts water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then blot it up completely using paper towels.[13]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 12.jpg
    • Wear a mask and rubber gloves while cleaning to avoid contact with any unhygienic substances.
    • Use color-safe bleach on upholstery and other fabrics.
  2. Lay dryer sheets over your upholstery. Mice hate the smell and feel of dryer sheets, which is great news for car owners looking for inexpensive rodent prevention. When you go to the car store, simply lay out dryer sheets across the seats, floor, dashboard and trunk. Then, when you return to retrieve the car from storage, it will be rodent-free and, as a bonus, smell like fresh laundry.[14]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 13.jpg
    • Alternatively, sprinkle mothballs inside and under the hood.
  3. Block the entrance to your engine block with wire mesh. There are lots of ways for rats to get into your car, and it’s nearly impossible to block them all. That said, use wire mesh to bar the entrances to more sensitive or valuable parts of your car, like the engine or internal wiring.[15]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 14.jpg
    • Stuff wire mesh or use wire to apply it to openings such as vents, vents and hood scoops. Every car is different, so consult a mechanic to find out the best places to use the mesh.
  4. Drive your car at least once or twice a month. The best way to prevent rats from nesting in your car is to seize the opportunity. If you drive your car often, with all the speed and noise you’ll be giving any pests looking to bunk inside second thoughts.[16]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 15.jpg
  5. Clean your car and throw out all the garbage that is inside it. It is easy (and attractive) for rats to build a home in a location that already has abundant nesting materials such as fast food wrappers or leftover food.[17] Eliminate temptation by keeping your car neat and tidy, which also removes any extra hiding places.[18]
    Get a Mouse Out of Your Car Step 16.jpg
    • Also, remove any food and nesting material from your garage.


  1. https://www.autoweek.com/car-life/diy/a30568515/rats-in-the-engine-cradle-and-how-to-keep-them-out/
  2. https://publichealthinsider.com/2017/04/21/rodents-your-car-and-hantavirus-what-to-do-if-you-suspect-rodents-are-living-in-your-vehicle/
  3. [v161770_b01], 1 April 2021.
  4. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/how-to-protect-your-car-from-rodents-a5816950285/
  5. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/5-ways-to-tell-if-mice-are-living-in-your-car-301244627.html
  6. https://extension.usu.edu/wildlife-interactions/featured-animals/animals-in-car
  7. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/how-to-protect-your-car-from-rodents-a5816950285/
  8. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/how-to-protect-your-car-from-rodents-a5816950285/
  9. https://extension.usu.edu/wildlife-interactions/featured-animals/animals-in-car
  10. https://extension.usu.edu/wildlife-interactions/featured-animals/animals-in-car
  11. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/how-to-protect-your-car-from-rodents-a5816950285/
  12. https://extension.usu.edu/wildlife-interactions/featured-animals/animals-in-car
  13. https://publichealthinsider.com/2017/04/21/rodents-your-car-and-hantavirus-what-to-do-if-you-suspect-rodents-are-living-in-your-vehicle/
  14. https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/tips-to-keep-mice-out-of-stored-cars/
  15. https://extension.usu.edu/wildlife-interactions/featured-animals/animals-in-car
  16. https://www.autoweek.com/car-life/diy/a30568515/rats-in-the-engine-cradle-and-how-to-keep-them-out/
  17. [v161060_b01], 28 June 2019.
  18. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/how-to-protect-your-car-from-rodents-a5816950285/


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