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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took my poor little black prius in for its 15000 mile service today. They just called to say the car is done, but that they found "rats in the engine". They said they hadn't chewed anything (much?) yet. But, they're being very unhelpful on the phone about how to eliminate the rats and prevent them from coming back in. They're offering no advice, except "call an exterminator". This is the dealership I bought the car from and use for service.

I'm headed over to go pick up my car and see for myself.

Anyone ever heard of this? Dealt with this?

Help!!!
-Henry
 

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This is not the dealer's problem, it's yours, and they gave you good advice. Do whatever is necessary to get rid of the little bastards immediately and permanently. Hire an exterminator who will ratproof your parking area and not merely poison the rats once. Rodents (rabbits) moved into my Mazda engine compartment some years ago while I was on vacation and they chewed up a (then) $500 wiring harness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Richard, with all due respect, if I'm paying a dealer to service my car and there is damage to the vehicle that needs fixing, then it is their problem (and my money).

When the service guy called me he was very unclear about what they had found and implied that there was damage.

As it turns out, what they found was huge stashs of peanuts, but no obvious damage. My guess is that some near-neighbor is feeding the birds with peanuts. I am also guessing that the rep I talked to on the phone had not actually seen the vehicle, but was instead relaying info (and doing it rather poorly in terms of communicating what he did and did not know).

I have battled with rats before (in a condo building I managed) and know what a pain they are. I absolutely do NOT condone the use of poison because of the risks of contamination etc.. Rats CAN be caught and killed by other means. The best luck I've had in the past is with sticky traps. (Which, are actually probably a worse experience for the rat than simply being poisoned.)

My parking area is in a driveway...there won't be any way to ratproof, but I am going to go read up on those ultrasonic repeller devices. (Though I'm dubious whether they work.)

cheers,
-Henry
 

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check out cartalk.com and see what's there. I recall many callers on this subject and there may be a solution.
 

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We tried the sticky traps at the train club, didn't work. Rats walked right over them and chewed up the scenery trees. Trees are expensive, even when they are only 5 actual inches!
 

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Someone was feeding the squirrils. (rodents) It's a pain in the butt but when you park the car for any length of time in the driveway pop the hood and place an old sock full of moth balls any spot it will fit. We have been taking care of the mice in engine problem this way for years. Only have to do it for a week or so before they'll abandon you.
 

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"place an old sock full of moth balls any spot it will fit"

Just not in the air intake...
;-)
 

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Time to be politically incorrect.

I'd notify the neighbors and see if you can get whoever is putting the feed out there to stop. Eliminating the food source will strongly encourage the rats to go elsewhere.

I strongly encourage you to reconsider poison. I use the cheap wooden traps from Home Depot and bait with pepperoni as a first resort because It's instantaneous and I can dispose of the corpse right away. When that doesn't work I use poison. There is very little contamination. It comes in a cardboard box and the pellets are quite obvious...bright green or blue. The rats eat the bait. It is an anticoagulant. They eventually hemmorhage to death. Even if a cat or dog eats the corpse it wouldn't hurt them. I put the bait where no pets can get it, but my dog has shown no interest in it. Even if he ate some, the little bit in the box wouldn't hurt him as he's 45lb and the rat is much smaller. The bait works by weight and the rats need to eat it several days in a row. Hopefully you will find the corpse and dispose of it. That's the downside of using poison. But you need to get ALL of the rats. If Mom has babies you've got a bigger problem. That's why I strongly suggest traps first. If the bait keeps getting stolen and the traps aren't set off...then switch to poison.

They will continue to return to your car if you don't move it and deal with the rats. You can pay for constant repairs and have your car inspected monthly for damage....or you can kill the rats. They are not just going to "move on".
 

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I don't know if this works for rats, but it sure helped with squirrels. My wifes car was damaged by squirrels twice within a month (tasty main wiring harness, $500+, needed to be ordered from Japan [Subaru], took about 4-6 weeks :cry: ). We then installed several socks with pieces of Irish Spring soap in the engine compartment, of course nowhere near anything that gets hot or is moving. Since then, the car has been squirrel free. It's a cheap solution, and probably worth a try.
 

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Of course the dealer should repair any damage he is paid to repair. If you find a dealer who can rat-proof your car please let us know. Maybe he can make our cars invulnerable to door dings and bird poop also.
 

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How do you know the rats didn't come from the dealership? Once you drop off your car, are you responsible for damage to the vehicle while on their lot, where they park it while it is queued for service?

Can they prove the rats arrived before you dropped it off? :wink:
 

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Henry,

Sorry to here about your unwelcomed passengers.

A few years ago, a field mouse took up residence in the truck of my previous car. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to chase it out of whatever hiding spot he was hiding in, I purchased a catch and release trap and baited it with peanut butter. Two days later, I had my prey captured and released it in a field FAR from my home.

I'm not sure that traps are available that would be large enough for a rat, but its might be worth checking out.

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So, I spent a long time yesterday evening picking all the peanuts out. Some of the locations were rather difficult, even with some of the long extraction tools I happen to have. My guess is that there are still some significant caches in locations I can't see/get to without disassembling further (which I'm not keen on doing just because I don't have any extra time right now).

I did find some very obvious chewing, although no damage to wiring. (The chewing is on a plastic conduit containing dozens of wires near the top back of the engine compartment. Thankfully no damage to the wires within, just to the conduit.) Finding that damage gives me little faith in the dealership's assurance that "we did a totally thorough check and couldn't find any damage.".

The conduit damage can be ignored, but obviously the rat problem cannot. Looks like it's time to go on the hunt again.

Would strapping a cat to my bumper be considered unethical???

-Henry
 

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and_the_dog said:
Would strapping a cat to my bumper be considered unethical???

-Henry
You could start a poll...

:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Seven7 said:
How do you know the rats didn't come from the dealership? Once you drop off your car, are you responsible for damage to the vehicle while on their lot, where they park it while it is queued for service?

Can they prove the rats arrived before you dropped it off? :wink:
I think the types of rats you're talking about are metaphorical, rather than actual...and, yes, this dealership has at least their fair share of them. I'm sure my Rattus Norvegicus intrusion occurred while the car was recently parked for 2.5 weeks.

-henry
 

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Warning: Obscure quantum mechanics joke ahead...

and_the_dog said:
I think the types of rats you're talking about are metaphorical, rather than actual
<Frink> Hmm... sounds like the famous Schrodinger's Rat conundrum. mhey.
/frink
 

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Thomme said:
Hmm... sounds like the famous Schrodinger's Rat conundrum. mhey.
Ah... the trick then is never to pop the hood... then the rats will never exist... or will they? And the cat may be there as well, to eat them or not, as the case may be.
 

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A common location to check is the HVAC system, particulary the AC filter behind the glove box. A former co-worker of mine has been battling mice eating that filter and nesting in his 2004 for quite some time. I've read some nasty stories of mice in a Classic's AC system and dieing in there, too.
 
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