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I have a friend who had a brand new 2004 Saab 9.3 Aero catch on fire because of a squirrel nest that got built in the engine compartment. Little critters can definitely equal big problems with cars.
 

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The pic is of my '04, and yes, it's ALL open and
interconnected between where your arrows are. And
down into the quarter panels, so screening
all the openings you see still doesn't seal against critters.
.
If you managed to screen the *inner* opening where
the actual air inlet is, that would be different. But I don't
see a good way to get in there unless you used some
sort of glue; not a lot of room to work.
.
_H*
 

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Rodent deterrence

If you live in the desert you may have big packrats too. One built a huge nest on the engine under the hood of my Ford Bronco while I was away for a while. These critters are extremely persistent and destructive, and learn to avoid conventional rat traps - you might catch one...

I now put a sock full of mothballs under the hood if I will be away for a while: the smell is reputed to repel rodents: the mothballs will only last about a month.

I also put a bar of potent rodent killer firmly glued (liquid nails) to a board (so it cant get dragged into an orifice somewhere). In addition, I put a sticky trap under the hood. Better a smell there than inside a AC hose, or extensive chewing on your wires, hoses, etc.

These steps my not protect some intakes, which should be screened, as suggested above (or hang mothballs there).

Put a note on the seat reminding you to remove these obstructions when you return!

I also made a rodent-proof seal for the garage door (rodents chew through the rubber) I bought a 8" roll of aluminum sheet, rolled it lengthwise into a U shape, and then attached it to the garage door with sheet metal screws and washers. The bend in the U accommodates any irregularity in the floor, and leaves no dangerous cut edges.

It is difficult to bend 16' of Al. sheet long ways, and it tears easily because of its springiness - mine did not look pretty, but works. (Rivets tore out, U-clamps did not grip well & I had no help so I could not keep the two edges properly aligned.) You must make the bend before mounting on the door.

If I were doing this again, I would pre-drill bolt holes at 6" intervals, and starting from 1 end, bolt the arms of the U tightly together with short bolts and 2 large washers. This is at least a two-person job to avoid tears & keep the join parallel - one (or more) persons bend, the other tightens the bolts to clamp the two edges of the strip. The more of the length that can be bent in advance of the bolt, the less the chance of a tear. One could remove the bolts one at a time and substitute sheet-metal screws & washer to attach to the door. With help and a power driver this should be a 2-3 hour job. Position so the U is slightly compressed when the door is let down. Next time I might also do this job in 4' overlapping sections - 16' is a dangerous snake.

When finished look for unprotected spots where the door runners are - you may have to improvise with additional aluminium. Have fun!
 

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Mothballs are hazardous to people health, and are bad if you have cats or dogs that might ride in the car, or be near where the car is.

I think I'd skip the moth balls.
 

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Mothballs

You are correct about the health hazard if used incorrectly. That's why they are bad for rodents :p

I only put them under the hood. Any vapor dissipates quickly: in fact they only last a month if not sealed. I think that is a safe location. For an air intake area, remove mothballs, turn on vent for a few minutes and leave door open. The stuff is not THAT dangerous.

If I were having serious rodent problems inside the car, I would not hesitate to use them inside. It might drive out an animal you know has taken up residence but can't catch. Again, just air out until the odor disappears. Should't take long.

Everyone has to choose their own solution - but rodents can make you pretty desperate.

Charlie
 

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I think you guys must be Humane Society members attracting those cute animals. You're scaring me reading all these mice, rat, and squirrel posts. Just no guinea pigs, please!
 

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In our 05 Prius the heater/fan started smelling REALLY bad. We took it to the dealer and they found rodent leavings in the blower motor -- cleaned it out and charged us $200. A few days later, it was smelling again. I just got back from the dealer, they had chewed through the air intake filter (again persummably).

If I'm reading the previous posts correctly, the procedure that syncmaster outlined will do no good, per Hobbit -- there are many more openings.

I'm wondering, since there is an air intake filter (that is at least somewhat accessible -- since they did it twice) and the rodents had to chew through it to get in (the service rep said the order is air intakes, air intake filter, blower motor, vent ducts, vents) -- might there be some way to reinforce the the air intake filter -- wire mesh over the filter or something???
 

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richard schumacher said:
Rodents will gnaw things just to keep their ever-growing incisors (front teeth) trimmed to the right length. I had to replace the wiring harness in my Mazda after it was chewed up by a rabbit while I was on vacation.

Make sure the screen or mesh is fine enough. Mice can squeeze through a 1/4 inch hole.
Well they will only "gnaw" on those orange wires one time! :lol:
 

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janets98 said:
I'm going to be leaving Phoebe in an open barn...
Ooh, I like that name! :)

Rodents living in the car seems to be a recurring theme on "Car Talk." It's a good idea to keep unpackaged food out of the car, including crumbs that land on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
redtrebor said:
If I'm reading the previous posts correctly, the procedure that syncmaster outlined will do no good, per Hobbit -- there are many more openings.
Hello,
I wrote the screen mesh idea and hobbit said there are many openings to the heater, but I don't think he is correct.
I tried to take the cowl off to look but I would have to force the wiper arm off and I don't want to do that.
What I did try... is with the heater fan running on hi I held a piece of paper in front of where I installed the wire mesh screen and the paper was sucked up against the screen and the fan motor sounded like it was starving for air. So from that I deduce that there is not another way for air or rodents to get into the heater. I could be wrong about this, but that is what I think.
Installing the wire mesh is not difficult to do if you have small hands.
I have big hands so I used some kitchen tongs to place the wire mesh screen.

I think rodents are attracted to the warm motor when you park it in the winter and as the motor cools off they look for some other warm place, that is why they are attrected to the still warm heater in the car.
It's true they are also attracted to food but I think a warm place in the winter is the main thing.

The wire mesh in front of the inside air filter seems like a good idea also.
 

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Thanks SyncMaster!

I'll try some experiments with which hole or holes are the intake.

I have big hands too, but maybe I'll recruit some smaller hands. How did you afix the screen? Glue? Screws? In your initial post you said you had more pictures, can you attach them?
 

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Discussion Starter #33
redtrebor said:
Thanks SyncMaster!

I'll try some experiments with which hole or holes are the intake.

I have big hands too, but maybe I'll recruit some smaller hands. How did you afix the screen? Glue? Screws? In your initial post you said you had more pictures, can you attach them?

they limit the number of pictures here but I will try to post them here:

My first idea did not work; I cut a piece of screen of gutter guard and put magnetic strips around the sides, thinking now I just place it in front of the hole and the magnetic strips would hold it in place. But the magntic strips did not hold. (I think the wall might be aluminum)
The size of the screen is 4-3/8" X 7-1/2"
 

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Discussion Starter #34
redtrebor said:
Thanks SyncMaster!

I'll try some experiments with which hole or holes are the intake.

I have big hands too, but maybe I'll recruit some smaller hands. How did you afix the screen? Glue? Screws? In your initial post you said you had more pictures, can you attach them?
My second try, I install a stainless steel clip that came with the gutter guard (bought at ACE hardware) . I bent the tabs on the clip so it was attached to one side of the screen. Now with the tongs I put the screen over the hole so the stainless steel clip slid over the edge of the right side of the opening. so now the clip is holding the right side of the screen on.
Now I took Duct tape (my favorite repair tool) to hold the left side of the screen. I didn't want to drill a hole and maybe have a warranty issue.
See the picture if your confused.
 

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Mice and Gators

Pretty happy to live in SoCal where our mice sunbathe in the backyard with the full permission of our lazy cat and my "too sweet to kill anything" dog!! They don't care about warm engines..... I am going to need to take a long drive somewhere cold so I can see that snowflake thing all the Norther's talk about!!!
 

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Re: Mice and Gators

salsawonder said:
Pretty happy to live in SoCal where our mice sunbathe in the backyard with the full permission of our lazy cat and my "too sweet to kill anything" dog!! They don't care about warm engines..... I am going to need to take a long drive somewhere cold so I can see that snowflake thing all the Norther's talk about!!!
Unfortunately, you are not safe in SoCal. I'm in LA and A few months ago I opened my hood to discover something had eaten out a big hole in the black sound proofing material that covers most of the surface beneath the hood. I don't know WHY a creature would have done that... It was right above where the oil cap is, and was done in a rough circle about 6 inches across. There were tons of scraps of yellow and black insulation all over the engine, so it doesn't seem like much could have been carried off to make a nest... I showed it to the dealer and the guy didn't have anything helpful to say, other than he thought it wasn't important that there was a hole in the black stuff.
 

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mice in the car's engine

My brother lives in the country and had trouble with mice invading his wife's car and chewing up wires to the ac or something like that. They have dogs, but no cats. We had a cat until March of 04 and not long after the cat died we actually had a problem wih rats (yuck) in our backyard after our neighbor exterminated for them in her attic...the rats migrated to our yard and took up residence in former squirrel's nests. It cost quite a lot to have them exterminated in our backyard, and I boarded three dogs so they wouldn't eat poisoned dying rats for three weeks. I asked the exterminator what could I do to keep the rats from coming back? He said "Get a cat". Have not done that yet, but it is tempting now when I read these tails of woe.
 

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Re: mice in the car's engine

LittleLamb said:
We had a cat until March of 04 and not long after the cat died we actually had a problem wih rats (yuck) in our backyard after our neighbor exterminated for them in her attic...the rats migrated to our yard and took up residence in former squirrel's nests.
That's one problem with rat poison - cats eating the poisoned mice, and themselves getting poisoned. :(
 

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Ever since my service manager showed me Phoebe's infestation, I've asked them to check the cabin air filter at every service. I am so paranoid I even want to hold my breath the entire time air is circulating in the car. :lol:
 
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