Published on March 24th, 2020 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Don’t Let Rats Live In Your Engine Bay During Lockdown
This just happened to us!
You probably have 2 to 3 cars in your family (some Malaysians have up to dozen cars but we are not concerned so much about them). With the COVID-19 lockdown we are assuming you are being a great Malaysian and world citizen and are staying at home 95% of the time and only going out to get groceries, pharmacy necessities and maybe to pack some food.
This means you are probably using just one vehicle in the garage and leaving the rest idle. Big mistake people and please learn from my big mistake. I have a few old cars in my garage and before any lockdown we used take turns to drive them daily.
Yes, my cars are never left idle for more than 3-4 days. Even when we are away on holiday or work we get someone to start and idle the cars for a few minutes every other day. This is why our car battery’s remain charged.
This time we were careless as we were worried and preoccupied about COVID-19 and neglected to to start two cars. The rest have been used everyday (past 7 days) for necessary errands.
This morning we decided to start our Nissan MPV and it turned but did not want to start up. Cranking the engine over and over did not work. The car battery was fine. We opened up the engine hood and this is what we found. Rat droppings on the battery top and engine cover. Plus, the smell. Yuck!
Rats Bite Wires!
We took a light brush and cleaned out the rat droppings first and then started looking for any wires that the rats might have bitten. Yes, rats love to bite wires in car engines and this is why you sometimes see old cars catching fire. Old cars left idle for long (like our barn find Mitsubishi EVO 4 last year) will have these rodents living in them and they love to chew on wires. When you ignite the engine, you think, fine the engine is running and we car take a drive. What you do not realize is the wires that have been bitten (they are live now) just need to touch another bitten live wire and a fire can start. Before you can stop the fire, your car is engulfed and your insurance agent gets a call from you.
How do the rats get inside your engine bay? Easy, the climb up your tires and find their way through the many little holes. Luckily there is no way for them to get inside the car cabin.
So what can you do.
What You Need To Do
- Place a rat trap next to your car front tires.
- Use a natural peppermint spray in your engine bay that is specifically created to deter rodents from chewing on the wires in cars. You can find this in some DIY shops.
- Clean your engine using an approved chemical wash (only if you know what to do) as you want to get rid of the rat’s urine and poo smell. They use this smell to find their way back every night and continue the damage.
- You can also use mothballs but you must be careful where you place them in your engine bay.
- If you live in a house (landed property) you can leave you engine bay completely open. Rats like dark places. If you live in a high rise condominium you need to be extra careful as rats love cool places like underground and covered car parks.
- Get a pet OWL. The are the best at catching rats.
We were not so lucky and we needed a mechanic to look at our Nissan. For now, we just cleaned the engine bay, got rid of the rat smell and will wait for the lockdown to end and then get our trusted mechanic to come by and get the wiring sorted. Lesson learned.