Mice Engine Denouement

By | March 9, 2005

After nine weeks at the Audi dealership, my TT has finally come home. On January 5, I dropped off my car at the dealership because the check engine light was staying on, the car was running rough, and at the very end, the engine wouldn’t start at all. The diagnosis – mice had eaten through a large number of critical wires in the engine compartment.

Each week I would learn about new parts that had been discovered to have been gnawed through by the mice (or perhaps a single, very industrious, mouse). Each week I was told that it would be at least one more week before I got my car back. Even more time was added as they waited for parts to be shipped from Germany.

Fortunately, the comprehensive part of my insurance covered the cost. I say fortunately, because the final bill was for just over $18,000!! 70 different parts were replaced. If you count multiple numbers of the same part, a grand total of 114 parts were placed. The cost of the parts was about $8,200 and the labor came to a little over $9,000. The rest was tax.

I wouldn’t have believed the scope of the problem could have been that massive if it hadn’t been for the fact that representatives from my insurance company made several visits to the dealership while my car was under the knife, inspecting the damage and approving the proposed work.

For the last two months, I’ve had six mouse traps arrayed throughout my garage. Though I would have been happier if I had caught at least one mouse, there’s certainly no shortage of mice in the world to replace any that I might have caught. This evening, I securely boarded over the last opening where I think a mouse could have gotten into the garage. Very soon, I will have the garage door replaced and I will make sure there are no gaps around the edges or grates that a mouse could slip through.

29 thoughts on “Mice Engine Denouement

  1. Pingback: WombatNation » Mice Ate My Car

  2. Sarah

    I dogpiled ‘mouse in car’ and found your story. I am experiencing a similar problem. I have a Cadilac Escalade, which is home to a mouse or mice that I am convinced have a high IQ! I have 8 sticky traps filled with yummy cookies and peanut butter and for the past 5 days they have managed to nibble and feast, but not get caught. I refuse to drive my car until I catch a mouse. I know if it came crawling up my leg or across my feet I would get in an accident. I don’t want that for myself or my baby! My husband thinks I am insane, but I know there is a mouse or mice in my car, my proof being the nasty mouse turds it leaves behind! How can I catch this mouse??? I haven’t left my house in days and am getting really frustrated! The latest on the war against the mouse is that my car is deader than a doornail. I don’t know if that is because it has been sitting for days (which it has sat for longer periods of time) or if the mouse chewed through battery wires!!!
    🙂 Sarah

  3. mark

    mothballs around your garage will repel them. maybe leave some in the car for a few days. The mouse house (nest) is probably in your engine compartment or within your heating system (comfy).

  4. Bonnie

    I just paid $184 to my dealership to remove a mouse nest from behind my dashboard. I am still getting a “smell” when I turn on my vent system.

    Does anyone have a clue on how to get the smell out of the vent system in my car?

  5. Rachel

    My car just went in to the shop, there were seven dead baby rats in the a/c filter and a likely second source of smell is that mom was ground up in the blower motor. I’m wondering if there’s a way to get the car declared a biohazard and having my GAP insurance cover the difference. I have three kids that could get pretty sick if they breathe in dead rat bacteria…

  6. Linda

    Bounce dryer sheets are thought to also repel mice. They might smell nicer in the car than moth balls. Good luck to everyone…I have had mice in my car and my house and there seems to be no stopping them…

  7. Jamie

    I also have a mouse, or mice, in my car! I didn’t know what was happening, but at first I thought there was black “seeds” in my seat and the passenger seat. So, I vacuumed them out. The next day, there were more seeds in my seat. This time I brushed them out. A couple of days later, I noticed black things in my dog’s water dish that I keep in the car and that’s when I realized it wasn’t seeds, it was mouse doo doo!

    I have traps set in the garage and have caught two house mice so far. I hope they are the culprits. Don’t know how many more there may be!

  8. Dan

    Great story, and thanks for pointing out the insurance thing. I hadn’t thought to go that route. My VW GTI went into the dealer today after the A/C mysteriously just quit working. They found a wire harness that had been chewed through and evidence of a mouse/packrat/rodent that had been nesting in the engine comparment. Then I pop the hood of my ’04 Tahoe and find a whole mess of these pea pods things from our nearby Mesquite tree. They’ve infested my cars, it’s costing me money, and now the bigger question, how do I get rid of them?

  9. Naomi

    I have a mouse house in my Audi TT engine bay and the critters won’t leave…I didn’t realise it was so common – currently googling to find out how to get rid of them, we have tried removing their house, but they just come back….

  10. Amy

    Yes those little suckers are expensive. Total so far to my brand new Acura TL. Right over $10,000.00 so far! Since the dealership found the head of a rat inside the engine we are playing the waiting game with the insurance company. The entire motor has to be replaced. What a mess. My cat is in the dog house right now.

  11. Rick Suddes

    Here are two answers to rats chewing wiring on cars.

    1. Dust engine with critter powder & place moth balls in engine compartment.
    Here is what will happen you cannot get critter powder in all the small places and how long will the moth balls last.

    2. If you spray Rataway on the engine you are putting the product on the very thing you are trying to protect “The wire, hoses & insulation” I developed it and have used it for 5 years protecting heating & air conditioning equipment. Rataway Will bind to the insulation, hoses, and wire.

    I have been the heating & air business 40 years and fighting the rat problem that long. http://www.aircontrolcompany.com before I put Rataway on the market we tested it on many rodents, and animals. It has worked well please go to http://www.Rataway.com I want to help all of you.

    Please understand the following statement. All of the following products are good except for one thing. On the way to the moth balls, critter power, glue traps, traps, zappers, poison etc… THE RAT STOPPED AND CHEWED THE WIRING and most of the time there are manny rats. I have seen everything I talked about in attics, furnace rooms etc and the chewing goes on and on and on. I will fight the rats & mice as long as I stay in business. I am not trying to brag up Rataway I just know it works. Rick

  12. Leah

    Okay, so has anyone else been successful in submitting a claim to their insurance? We have a mouse/mice/who knows what chewing away at things and causing chaos in our Toyota 4 Runner. So far it stinks like crazy, the dealership found a mouse nest and removed it. Did nothing for the smell. Since then, there have been 2 sticky traps removed with more mouse poop and little hairs stuck to the darn things- but no mouse. Now our washer fluid won’t squirt, and today the heat fan didn’t work. The dashboard lights went out and I fear for what other damage the little suckers are doing. Want to file a claim, but not sure if others have had success. Would love your comments.

  13. KEVIN

    YES i am having the same problem, I just looked out the window and saw them loading my beautiful red truck on a flat bed , the truck that i pay 475 a month to drive. w’ell i just paid 500 to have fixed a week and a half ago.and now it will not start again, same symptoms sorry to offend but i am pretty —-‘in pissed

  14. Peridot

    I live in Florida where there is a healthy rat population. I have a cat & there are cats in the neighborhood, but they can/will only do so much. I’ve used the Critter Repellant & Rataway-which Rataway does seem to work better; my next step is Barn Owl houses in the neighborhood. Encroachment of the Everglades has driven the Florida Panther and other wildlife that would have kept down the population to near extinction. Prevention is always the best cure. One Barn Owl eats up to 1000 rats per year. If you live in an area that owls habitate-you will get results. The wineries and sugar cane fields have reported a very good success after doing this. Let nature take care of the problem-if/when possible.

  15. watson

    we have a 2007 tundra,we have found 4 dead mice in the cab. called dealersip and they have never heard of this.

  16. twoboymommy

    We have mice in our ’06 Jetta – trunk and engine compartment, not passenger area so far. We just started living on an acreage/camp and there’s no problem in our house yet, but this is getting annoying, any one have any great ideas for keeping them out of the cars in the first place?? Our Expedition doesn’t seem to have any issues! (though that may be related to the 18″ clearance.)

  17. Celeste

    I didn’t realize that this problem was so common. It made me feel better a first but now Im getting alittle worried. I let my beater car (Ford Escort) sit for a few weeks because of alot of snow fall and drove my truck. Well, when I got it out of the snow, I got a little surprise!! My car started right up but hesitated while driving up the road and it has never done this before. The I opened my hood and saw little mouse looking at me. I tried to grab it and get it out but it ran away into the engine somewhere. I drove my car for two days and it smelled bad. A couple weeks later I was driving and pulled over for gas and my car smelled terrible. Well I opened my hood and a mouse was staring at me agian. It tried to run away onto the windshield….big mistake…I hit it with a paper towel roll and it went flying in the parking lot AND STILL LIVED not that I was trying to kill it, I just wanted it out of my car. Now, my car smells even more horrible especially when the vent is on. I brought it to the self cleaning car wash and used the high pressure hose to clean around the engine block and under the car. It still smells when I have the heat on and ITS GROSS!! What do I do? Im thinking about taking it to my mechanic. HELP

  18. m. kothari

    Hey! A great write up. I had a similar visit by what we think was a famished and horny rodent ‘passing by’. The tab I picked up was $1000 on my Dodge RAM whose almost every cable was chewed out. Oh, don’t park any car in the same spot for long as I did. I have a remote starter and I use it in the middle of the night ‘to make their bed so f****** hot’, as it were. I also had a racoon with 5 babies in the attic, a full maternity ward. That was an easy catch with a vending machine on the roof!

  19. Tom

    I had mice build a nest in the ventilation system of our 08 Corolla over the winter. The nest was built on top of the ventilation fan assembly located behind the glove box. I had to remove the assembly, clean it out as well as the ventilation duct from under the hood. When completed I still had he smell. By spraying Fabreez into the ventilation intake while running the fan on high with all the various settngs, then leaving the car sit for 2 days, it got rid of most of the odor. The remainder disipated over he next week.
    Hope this helps.

  20. Sherry

    Our Jeep was sitting for a few months, next thing you know it wouldn’t start. We had it towed to a mechanic near by. The mechanic found a big nest under the hood. It was apparently a mouse nest made out of all the wires and papers etc. found in our
    vehicle. The mechanic said it will cost around $800.00 to replace all the wires and open up the dash. Second week the mechanic says theres still a short or a problem the car wont start. Now he says
    the computer is broken and needs replacing and connection to it needs to be rebuilt. This may cost
    up to another thousand dollars. We dont understand
    about the computer. We think it shouldn’t cost this much and in this year jeep there are several delay
    switches that turn the computer off so it wont be
    destroyed. Does anyone know if this sounds cheesy?
    What if the mice do come back. Does rattaway work for mice? Does it get into the air you breath inside
    the car?

  21. Liz

    had this prob in august in my 2000 subaru. no warning.i drove this car every single day as it was the only one available to me. drove two miles down the street to a friends, shut off car. tried to start it later; dead. found some sort of rodents had eaten thru the entire “harness” electrical wire set-up. took trips to two different subaru dealers to get corrrected. was covered by insurance as an “act of God” i think. mothballs in old knee-his by the firewall seemed to work. gonna try this in my alero; nests have been found under dash. right now i can hear those chipmunks chirping to each other outside my open windoww….grrrrr

  22. kathryn

    I have a similar problem but it is squirrels! Does anybody have an idea on how to get the squirrels from making my 02 sensor their afternoon treat?

  23. Anna Farias

    Try peppermint oil. It can be bought online or purchased @ any local herb or organic products shop/grocery store. Dab the oil here an there along the dashboard, leave cotton balls of it inside your car, here and there, wipe the engine and surrounding compartments and wires w/the oil, also all on the edges of the hood, around ac vents, etc. I have a 2000 Honda CRV. It has over 300,000 miles on it. Has been an EXCELLENT vehicle! BUT…the mice have invaded it more than 7 times in the many years I’ve had it. I live in a rural area, on a ranch. I have a carport, but not an enclosed garage. One time, I noticed the headlights didn’t seem to look the same. When I stood in front of the car to check them, one headlight had been totally filled w/deer corn, overnight! Other times, the spark plug wires, battery cables, fuel hoses and other electrical wires have been chewed up, to the tune of no less than $500.00 per fix. Upon opening the hood, I have been startled by skittering mice, or a nest of debris built overnight, finding “pinkies” in a nest under the flipped over back seats, nests inside and under the molded plastic shell seats, umpteen droppings on the dahboard, and other interior compartments,as well as on the upholstered seats. Even had a rattlesnake somehow get into my glove compartment, overnight – it was hunting for mice, I’m sure. I’ve also seen mice skitter across the floorboards all of a sudden, as I’m driving to work. I’ve seen mice jump out of my car as I park @ work. Which means the mice “commuted” to work w/me – who knows how many times. Country living has brought me many a surprise. I have reached the point that no one, absolutely no one, rides w/me bc I am so embarrassed by the leftover rodent smell. I refuse to allow anyone to ride w/me. I’ve cleaned and recleaned my car, sprayed it w/Febreze, Lysol, Oust, cleaned it w/bleach…whatever. None works as well as the peppermint oil does. I imagine I will never totally rid myself of mice, as long as I live in the country. But the peppermint oil, at least makes, the problem manageable.

  24. perry

    RATAWAY! Works!
    I have used it for over two years in my 4 vehicles and
    completely eliminated my rat and eliminated my rat problem. Previously could not get 2 days after cleaning ” pressure washing” my engine before they were back. I used Rataway in all 4 of them and still have not had a return of the furry destructors.
    It’s not a poison but rodents will stay away guaranteed. I love it!

  25. Matt

    We had the same problem in our new VW TDI. We didn’t see the nest however when the car was in for service and the technician removed the engine cover the mice were nesting under there. they have been using the hood insulation for nesting material. We have not had a problem yet with electrical damage however the dealership informed me this was not covered by any warranty and I would want to get this under control before it get any worse. We ended up getting a mouseblocker electronic device and it has worked great. The car has been back in for service and I always have them look for nests or new damage and since we have had this installed we have had no new nests. Good luck, because these problems can be so tricky and expensive to fix. The dealership said they see mouse nests in cars almost daily!

  26. chris

    I have had rats living in my 2002 VW Beetle for a few months out of the blue after parking in the same spot for almost a year. I live in a city and park my car next to a big dumpster (rat alley). I only had minor wire and hose damage and I fixed it myself, I was lucky so far. I have tried parking my car in a different spot and they still found my car. I am going to try to park on the street starting today. I am afraid that they will still find me. I am very eager to try Rataway, it might be my last resource.

    I have tried Moth Balls, they DO NOT WORK and DO NOT USE!!! My wife and I took the car out for a short drive after putting lots of Moth Balls in the engine. My wife freaked out and made me pull over and jumped out of the car. We both felt very dizzy, almost like carbon monoxide poisoning. We felt dizzy for hrs after. I just wanted to warn people.

    I also tried used (pee) cat litter. I spread it all around, under and inside the engine (inside a plastic container). I thought that the rats would be freaked out by the smell but no luck.

    The building owners have put out rat poison and big rat traps around the dumpster. The poison is some green square things. I put them in the car too but nothing has worked.

    Two weeks ago we did have a big ass dead rat in the middle of the drive way so that was some satisfaction for me.

    Sorry Robert for your troubles. I hope it has gotten better.


  27. Katy

    I have had the EXACT same problem with my 2009 Hyundai Tucson. It is back in the shop as I’m writing this, getting fixed for the second time in two weeks. I have been away at school on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico for the last year and a half, and I graduated December 17th. Around Dec 23rd, my family and I left for Christmas vacation. Upon returning January 3rd, my car, which had been parked in the same spot for less than two weeks, did not have headlights, and the ABS and ESC and parking brake light stayed on. The car would start though. That’s when we took it to the dealership to get fixed to the tune of $3,000, after they informed us both left and right wiring harnesses were chewed through (along with the foam put in place to prevent that). No more than a few days after getting it back, THE SAME THING HAPPENED. I took it back angrily, sure that they had done something wrong, but no. The same thing happened. AND the EXTRA foam they put was also chewed through. So it is being fixed, AGAIN. The weirdest part is that I live in suburbia, and my car used to be parked here all summer. Never had a problem before. Not sure how to prevent it for the next week or so until I move to Orlando. I can’t keep doing this, I simply don’t have the time. So, I feel your pain, and I wish everyone well who is having to deal with a nasty rodent problem.

  28. how

    I am now not sure the place you’re getting your information, however great topic. I needs to spend some time studying much more or understanding more. Thank you for great info I was searching for this info for my mission.

  29. Craig

    We have had mice in our area but never in our cars until recently. We brought the car in for service for a check engine light and found out it was damaged wiring from mice. The repairs were over $800!! We installed a mouse blocker device and have been checking under the hood weekly now and and the mice have not returned. I didn’t want to say anything until we reviewed this thing ourselves but it has been working great for us and thought I should share our experience. Ours was purchased online at mouseblocker.com for only 50 bucks and only wished we installed in sooner.


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