Guests, Uninvited

You all know very quickly what new claims come across my desk by the subject of my blog for the week.
This weeks’ claims winner: rodents in your cars’ engine.

Okay, not glamorous (how glamorous, really, are claims), or anything you look forward to thinking about. But neither is shelling out $6,000 or $14,000 to your favorite auto mechanic. Those are actually claim payouts.
During these months where the outside critters (rats, mice, squirrels, rabbits) are moving inside for food and warmth, you can mitigate damage to your car by:

• Modify habitat: if food is there, they will come. If you have food around, the population of critters will rise until the food is consumed. Remove or make your bird feeders squirrel proof, don’t throw peanuts out to attract them, cut grass low, remove debris and anything where critters can hide. Make sure water sources are eliminated as much as possible. Don’t feed pets outdoors.
• Prevent access: place your vehicle inside a secure facility, like a garage. Make sure you have tightened the garage up so the critters can’t enter. That requires that gaps ¼” or larger be filled. Doors should seal securely and any vents should be screened with ¼” hardware cloth.
• Population reduction: rodent populations can be managed with traps and toxicants. I say “managed” because it will NEVER end. They will come back if you relax your control and don’t actually modify habitat.

Be safe, follow manufacturers’ directions for using traps and toxicants and do what you can to mitigate any damage.

The critters that would love to nest in your engine and chew on the wires are not Mickey or Minnie, Bugs, Chip or Dale, Alvin, Simon or Theodore. The damage they do is real, costly to the car and time spent by you in the repair process and very ooky. Prevent and Prevail!!