February 16

Rodents and Cars Don't Mix

Auto Repair, Car Costs, Cars and the Environment


Very frequently we open a hood only to be greeted by poop: small rodent poop. Unfortunately many small rodents: mice, rats and squirrels often find your car’s engine a great place to hang out. Occasionally they meet an untimely demise when the car starts and they are camped out on the drive belt or exhaust manifold. For car owners, having dead rodents removed can be a bit disconcerting but the worst havoc that rodents wreak is chewing on things: for some reason they especially like wires.

This week the rodents struck again on a 2001 Acura TL. The vehicle came to the shop for a check engine lamp on. Connecting the scan tool to the vehicle computer revealed a knock sensor trouble code. After extensive diagnosis we found that the wire to the sensor, buried deep under the intake manifold had been chewed apart. This is an expensive repair because it requires removing the entire intake manifold to access the wiring.

What can you do to keep rodents out? I spent some time on the internet and found no easy, ‘one size fits all’ solution that I can recommend. It is best to inspect under your hood on a regular basis to look for rodent signs: poop, nesting materials, nuts, etc. If you see any, carefully clean it up and keep monitoring. Unfortunately sometimes their evidence goes unnoticed as was the case with our Acura as there was no rodent signs of any sort: just a chewed wire and an expensive repair.

a dreaded wire munching grey squirrel
a dreaded wire munching grey squirrel

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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