When people think of critter infestations, cars and trucks aren’t usually the first things that come to mind. But the fact is that vehicles can make an excellent home for small animals who can wreak havoc on them. In rare cases, small animals can chew through a vehicle’s wiring and other essential components, which can create a dangerous situation since it could mean that vital functions—like braking, reversing, and accelerating—could fail to work properly.
While an infestation isn’t the most common complaint you’re likely to encounter during your mechanic career, it is something you can watch out for. If a client comes to you for advice about how to deal with a vehicle that’s infested, you’ll be able to offer them the following tips.
1. Vehicle Storage Advice Can Protect Clients from Infestations When You Become a Mechanic
Many vehicle critter infestations happen during the winter months when small furry animals are looking for two things: warmth and food. Vehicles tend to provide both of these things in abundance, especially if they are stored for the winter. Anybody keeping a car in storage should protect against potential infestations by removing all food sources not just from the vehicle itself, but also from the surrounding area. Pet food is especially attractive to small animals, so it shouldn’t be stored near where a vehicle is.
Also, after your mechanic training you should advise clients who are keeping their vehicles in storage to check in on the vehicle and turn on the engine from time to time. Doing so helps scare away small animals and it allows the vehicle owner to spot a potential infestation early on. That’s usually better than only noticing an infestation during the spring thaw when much of the damage will already have been done.
2. Spraying Peppermint Oil Can Discourage Critters from Taking Up Residence in Vehicles
Mice have an extremely strong sense of smell and one scent that they really dislike is peppermint. So if you have a client when you become a mechanic who has a mouse infestation in their car, one piece of advice you can give them is to spray peppermint oil in and on their vehicle.
To use peppermint oil as a mouse repellant, it is necessary to use only 100% peppermint oil. This can be diluted in water at a ratio of about 8 to 1 water to oil and then sprayed on the engine bay under the hood. Peppermint oil can also be sprayed inside the car interior, especially since mice love making nests using the filling from inside car seats. However, it’s a good idea to test the spray out first on a small patch of the upholstery to make sure it doesn’t cause stains.
3. Rodent-Repellent Electrical Tape Can Keep Mice from Feasting on Vehicle Wires
A curious fact about vehicle infestations is that European and Asian models tend to be targeted by critters more often than North American vehicles are. While nobody has conclusively figured out why mice are partial to overseas vehicles, it probably isn’t a result of their appreciation for Japanese and German engineering.
The most popular theory is that mice are attracted to the coating that many Asian and European automakers apply to their wiring. That coating, which is designed to meet environmental regulations, is derived from soy, which some theorize may be attractive to rodents. In any case, rodent-repellent electrical tape can be purchased and wrapped around engine wiring to deter curious critters.
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