Have you noticed signs that’ll make you wonder if rodents are residing in your vehicle? Well, there are several ways to tell rodents are in your car. To begin with, your vehicle will emit a foul odour that’s often associated with rats.

Most of the time, we find that the presence of rodents in a car isn’t the fault of the car owner. Rats have collapsible vertebrae that allow them to get into the smallest of spaces. Essentially, no matter how much you fasten your windows, doors and turn on your alarm, there are other ways they can get into your car.

Rats are small, but they can cause your car significant damage. A little gnaw at the wires of your vehicle can cost you hundreds of dollars in repairs. Not to mention, they pose a risk to your health.

Therefore, if you feel your car has become a breeding ground for rodents, you should eradicate them immediately. Thankfully, this post provides you with all you need to know about mice in your car. Keep reading to know the ways to tell if rodents are living in your vehicle.

Destroyed Upholstery

For a rat to take up residence anywhere, it’ll need a nest. Luckily for it, your car has the raw materials necessary to build a nest.

So, if you suddenly discover patches in your car’s seat, there’s every possibility a rat is occupying a place in the car. If you also find chewed foams, wrappers, or papers littered on your vehicle’s floor, you probably have a rat living in it.

Foul Odors

This is one of the significant ways to tell rodents are in your car. Mice often use the car vent as a passage to climb through your engine and into your car’s interior.

For this reason, it’s not surprising that most people will detect the bad smell from their air vent. Aside from this, your vent system allows rats to access materials they’ll use in building nests quickly.

Not to mention, pests, particularly rats, have a bad smell. Therefore, the bad smell from your vent may be due to their urine, feces or dirt carried by them. If the odour is terrible, you likely have a dead rodent in your vent.

Related Article: Is Mice Damage to Your Car Covered by Insurance?

Mouse Nests

The simplest way to affirm your suspicions about rodents living in your car is to find their nest. Since a car’s compartment is not very big, there are limited places where rats can hide in your car.

The first area you should inspect is in your vehicle’s airbox. This is where your car’s engine air filter is placed. Most rats prefer this area because it’s cozy and offers protection from any weather elements.

Check the box for clues of unwanted tenants. Ensure the area is clean, empty and neat. This way, you can notice nests quickly.

Another location to check is under your vehicle’s plastic engine lid if you have one. Lastly, do not forget to inspect under your car seats. This may seem like an open area where rats may not reside. However, it offers rats a dark and cool spot to build their nests.

Rat Droppings

Mouse droppings are among the obvious ways to tell rodents are in your car. Search for tiny rodent droppings on your car’s seat, dashboard and floor mat.

If you also notice wet patches on your vehicle’s interior, there’s every possibility you have rats living in it.

Mechanical Breakdown

So many things can cause a vehicle’s mechanical breakdown. For this reason, most drivers often notice rodents living in their car after it develops a fault.

Now, car problems usually occur when rodents in the car engine chew through its wires. The average rodent often gnaws at wires to either sharpen its teeth or make its nest.

Besides, research has also shown that rodents find soy-based wirings to be tasty. Therefore, it’s unlikely you’ll have rodents residing in your car without experiencing a car breakdown due to faulty wiring. No doubt, with the complexity of wiring in modern cars, you’ll spend hundreds of dollars fixing this problem.

mechanical breakdown

How A Mouse Gets Into Your Car

As mentioned above, mice often get into your vehicle through the air vent. Aside from this, they can also get in through your windows and doors if you hardly lock them.

Then, there’s your car engine. A rat can easily climb in through the holes and vents meant for wires, pedals, a steering column or your cables. Finally, if your car has open spaces between its compartment, they can squeeze into it.

How to Stop Mouse From Living In Your Vehicle

What can you do if you notice that your car has become a home for rats? Just like there are several ways to tell rodents are living in your car, there are also methods to remove them.

Set a trap

This is the best strategy that’ll solve your rodent problem. Mousetraps are not only beneficial in the home. You can also use them in your car.

All you need to do is set them under the seats and other hidden areas of your vehicle. This will protect your vehicle from unwanted tenants.

We advise you use the classic old-fashioned traps. This will enable you to catch the rident directly. However, if you don’t want to deal with an injured or dead mouse, you should use traps that allow the rodents to be released elsewhere — for example, sticky boards.

Crank up the heater

Rodents usually prefer to live in a cool place. Unlike humans, they can’t stand extreme heat. Wind up your vehicle’s window and park in a scorching location, preferably under the sun. You can also put your car heater on the highest level. The intense heat will make the rodents seek another home.

Blare your car speakers

Loud sounds like playing the car radio on full volume and blaring your horn loudly may scare the rats away.

Use rodent repellent

If the ways to tell rodents are living in your car confirm your suspicions, the next thing to do is use a repellent. No doubt, you’ll find this at your community hardware store or a car shop.

A repellent is handy for cars that’ll be abandoned for a while. You don’t even have to wait for a rodent problem before using it.

Aside from a repellent, you may also place damp cotton balls in peppermint oil or use cedarwood fragments around your car. Lastly, if you don’t want any chemicals in your vehicle, you can opt for interior detailing to reverse rodent damage.

How to Prevent Rodents From Living In Your Vehicle

Once you know how to tell rodents are living in your car, ensure you implement measures to avoid further mice problems. Here are some tips to prevent rodents from returning to your car.

Clean your vehicle

A dirty car is undoubtedly a haven for rodents to live in. Always ensure you clean your car regularly. However, we don’t advise that you use a vacuum cleaner.

Rat urine and droppings carry diseases you’re likely to inhale when using a vacuum. Instead, drive your car to an open area and air it. Then wash the affected areas with bleach and water.

Never park near the garbage

Whatever the situation may be, never park close to food sources. Garbage containers and waste disposal areas are breeding grounds for mice. By parking near them, you’ll allow rodents to seek shelter in your car.

Park in your garage

This will not guarantee the absence of unwanted guests in your vehicle. However, a car parked by the roadside or sidewalk will more likely attract rodents than one parked in a garage.

Don’t let moisture build up in your vehicle

Rodents are attracted to moist places. Thus, it will help if you prevent condensation from forming up in your car.

This is usually caused by a leak in the vehicle’s roofing and blocked pollen filter. Other times, keeping a damp cloth in your vehicle may contribute to it.

Keep your car running

An excellent way to prevent rats from getting into your car is by using it regularly. Rodents do not like their nests to be disturbed by movements, heat and predators. Therefore, if your vehicle hardly sits idle in your garage, they’ll find it challenging to live in it.

Related Article: What Happens When Mice And Rodents Get Into Your Car?


The ways to tell if rodents are living in your car are easy to remember. They’re telltale signs you can easily detect. With them, you can be sure to keep your vehicle in good condition.

However, if rodents have already caused damage to your car, it’ll delight you to know that a comprehensive auto insurance policy often covers these damages. Keep in mind that the cost for deductibles will be on you.

Do you have any questions about rats residing in your vehicle? Perhaps you find it difficult to remove them from your car? Our car detailing and care services at Autoboss Vaughan can provide you with the answers you need. Contact us today!