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26/09/2021

It's a rat trap ...

Boom time for rodents as AA advises on damage caused to vehicles

It's a rat trap ...

Boom time for rats and our cars

It's a rat trap ...and you've been caught!

Strains of the popular punk rock classic Rat Trap ring clear with Donegal motorists today as news comes through that Covid-19 has been a boom time for rats and our cars.

The issue of rodents or other creatures finding a home in your engine bay was something that happened on very rare occasions here in Donegal, but this changed during pandemic restrictions.

The Autompobile Association (AA) tell us that many people were using their car less, or sometimes not at all, for long periods and this in some cases has led to catastrophic damage to parked-up cars.

Engines are dry, warm and undisturbed and so provide an ideal shelter for breeding, resting or feeding rodents. These creatures can cause significant damage to your vehicle if they do decide to nest and this, in turn, can result in quite the repair bill.

The AA reveal here is how you can protect yourself from rodent damage and ensure you are the only one in the driving seat.

Damage
Your vehicle engine can be extremely tempting for rodents to nest in. They might use the insulating fabric as bedding, and it can also provide shelter for baby rodents.

These creatures can use the engine to store food and when this gets scattered around the engine or inside the vehicle, it poses risks. This discarded food could catch fire when the engine heats up or it could interfere with pedal mechanisms.

As well as these risks, the creatures can chew through wiring harnesses causing short circuits, they can chew through coolant pipes or they can get stuck behind dashboards.

Not only do rodents pose a serious risk to the mechanics of your vehicle, but they can interfere with the aesthetic appeal too. The tears or scratching from the creatures can ruin the interior surfaces and droppings, mouldy food or decomposing creatures can lead to very unpleasant smells.

Rodents also pose a risk to public health. According to a leading extermination company in Ireland, if these creatures are present, full pest disinfection of the vehicle will need to be carried out to neutralise any potential pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

Insecticidal treatment may also be required as rodents carry ecto parasites such as fleas, lice, mites and ticks.

Protection
It is possible to protect yourself from rodent damage and to ensure that you have no unwanted passengers on your staycations.

“Our AA patrol supervisors advise you to avoid regularly leaving dog or cat food in the garden or near your vehicle and to avoid leaving the vehicle unattended for a very long time. Try and seal off any entry points to the engine,” said Anna Cullen of AA Ireland.

“If rodents do manage to get into your engine, then you should try your best to make it very difficult for them to nest. This can be done by spraying deterrent smells, by using bright lights, noise boxes with low frequency or by putting some cat litter or pet hair inside the vehicle,” adds Cullen.

The AA does get calls from time to time relating to rodent damage in vehicles. This usually occurs in the winter, as a warm engine bay is an ideal break from the cold we get in this country.

The AA motor product managers explain that the cost of a claim would depend on the type of vehicle you have, the extent of damage done and the overall condition of the vehicle.

You can read more on this topic over on The AA’s Blog Post: https://www.theaa.ie/blog/protecting-your-vehicle-from-rodent-damage-aa-ireland/

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