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One of the problems of living in LA is that rats move into car engine compartments. I thought it only happened when you didn't drive the car much, but after what is for here a pretty heavy rain I backed down the driveway a couple days ago only to see a rat dart out from under my car, in broad daylight. They don't like to move around in the open like that much, so I checked, and sure enough, it had made a nest for itself just under the hood. Most of the ivy leaves it used were still fresh. I demolished the nest, sprayed the battery cover with alcohol and wiped it down, and started looking for countermeasures. There are lots of gimmicks available, from peppermint spray to electric ultrasound devices. It turns out there's also a website offering advice on what to do.
One of the guy's tips leads to my first question. He says to leave the hood open at night to take away the rats' sense of shelter. It's been drizzling. Is there any damage to be feared from leaving things open to the elements like that?
I would also welcome any suggestions on countermeasures. I'll mention that I'm not going to use poison. It gets into the ecosystem and I also have a dog who might eat it. So I'm wondering about concentrated peppermint spray (supposedly it blocks the smell of rat urine, which rats use to mark areas they consider safe) capucin/pepper spray as a repellent (it's common to fight rodents by putting red pepper in the chicken feed because birds can't taste it and rats hate it) or one of those ultrasound/flashing light gizmos, like this, for under the hood if I do decide to leave it down. If I did that, I'd probably get one that has a slightly lower rating that I could tie down with zip ties, as I'm no mechanic and don't want to go drilling holes in the car for a bolt. But a neighbor had one of those for his house, a bigger one, and I think he said it didn't do much good. Also, it would be a pain in the backside because I think I'd have to turn it off every time I took my dog in the car.
Of course this whole thing is a pain in the backside. In fact, it also seems like an invitation for jokes, but spare me. One of the things that gets me is that when we moved into this swanky neighborhood 20 years ago, none of my neighbors would call the rats rats. They called them voles. They're rats. They're some of the local fauna, living side by side with the squirrels.
By the way, does anybody know if Fiat wiring/insulation is soy based? Reportedly rats like that.
 

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Let us know if you find anything to repel them. My friend installed lights under his hood that he'd plug in and put chicken wire over the air intake. (Not a problem w/ the 500, but rats will build nests in air cleaner housings on cars with the round filters.) Rats seem to like to eat regular plastic, too.

 

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2017 Fiat 500e (Billet Argento), 2015 VW Golf Sportwagen TSI 5MT (Tungsten Silver)
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One of the problems of living in LA is that rats move into car engine compartments. I thought it only happened when you didn't drive the car much, but after what is for here a pretty heavy rain I backed down the driveway a couple days ago only to see a rat dart out from under my car, in broad daylight. They don't like to move around in the open like that much, so I checked, and sure enough, it had made a nest for itself just under the hood. Most of the ivy leaves it used were still fresh. I demolished the nest, sprayed the battery cover with alcohol and wiped it down, and started looking for countermeasures. There are lots of gimmicks available, from peppermint spray to electric ultrasound devices. It turns out there's also a website offering advice on what to do.
One of the guy's tips leads to my first question. He says to leave the hood open at night to take away the rats' sense of shelter. It's been drizzling. Is there any damage to be feared from leaving things open to the elements like that?
I would also welcome any suggestions on countermeasures. I'll mention that I'm not going to use poison. It gets into the ecosystem and I also have a dog who might eat it. So I'm wondering about concentrated peppermint spray (supposedly it blocks the smell of rat urine, which rats use to mark areas they consider safe) capucin/pepper spray as a repellent (it's common to fight rodents by putting red pepper in the chicken feed because birds can't taste it and rats hate it) or one of those ultrasound/flashing light gizmos, like this, for under the hood if I do decide to leave it down. If I did that, I'd probably get one that has a slightly lower rating that I could tie down with zip ties, as I'm no mechanic and don't want to go drilling holes in the car for a bolt. But a neighbor had one of those for his house, a bigger one, and I think he said it didn't do much good. Also, it would be a pain in the backside because I think I'd have to turn it off every time I took my dog in the car.
Of course this whole thing is a pain in the backside. In fact, it also seems like an invitation for jokes, but spare me. One of the things that gets me is that when we moved into this swanky neighborhood 20 years ago, none of my neighbors would call the rats rats. They called them voles. They're rats. They're some of the local fauna, living side by side with the squirrels.
By the way, does anybody know if Fiat wiring/insulation is soy based? Reportedly rats like that.
Most Japanese car makers use soy based wire insulation and here in OC its a huge problem for Toyota drivers, we probably do like 1 engine harness a week all insurance jobs, all of the cars are ones made in the last 7 years older Toyota dont seem to have this issue. They did this for being more eco friendly but kinda back fired, Nissan uses some sorta pepper based electrical tape wire wrap and dont seem to have as many issues. I dont know aside from Japanese automakers if they use soy based insulation, i hope not.
 

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Thinking back, maybe the stench of burned motor oil helps. Before PCV systems, blow by was dumped into the air. That's part of the interesting smell of early 60's, and earlier, cars. We had a lot of rats around farms, but I don't recall fixing wiring on any of the old ones. <g>
 

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Thinking back, maybe the stench of burned motor oil helps. Before PCV systems, blow by was dumped into the air. That's part of the interesting smell of early 60's, and earlier, cars. We had a lot of rats around farms, but I don't recall fixing wiring on any of the old ones. <g>
That is because back then they did not use soy for insulation they use PVC or vinyl.
 

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Yes, and we dealt with rats eating plastic coating on trucks way before soy.

Rats will eat anything... including the lead shielding used in old telephone wiring covers. Multiple phone wires were in a sheath so it could be pressurized, sealed with lead. When our field techs went into an attic, they'd usually find the lead shield chewed thru.
 

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There is an old saying that if you see one rat, you have at least 10 more. The only real fix is to set snap traps and keep setting traps. You might be surprised how many you catch in the first two weeks.
 

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True about the numbers. We had a covered porch, with washer/drier in a metal building at the end. We were over run by brown field rats one year. If I wanted washed clothes, they had to go. (I had one stand his hind legs, on the drier, and wave a paw at me... friendly little chaps.) Friendly but smart. I caught 4, each in a different type of trap, but each trap was useful once. I finally rolled in the BBQ grill, fired it up with charcoal, closed the door and left. Next day all the rats were gone for good.
 

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One of the problems of living in LA is that rats move into car engine compartments. I thought it only happened when you didn't drive the car much, but after what is for here a pretty heavy rain I backed down the driveway a couple days ago only to see a rat dart out from under my car, in broad daylight. They don't like to move around in the open like that much, so I checked, and sure enough, it had made a nest for itself just under the hood. Most of the ivy leaves it used were still fresh. I demolished the nest, sprayed the battery cover with alcohol and wiped it down, and started looking for countermeasures. There are lots of gimmicks available, from peppermint spray to electric ultrasound devices. It turns out there's also a website offering advice on what to do.
One of the guy's tips leads to my first question. He says to leave the hood open at night to take away the rats' sense of shelter. It's been drizzling. Is there any damage to be feared from leaving things open to the elements like that?
I would also welcome any suggestions on countermeasures. I'll mention that I'm not going to use poison. It gets into the ecosystem and I also have a dog who might eat it. So I'm wondering about concentrated peppermint spray (supposedly it blocks the smell of rat urine, which rats use to mark areas they consider safe) capucin/pepper spray as a repellent (it's common to fight rodents by putting red pepper in the chicken feed because birds can't taste it and rats hate it) or one of those ultrasound/flashing light gizmos, like this, for under the hood if I do decide to leave it down. If I did that, I'd probably get one that has a slightly lower rating that I could tie down with zip ties, as I'm no mechanic and don't want to go drilling holes in the car for a bolt. But a neighbor had one of those for his house, a bigger one, and I think he said it didn't do much good. Also, it would be a pain in the backside because I think I'd have to turn it off every time I took my dog in the car.
Of course this whole thing is a pain in the backside. In fact, it also seems like an invitation for jokes, but spare me. One of the things that gets me is that when we moved into this swanky neighborhood 20 years ago, none of my neighbors would call the rats rats. They called them voles. They're rats. They're some of the local fauna, living side by side with the squirrels.
By the way, does anybody know if Fiat wiring/insulation is soy based? Reportedly rats like that.
I have 3 of these in the engine compartment and no more problems: order here
 
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