Every living creature has its own biological function, for us in the automotive world it seems that rodents were put here to destroy electrical harnesses in vehicles. Here in Arizona, especially in the winter they love to nest in the tight spaces of engine bays where it’s dark and often a good source of heat. It also happens to be an area where there is a lot of wiring which they love to chew on. Rats are constantly growing teeth and it seems wiring is the perfect thing for their perpetual teething.
Repairing rat damage and cleaning up their messes are some of our least favorite things to do in the shop. The damage we’ve seen over the year’s ranges from nesting in air filter boxes, tearing apart fabric heat shields on firewalls and hoods (great nest material), and ruining engine harnesses and wiring inside truck bodies. If your truck is driven daily you’ll most likely catch a problem early on before the damage is severe, but if your truck sits for weeks or has sat for years then you may be in for a surprise and costly repairs. This also applies to motor-homes, trailers or other RV’s that sit for extended lengths of time. Engine harnesses can be very complex, expensive and typically made by one manufacturer. As vehicles age these parts can be hard to find or discontinued, in that case all you can do is hope the wiring can be repaired as there are no other options.
So how can you keep them out? Rat poison is the first thing that comes to mind for many, but this can be harmful or fatal for pets or their predators. We’ve heard all sorts of other tips and tricks like moth balls, bars of soap, keeping the hood up at night and flashing LED lights. The flashing light seems to be the best method and these are inexpensive devices which can be mounted almost anywhere. Check out www.rid-a-rat.com for more info on these. If you live near large fields or the outer edges of a city you’re at a higher risk, so do your best to keep them out of your vehicle.
Now go pop your hood and look in the engine bay paying close attention to the top of the engine and small corners or compartments. If you notice leaves, seed pods or fabric/stuffing clumped in one area, you’ve had visitors. Should you notice any signs of rat damage and need help with repairs give us a call today! Tomorrow could be too late.…