We recently had a gentleman bring in his GMC Yukon that wouldn't start. He had taken the Yukon to another shop and they found a communication issue with the Yukon's computer and signs of a pack rat presense but no damage. He brought it to us when it failed to start and run. After running a diagnostic test and finding critical components not receiving any power, Chris found that a pack rat had chewed through some wires under the fuse box. A fairly straight forward repair, but how can he keep this same thing from happening again?
Packrats are micro sized terror machines that love to dine on wires and insulation found in every car on the road. There are several ways to prevent them from dining al fresco on your vehicle.
First thing, make sure your vehicle is not a welcome environment for uninvited guests. They are always looking for dark, cozy places to build a nest with an unending supply of food. There are underhood light units that can be installed that emit a flashing light that is designed to deter them from staying. These can be battery powered, LED, or wired into your vehicle. You can also use battery powered light strips that can be placed under your vehicle and on top of the engine. Don't forget the whole vehicle, wires run from the front to the back of your vehicle with plenty of cozy nesting spots. If you go this route, do not forget to remove them before driving the vehicle!
Do not store any food for your pets or wildlife near your vehicle. We had a car come into our shop in NC and the air box was filled with dog food! That squirrel was probably pretty upset with us after it discovered the box had been emptied! Packrats will take the food into their nest to store or eat. They don't care about table service. Their manners are terrible!
Almost as annoying as light is to these puny pests is noise. You can put a sound emitting device under your hood that is undetectable to you but like nails on a chalkboard to them. Maybe enough to send them "packing"!
Smells are another means to deter these little offenders. Peppermint, pepper sprays or pepper, rodent repelling sprays, and urine from their predators (umm, not sure how you get a snake to pee on command?!) work to slow their advances.
Make sure they can't gain unauthorized access to your garage. They can sneak into the smallest of spaces. Do a walk around your garage to make sure all possible entry points are sealed, even that tiny little space under the door. If you can see sunlight, they can get in!!
And finally, if you want to go beast mode on these little machines of destruction, you can use traps. They can be placed on the tops of tires or inside the engine compartment. Just remember to remove them before driving the vehicle. If you do catch the little vandal, use caution and protect yourself while handling the traps. Gloves are your best friends here. If you choose to reuse your trap, ahem-no judgement here, be sure to spray it with a bleach solution.
If you find that in spite of your very best efforts, you still become a victim of these furry villians, rest assured that we can repair any damage they may cause.