Rat prevention questions

We live in a rural area, and rodent damage to cars is pretty common. This summer we returned from a vacation, and I noticed my new Honda Fit’s windshield fluid needed filling. When I opened the hood, the engine compartment was full of nesting material like grass and leaves and cracked acorn shells. I took it in to the dealer for its regular service and asked them to check for any damage - it cost $300 to repair the turn signal wiring harness. But that’s not what my question is about.

Later that week, my husband found nesting material in his new Ford Fusion hybrid and had made an appointment at his dealer - but it was too late. One evening when he came home from work, his car burst into flames in the carport and almost burned our house down. But that’s not what my question is about.

Someone advised us to keep our cars’ hoods open when they are parked at home. The idea is that rodents will not feel safe nesting in an exposed space with the hood open. So we’ve been doing that and so far it seems to work - plus it makes us have to look at our engine each morning to see if there’s any trace of rats like droppings or acorn shells or nesting material.

But we’re going into the rainy season, and only one of our cars car park under the shelter of the carport. Is there any problem with leaving a car’s hood open in the rain?

My in-laws used a fox urine product made to keep squirrels away. Not sure where they got it but I assume either a garden center or auto parts store. It had no smell to humans but worked at repelling rodents.

It is not a good idea to open the hoods–water can cause damage, or people can steal batteries and other valuable parts.

Yes you could always use a predator scent…Available at Hunting stores or online at Hunting supply places.

Also working in datacenters I know that they use Formadelhyde in the outer casing of Cables that run under the raised floor of datacenters…it stinks but Mice and Rats wont go near it. I suspect Mothballs are equally affective against the same little monsters.

AND…and this may be the best (cleanest/non smelly/non hazardous) method…Buy an Ultra Sonic Pest device. You just plug it in and it emits sound waves well above our hearing range that the rodents DO NOT like much…

We’ve had this problem where I work, and we’ve solved the problem by putting out poison stations for rodents. Also, this was only an issue on cars that didn’t get driven on a regular basis, so driving these vehicles on a regular basis could go a long way towards solving this problem.