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There were mice in the car I just bought. Will this cause issues?

I just bought a used ford explorer from a big dealership 3 hours ago. We just found mice poop under the back seats, along with a chewed up glue stick and candy wrapper. Could this cause issues down the road? It is a 2015 with 55,000 miles and we paid $23,000 which I think was a pretty good deal, but i’m not sure it’s worth the chance keeping it now? It’s too late to contact the dealership tonight, but I am considering taking it back up there in the morning

It could cause any snacks you have in the vehicle to disappear mysteriously but if there were going to be any issues beyond the obvious they would more than likely already have manifested. The real main worry you would have is electrical wiring being chewed up by the mice when they look for material to chew on or when they are building their condo’s in the vehicle. So if they have done wire damage you would probably know already, if no electrical gremlins exist, it is likely no harm done. This also assumes that the stow away’s are not still in residence…because if they are then the list of problems can get lengthy and it would usually favor wiring/electrical in nature.

You are probably going to be just fine. If you are uncertain then leave them a snack and see if it gets munched on…kinda like Santa Claus and cookies, but without presents and all the mystery.

Leave that snack on a mouse trap overnight. Peanut butter always worked well for me. Keep baiting the traps until they stop catching mice AND the peanut butter stops disappearing.

I had one mouse in my attic that I was feeding but not catching. Kept eating the peanut butter without tripping the trap. I adjusted the trap to be more sensitive. Got him the second night!

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Do take it back and politely request a complete detail and cleaning .


For what it’s worth, where I live anyway, the NADA value for the top-end Explorer is $2,000 less than you paid.

Well , the OP did not ask for price approval but that has nothing to do with reply posts. Don’t know the persons location but here in the Midwest a dealer has a 2019 Ford Explorer on the web site discounted to 29000.00 from almost 34000.00 .With better loan rates that sounds like a better deal.

If you keep the vehicle, someone needs to be sure that the ventilation ducts and especially the cabin air filter (if there is one) are clean.


Having had mice in cars many times over the years, here’s what I suggest you check as quickly as possible. With the engine hot and running, turn on the heat with fan on a lower speed so you can just feel breeze on face when close to the vents. Make sure air is on fresh intake not recirculate. Now mist some water over the cabin air intake for about 30 seconds. Allow it to soak in for a minute or two. Now smell the vents…Mouse urine will be unmistakable odor. It gets most noticeable with damp warm air…if it stinks at all, take the thing back, you’ll almost never get that smell out entirely…


@Kassie_Whiting ---- I have a second thought. See if your state or where ever you are has a buyers remorse return policy . Sometimes contracts can be canceled for a small charge . If this thing had mice who knows what other problems it might have.


OP said she thought it was a pretty good deal and then asked if she should keep it. Part of that calculus involves whether or not she overpaid.

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Talk to the used car manager, not the salesman. Also do the test @TwinTurbo suggested to see if there is urine in the ventilation system. You might also look for a nest in the cabin air filter. Access should be in the glove box, and your owner’s manual may give you instructions on how to access it. If you smell urine, I’d take it back for a refund. There is a good chance the Explorer was sold by the original owner because of an infestation. It may also have occurred on the dealers lot.

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Well, best to not to ever have had mice in your car I guess. But it’s not something I would overly worry about as long as the car seems to be running ok and the mice seem to be gone now.

reminds me of many years ago I had a summer job at a Colorado cattle ranch. This was a really big ranch, from the top of the mountain you could look as far as you could see 360 degrees and it was all the same ranch. One of my main jobs was to carry hay to small groups of cattle that had broke away from the main group. These particular cows weren’t really into the herd thing. Individualist cows. The vehicle I used to haul the hay to them was an air cooled VW Beetle, so I could fit 3 or 4 bales in the passenger compartment. At first every morning when I went to load some more bales into the Beetle I’d have to spend 20 minutes chasing the mice out of the car. These mice got inside from the previous bales. Mice enjoy hanging out in bales of hay for some reason. Eventually I decided all this mice chasing was too much work and delaying progress every morning, so I just put the new bales in and drove away, mice or no mice. The other ranch hands would look into my car when I arrived and see mice sitting on the seat and floorboards, so they started to call me “mouse-boy” , or instead of “ranch hand” they’d call me the ranch’s “mouse-hand” … lol …

Contact the dealer. It doesn’t cost much to clean the car, reputation costs much. They should think the same way.

Mice chew on wires, you may be fine after a good cleaning or you may have mysterious electrical issues in your future. This can result in some hefty repair bills. Good to know many auto insurance Plans cover mouse damage.
Having dealt with mouse related issues I’d recommend returning it but that’s just me.

I agree with the previous commenters, if you had chewed wires you would know it. You can tell the dealer you expect him to detail the interior which should have been done anyway and that gets rid of the food and turds and mice if any.

How many people know that if you set Recirc to “on” when you park the vehicle then mice can’t get into the car?

However, they can still get into the air filter and HVAC system, namely the fan cage. You can prevent that by removing all food and nesting material from your garage and setting snap traps with sunflower seed as bait in front of your car. The reason is, they climb up the inside sidewalls of the front tires, up the suspension system, and onto the engine. So cut them off at the pass.

Well , it looks like another of those one and done posts . It would be nice if Kassie posts what the outcome was .

I just tossed the cat up in the attic.