How to Stop Animals from Ruining Your Car

Keeping rodents and other animals out of car engines can be a challenge, especially during the winter months. Mice, rats, squirrels and even chipmunks may find your car’s warm engine to be an inviting place to seek refuge from the cold. Unfortunately, the rodents’ natural gnawing instincts can result in significant damage to your vehicle’s electrical wiring. Knowing how to stop rodents from chewing car wires can prevent the inconvenience – and expense – of a car engine that won’t start on a frigid winter morning.

How to Keep Rodents Out of Your Car: A Two-Pronged Approach

As an animal control professional, I’ve discovered that most people don’t know how to keep rodents out of a car. Over the years, I’ve learned that a combination of live traps and repellents can provide an effective defense against rodent damage. A live trap can help you capture nuisance critters humanely, while a repellent can create a rodent-proof environment that keeps them from coming back.

How to Stop Squirrels From Chewing Car Wires With Havahart® Products

Here’s a great example of how to keep squirrels out of a car engine with the help of Havahart® traps and repellents. In fact, I had to learn how to keep squirrels away from my car after I discovered they had chewed through the ignition wires. I had been using Havahart® products on the job for many years, so now it was time to put them to the test for myself.

First, I placed a Havahart® Small 1-Door Easy Set® Trap next to my car, taking advantage of the innovative Easy Set® that allows for simple one-handed setting and releasing. The next step was to sprinkle Havahart® Critter Ridder® granules around the perimeter of my garage to create a protective barrier. Critter Ridder® contains piperine, capsaicin and oil of black pepper – three all-natural ingredients that deter animals by impacting their sense of taste and smell.

Havahart® Put an End to My Rodent Problem

It wasn’t long before I came out one morning to find my nuisance squirrel trying to escape from the Easy Set® trap – without success! Critter Ridder® also seems to be doing the trick, as I haven’t seen a squirrel hanging around my car in months. I still reapply the product about every 30 days just to make sure the squirrels don’t make a return visit.

Protect Your Car With Havahart® Animal Control Solutions

Whether you need to know how to keep squirrels away from your car or how to keep rats or other rodents out of your car engine, Havahart® has the humane and effective animal control solution you need!

Image: Baileyusa115 on Flickr

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Havahart® is a leading manufacturer of caring control products for pets and wildlife. By offering animal repellents and live animal traps, Havahart® covers a wide spectrum that truly is caring control for pets and wildlife.


  • nancy

    i have a squirel problme.. mynew 2013 chevy sonic. it has happened 4 times…they chewed my wires.. i am at my witts end.. noone will listen or help . I was told i cannot trap them due to where i live the neighbors will think i am trying to trap there cat. I do not know where to turn i cannot trap them or kill them… so now they keep eating my wires at my expense.. i am paying for these squirrels to eat… help me out…

    • 12:27 pm - September 28, 2014

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    • Havahart®

      Hi Nancy! Sorry to hear about the wires in your car! We would recommend applying Critter Ridder® to the perimeter of your property to keep the squirrels out. You can learn more about Critter Ridder® here. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 8:50 am - October 2, 2014

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    • Janne

      Try disconnecting your battery cable…something about it sounds like a female in heat to the males and they chew through to find it

      • 2:18 pm - February 7, 2015

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  • betty

    I have a squrrell getting under the hood of my car an chewing out the padding ****** what can I do to stop him????? I hate this,please help.

    • 9:17 am - October 5, 2014

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Betty! Sorry to hear about the squirrel getting under the hood of your car! We would recommend applying Critter Ridder® to the perimeter of your property to keep the squirrels out. You can learn more about Critter Ridder® and other squirrel control methods here. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 9:32 am - October 6, 2014

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  • Cindy Gallop

    We tried the Critter Ridder and it did not work. We have sprayed under the hood twice and it still keeps coming back. There are so many squirrels around where my son lives. They have chewed wires four times. Running out of wires. Where can we get the traps? Thank you!

    • 10:31 pm - February 2, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Cindy! Thanks for your comment! To keep squirrels out of the the car, we recommend applying Critter Ridder® granules around the perimeter of the property. This way, they don’t even have a chance of getting near where the car is kept. If you’re interested in live traps, you can learn more about them here. You can also use our “Where to Buy” tool on our website. Please let us know if you have any other questions! Thank you!

      • 3:15 pm - February 3, 2015

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  • Kara Phillips

    Rodents have chewed the wiring of my car. I live in an apartment complex that doesn’t have garages. How do you recommend keeping them out of my engine?

    • 3:25 pm - March 13, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Kara! We have many solutions available for rodents, including our live traps and Victor® PestChaser® sonic repellents. You can check them out here. Let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 3:53 pm - March 16, 2015

      • Reply
  • Kimbery Stone

    I’ve had to deal with this for the last week, so far it’s costed me 300 dollars, Friday I need to dish out 500 dollars more for the damage these critters did. I could not believe the size of the nest they made in just 5 days. I drive my car every day. I’m trying the mothballs now, let’s hope it works. Even the mechanics said they never seen a nest that big after just fixing my wires 5 days prior. I have pic’s. I’m shocked! !!

    • 1:51 pm - May 19, 2015

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Sorry to hear that, Kimberly! You may want to invest in some perimeter protection to keep them out. Let us know if you have any questions!

      • 3:22 pm - May 19, 2015

      • Reply
  • Mary

    We do not have a garage, does the critter ridder word outdoors?

    • 3:18 pm - February 22, 2016

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  • Robert Robinson

    Squirrel got under the hood of my car-caused @1,000.00 damage. Tried sonic repeller-did not work, tried sprinkling cayanne pepper-wind blows away. I have a open carport. Today found evidence of activity under my other car don’t know if damage has been done. Help !!!

    • 10:11 pm - April 15, 2016

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hello, Robert! Sorry to hear about those pesky squirrels! Luckily, we have a multitude of traps and repellents that will keep them away. Check out our stock here: Let us know if you have any other questions, thank you!

      • 1:12 pm - April 20, 2016

      • Reply
    • Ben Jamison

      If you have any wild (feral) cats in the area, start feeding them. They will take care of the problem.

      • 10:12 pm - November 28, 2016

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