- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2004

To most of us, home is where the heart is, but in the rodent kingdom, home is where you can get something to eat and stay relatively warm.

That is why if you see grass, seeds, seed casings, little chips of paper, insulation or cloth fibers in the engine compartment, the odds are very high that you have a nocturnal furry visitor.

It could be a deer mouse, perhaps, a chipmunk (rarely) or just an ordinary field mouse that is making her home in your engine compartment, especially in or around the air filter, which can mean trouble.

If rodents build a nest or store seeds in the air-cleaner housing, the debris can block air from getting to the engine, and the rich fuel mixture that results can drastically reduce your fuel mileage and even damage the catalytic converter.

To discourage the furry nesters, wrap a few mothballs in a wire mesh bag and tie it inside the engine compartment away from the heat of the engine.

If baby mice get into the passenger compartment, they may eat some fabric, even seat belts, and get too big to leave the same way they came in.

The solution is to buy or borrow a small humane animal trap; I’ve seen them at many hardware stores.

Bait the trap with grains or cereal, and when the mice are caught, drive them to a new home.

After that, seal off any likely mouse-size openings into your car.


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