Are Squirrels Destroying Your Truck’s Wiring? What Are Your Options?

If you've recently done some digging in your truck's engine bay only to discover a section of wiring that has clearly been chewed by a squirrel, rat, or other outdoor rodent, you may be frustrated and wondering about your options. While many wiring problems are relatively simple to repair, playing "find the wire" every time you notice your truck's interior lights blinking (or worse, realizing your truck won't start because of a chewed-through ignition wire) can quickly become a burden. What can you do to protect your truck's wiring now and in the future? Read on to learn more about what can make auto wiring so attractive to rodents, as well as some of the steps you'll want to take to protect your truck in the future. 

Why do rodents chew auto wiring?

Rodents, including squirrels, have long teeth that never stop growing. To keep their teeth in check, these animals do a lot of chewing on just about anything available, from nuts and tree bark to electrical wires, insulation, fabric, and even bare metal. This can mean that once a mouse, rat, or squirrel makes it into your truck's engine, getting it out without some chewing-related damage can be a challenge. 

Many rodents find their way inside a vehicle's engine compartment while seeking shelter from the elements. The inside of your truck's engine is usually a warm, tight space with protection from wind and rain, the perfect environment for a rodent who may be a bit too large to make it inside your home or garage instead. Once the rodent has settled in, it's likely to make itself at home by creating a nest--in some cases even pilfering dog or cat food that's kept in an accessible place and hiding this food inside your vehicle. 

What can you do to protect your truck? 

In addition to chewing your wiring, a rodent infestation inside your truck's engine can cause other problems. Rat urine is highly acidic, and can often dissolve the plastic or rubber coating on your truck's wiring, leading to electrical issues even if these wires remain unchewed. Rodents are also reproductive dynamos, and if you wait too long to begin the eradication process, you could quickly find yourself dealing with an entire litter of rodents rather than a single stray one. 

Your first step should be to give your truck a good cleaning. Often, rodents can initially be attracted to your engine because of grease or microscopic crumbs left inside the engine bay (for example, if you or your mechanic ate a bag of chips before you began working on a repair or upgrade). Washing the outer surfaces of your engine with a diluted bleach mixture can remove any grease, rodent urine, or other contaminants that could damage your truck over time. 

Next, you'll want to deter rodents from returning by coating your wires in a bitter or otherwise unpleasant substance. Often, something as simple as the concentrated bitter agent in computer duster can be enough to send squirrels and other rodents packing. Because certain taste deterrents can contain ingredients that may rust or otherwise damage your vehicle, you'll want to talk to a mechanic before spraying anything directly onto your engine; however, in most cases, coating your wires with these substances should pose no problem.  

Finally, you may want to invest in an ultrasonic pest deterrent to place inside your truck's engine compartment. These small boxes can emit a piercing squeal that is only heard by certain mammals, much like a dog whistle; although the pest deterrent shouldn't bother you (or your furry friends) at all, it can quickly send your problematic rodents packing. For more information, contact companies like Godfrey Brake Service & Supply.