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19 September 2010 / Liz Johns

My Car Won’t Start. Have You Checked for Rats?

Personally, I like rats. Both the domestic ones and the wild ones. They’ve got such cute faces, haven’t they? But I agree that they can cause big problems.

The other week I went to start my car and was not surprised in the least that it didn’t start as it had been standing for about five or six weeks and the car has a history of battery issues. Anyway, I got it jump started and took it the garage to get a new battery. There was something else wrong with the electrics, so I left the car at the garage. A few days later, the mechanic rang and told me that he’d discovered the problem – there was evidence of rats living in the car and they’d chewed through some cables! I was, to say the least, quite surprised.

I’d never heard of rats chewing up a car before, so I checked out some sources on the net and found out that it was a common issue. A few people were siting the fact that some car manufacturers use a soy-based material instead of plastic or silicone to coat the electric wires, which attracts rats and other wild nibblers to move in and start snacking.

But I’m not sure that’s the case. Rats chew on all sorts of stuff to keep their teeth down (they’re continually growing, so need to be ground down regularly – the teeth that is, not the rats), so I suspect it’s not just the soy wires that are attracting them. The rats are probably using the engine compartment as a safe and warm environment to live out the winter and then pick on the most satisfying thing to chew – which happens to be the wiring. And once they start, they just can’t stop a-nibblin’.

Hopefully all the rats are out of the car now. I’ve been driving it regularly (after a fix at the garage and a hefty bill), so either they’ve all gone or they’ve learnt how to hang on really tightly.


One Comment

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  1. alienhippy / Sep 23 2010 5:53 pm

    That was very interesting thank you, I don’t have problems with rats with the amount of cats I keep….lol
    My son *AJ when he was younger used to keep and breed mice for show…one of his hobbies. They were very stinky, but he loved them. He did talk about Fancy Rats for a while, I must say I was glad when he went onto Rottweilers. Nothing against Rats, you understand, I just don’t like the smell.
    love and hugs. x 🙂


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