Animals love building homes in engines. There’s no evidence that they’re partial to a particular make or model – they simply want the warmest spot available. When it comes to our furry friends, there’s little that compares to the warmth of nuzzling under a hood in a tightly packed engine block. Rats, cats, mice and possums – they’re just a few of the curious critters that like to nest under the hood.

Such animals are unaware of our need to use large steel boxes on wheels for travel. They’re not being inconsiderate – in fact, they’re trying their best to avoid the world of humans and fend for themselves.

Despite no intended harm, it’s hard to reconcile with the animal kingdom when you find your car won’t start because there’s a nest of pine cones, straw and nuts embedded in the deepest orifices of your normally reliable transportation.

It’s not just nest building that’s a problem, either. Animals are known to chew up wires and even get stuck when trying to add decor and comfort to their new homes. Needless to say, they don’t fare too well when the engine is later started – and as the automotive owner, your cost just went up, along with the amount of guilt for the torturous contribution in your engine animal’s death.

Stop the Nesting

mouse under hoodSo what’s the best way to stop animals from turning your car into a hopeful winter retreat?

We asked Los Angeles mechanic, Mike Dodson – owner of Super Auto for advice on the matter?

“Completely eliminating the potential for animals to crawl around under your hood can be a pretty big undertaking. Animals don’t only crawl up into automobiles to make a home – they do so out of curiosity as well. And it’s not seasonal. We see this problem year round – hot and cold weather both.

I’ve heard of some people going so far as to keep their hoods open when parked outside of their garage. This is usually enough to keep any animal from being overly curious, as they don’t like the lack of security created when overhead light shines down. But this is obviously not practical for most people – myself included.

Many people will also use mothballs as animals don’t like smell. This can be dangerous though, as household pets or kids could suffer from accidental ingestion of mothballs – problems ranging from sickness to even death.

The most creative solution I’ve ever seen was a loud buzzer installed down deep in the engine. The auto owner told me he would press the buzzer several times before ever starting his car. If an animal was in the engine, it would be enough to make him get out. Even if he was stuck, he would likely be able to make enough noise to be recognized, out of sheer panic created by the buzzer.

Does it work? I’m not sure but this person swore by it – said he lived by a park and had a problem for years until finding this solution.”

In the end, you might not find a foolproof way of keeping animals out of your engine but it’s a problem you might want to be aware of should your car strangely stop starting one morning.

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