Rodents, including squirrels, mice, and rats, may construct their nests in cars, trucks, campers, and other vehicles, especially if such vehicles are used infrequently. Rodent nesting materials can be found in many areas of a vehicle:
- the engine compartment, including in engine compartment insulation
- the ducting and air filtration components of a vehicle’s heating and air conditioning system
- the trunk of a car, including the spare tire compartment
- the passenger compartment, including the headliner, glove box, and in or under the seats
- tool compartments
- taillight and headlight access areas and enclosures
Some rodents, such as deer mice, can carry hantavirus, and their nesting materials, droppings, and urine may contain hantavirus. People who ride in, or clean, the car may come into contact with these infectious materials. Infectious virus particles blowing onto passengers through the air vents may thus pose a risk to people who use the vehicle.
Rodents can enter vehicles through:
- rust holes
- wire chases
- side vents
- rocker panels
An accumulation of nesting materials in the air intake systems of a vehicle can also contribute to odors inside the passenger compartment and could potentially impair engine performance, preventing the vehicle from starting, or causing it to run poorly. Rodents may also chew on electrical wires and hoses, causing electrical shorts or leaks.
By: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)