Do Chipmunks Damage Cars? [Found Nests In Your Car?]

do chipmunks damage cars

Chipmunks are one of the few well-known nemeses to gardeners and car owners. Although these adorable pests like to build their nests underground, you may find yourself with some unexpected guests. This is because critters like chipmunks have been known to turn cars into secondary homes. Of course, this begs the question if they happen to settle in your car, do they cause any damage and build nests?

Chipmunks, like other rodents, are well-known for damaging cars. This is because they are notorious for chewing through electrical car wiring. These pests prefer to nest in areas like the engine department, air filters, heating, conditioning, and ventilation systems. 

Because they have many natural predators, chipmunks aren’t at the top of the food chain. Therefore, they are naturally wary animals who avoid creating nests or even just hanging around in areas where predators might be present. 

This is one of the reasons why cars are so appealing to them. Cars are small, enclosed places and predators are unlikely to find them. 

So, how do cars get damaged in the process? And what can you do to protect your vehicle from these pests?

Do Chipmunk Damage Cars?

The chances of you finding yourself with extensive damage under the hood of your car are pretty high when you have chipmunks in your area. 

Although chipmunks typically burrow underground, they will also seek shelter in cars.  

This is especially true since they are particularly interested in the engine compartment. 

They also have their way in the heating, ventilation, air, and conditioning systems and have no qualms about doing all kinds of harm.

Chipmunks can damage cars to the point that mechanics at local dealerships deal with rodent damage regularly. They are mainly a problem in warmer weather conditions. This isn’t surprising as they forage for food and shelter during this time.

How Chipmunks Damage Vehicles?

Chipmunks can significantly damage your car when they give into their base instincts. Like eating through car installations, electrical wiring, insulation, etc. 

Because of this, it isn’t surprising that the engine bay is one of the areas where chipmunks make nests, as it has ample material available for them to chew. 

Chipmunks are also particularly fond of air filters, cabin filters, and other flat areas where they can nest. Interestingly, chipmunks can chew through just about anything when they want to nest. 

As a result, you can expect to be a victim of nests in your car as quickly as overnight. 

Another dangerous thing about chipmunks making nests in your vehicle is their droppings. Animal droppings are generally smelly and gross. 

However, in this case, droppings from chipmunks can bring- devastating diseases, among other things.

What Draws Chipmunks to Cars?

So, what exactly draws chipmunks to cars and causes them to want to nest there, ultimately damaging your vehicle? Chipmunks are attracted to soy-based wiring and electrolysis. 

These two elements are often found in cars and can be extremely tasty for chipmunks. Additionally, chipmunks love dark and quiet spaces like the engine compartments of cars and trucks. 

Because of this, car manufacturers like Toyota are getting sued.

Unsurprisingly, old cars not in use make perfect potential homes for these critters. Additionally, chipmunks are always looking for food.

It only makes sense that any food leftover or kept in the car will draw chipmunks to your car. 

Lastly, suppose you park your car in a garage with dog food or even bird seeds that are accessible. In that case, you can guarantee that chipmunks will eventually reside in your car.

How Tell A Chipmunk Nest Is In Your Car

Knowing what to look for when inspecting an automobile for rodent damage can be challenging. However, there are several ways to determine whether chipmunks are the culprits. 

You can tell a chipmunk is nesting in your car by checking the electrical wires. The car’s electrical parts will stop working due to chipmunks chewing through the installation.

There will be nests in the form of debris, consisting of leaves, shells, and even pieces inside your engine compartment, like insulation for the car wires. 

There will also be a foul smell from the urine and droppings these little fellas leave behind. Lastly, your car will flash just about all the warning lights there are to flash.

How to Keep Chipmunks Away From Vehicles

When chipmunks get into your car’s wiring, it can cost a pretty penny to get it fixed. Therefore, the goal is to take preventative measures to ensure you don’t face chipmunk damage that can put your car out of commission before its time. 

These preventative measures will save you a lot of money in the long run by avoiding costly car repairs.

Clean And Detail Your Engine Regularly

Ensure that you regularly detail your engine. This is important as you can spot early chipmunk nesting signs before damage occurs.

Regularly cleaning your car’s engine compartment also helps to prevent nests from forming. Chipmunks like to hide in dark and cluttered areas, so removing debris will help keep them away.

Use Irish Spring Soap

Irish spring soap is excellent at keeping chipmunks away from your car. However, be careful not to leave shavings or chunks, as some rodents like to eat this.

Spray Peppermint Under The Hood Of Your Car

Chipmunks don’t like certain scents. Because of this, peppermint is an effective weapon. Use a spray bottle to apply a mixture of peppermint essential oil and water everywhere under the hood of your car. 

Concentrate on areas where chipmunks have shown signs of residing. 

Apply this mixture to your car every six months, avoiding the mass airflow sensor and heat shield.

Avoid Parking Near Garbage

One easy way to prevent chipmunks from making nests in your car is to avoid parking near dumpsters, as both are primary food sources for chipmunks. 

Try changing your parking spaces from time to time to keep any potentially interested chipmunks off balance. For example, if you usually park in a particular spot, try parking elsewhere and observe any changes.

Use Electronic Devices To Repel Chipmunks

If all else fails, try using sound repellents. These can be affixed to the engine bay inside and connected to the battery, ensuring a reliable power input is available. 

These devices emit a loud noise that will repel chipmunks and other rodents. They don’t harm the animals in any way, but they do prevent them from entering your car engine bay. 

Final Word

Chipmunks not only damage yards and gardens but can also cause a significant amount of damage to your car. This is because they tend to chew through anything and create nests in hidden places like the engine compartment.  

Following the steps outlined in this article can reduce the chances of chipmunk damage to your car.

Remember to regularly check for any signs of nesting and take preventative measures such as Irish spring soap, peppermint oil, or sound-repellent devices to protect your vehicle. 

With a little effort and preventative measures, you can protect your car from pesky chipmunks.

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