If you sit in the driver’s seat of your parked car only to find that it won’t start, you just might have to brace yourself to search it for a wire-hungry rat.
Recent instances of people discovering their cars’ engines aren’t working properly in NYC can be attributed to these little creatures who crawl under the hood of vehicles and gnaw at the wires, causing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage.
Jeffrey Santos, a 31-year-old Bronx native, noticed that his dashboard lights were flashing when he started his 2018 Honda Accord one day. He would soon discover who the furry culprits were.
“It felt gross to have rats inside my car,” said Santos. “I ended up fixing the car and then, I kid you not, less than a year later, it happened again.”
According to mechanics serving in the Ridgewood, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, and East Harlem areas, which are some of the neighborhoods with the highest rates of rat damage-related complaints in the last three years, there are some tips car owners could follow to avoid these incidents.
Avoid parking in the street in the winter when the creatures are look for shelter; don’t park on dirty streets where infestations may be more probable; and use scented oils sold specifically to repel rats.
Additionally, rats like to gnaw on the soy-based material used in the wiring of particular car engines, such as Honda. The soy insulation used to protect the wires was even the subject of a lawsuit.
Many drivers may also be able to smell a rat problem before they see it, as rat droppings and urine combine to make a pungent odor that can circulate through a car’s ventilation system.
Other advice offered byJose Gomez, a technician at Dependable Auto Repair in Ridgewood is, “Don’t leave your vehicle standing for a long period of time.
“At least two or three times a week, move it from place to place. Try not to park around restaurants or places that have a lot of garbage,” he added.
Car owners can also purchase an electronic device that emits a high-frequency noise that deters rats, or use specific scent products meant to repel the creatures. However, be aware that ultrasonic pest repellers are not always guaranteed to be helpful, as various products have been the subject of lawsuits for their ineffectiveness.