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10 Tips to Keep Mice Out of Your Classic Car During Winter Storage

In November we gave you a guide to storing your classic car for the winter, but we forgot to mention one more important part.  That is how to keep mice and other rodents out of your classic car or truck while it is in winter storage.

Mice, rats, rodents and other vermin can cause major havoc to a classic car if they are left to hibernate during the winter months.  They love to chew wires and make nests in cars to try and stay warm.  There are many ways to combat these pests.  Some will kill them and other are meant to discourage them from setting up camp in the first place.

Here are ten tips you can use to make sure your classic car rodent free while it is stored away for winter.

  1. Keep the storage area clean – Mice and other rodents love to make nests in cluttered areas. Do not leave a bunch of boxes, trash or other clutter around the storage area and certainly not inside of the vehicle. The goal is to try and eliminate and cozy hiding spots a mouse could make a home.
  2. 2. Remove all traces of food – Don’t store your dog or cat food in your garage. The same goes for bird seed, livestock feed, garden seeds, or any other form of food. Never leave any form of food inside your vehicle.  Not a stick of gum or even a hard piece of candy.  You need to remove every single crumb both inside and outside of the vehicle.  These little critters are hungry and are incredibly determined to eat if they think a meal is nearby.
  3. Sprinkle poison around D-Con is a trusted brand in rodent control. This is one of the best ways of keep pests away. Unfortunately, it is also extremely dangerous to your family pets. Make sure your cat, dog or any other family pet does not have access to your garage.
  4. Set traps – It is common for mice to climb a tire to reach the engine compartment. Place a trap on top of each tire. Setting bait can sometimes be seen as counter intuitive. Bait will attract the animal to the location so maybe use this only if you are finding droppings or notice they have gained access. Traps are also something you want to keep away from your family pets.
  5. Protect your wires. Rodents like the taste of wire coating and have been known to chew completely through the wire harness. Honda was even sued for making tasty wiring as they made wire coatings that were soy based and this made the matter even worse. Honda, and other companies, have come up with a way to discourage their fetish with Honda Motor Tape. The tape is infused with pepper which stops mice and rats from chewing.
  6. Stuff the tailpipe. Don’t use a banana like they did in the old Beverly Hills Cop movie. Instead, stuff a rag in the tailpipe to seal off that point of entry into your exhaust. Just don’t forget to remove it come spring or you might wonder why your car won’t run.
  7. Put your classic on jack stands. If you read our article with tips for storing your classic, then you see we suggest jacking up your car on stands to relieve the stress on your tires and suspension. The tip also helps keep rodents off your vehicle by making your classic harder to reach.
  8. Use an electronic deterrent – There are plenty of electronic repellants you can choose from. Many use ultrasonic sound to deter pests from hanging around. This option is more humane than poison or traps, but we would suggest getting more than one if this is the route you want to take. Certainly place at least one in the trunk, one under the hood and one or two inside the vehicle.
  9. Leave the lights on – Mice, rats and other rodents typically want to build a nest where it is dark. The ultrasonic rate deterrent we suggested in the last tip also has an annoying strobe light that mice hate. You can also use inexpensive LED light strips under your hood and other dark places that will keep rodents away.  LED are very inexpensive to run and work wonders against invasions.  There are also rodent repelling light bulbs that can easily be installed in your garage light fixtures.
  10. Use unpleasant smells – Mice and most animals in general do not like the smell of mothballs, but neither do we. There are however plenty of other options that don’t smell bad to humans.  Bounce fabric softeners have been reported to turn away rodents. This option might be the way to go for your interior. Experts also recommend using peppermint oil, powdered fox urine, used cat litter, sulfur, Pine-Sol or red pepper. We suggest not using them all or you might not be able to get near your car ever again. Certainly, don’t put fox urine or used cat litter inside your classic.

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