Has your car been "squirreled" this winter?
That's the term Schaumburg resident Julie King uses for the costly sabotage tree-dwelling rodents can inflict on vehicles not parked in a garage.
Squirrels chewing through the wires of her car have cost her a total of $700 this season from two separate incidents only 10 days apart. The repair bills diagnosed the problem as "critter damage."
But that's not as bad as a neighbor had it. A squirrel nest in her car's engine ignited while the vehicle was moving. Though she and her passenger escaped unharmed, the fire that ensued totaled the car.
"It was all new to us," King said. "It is a learning experience."
Even the Schaumburg Police Department's vehicles have been affected by squirrels drawn to both the warmth and soy-based wire coatings in engine compartments, Animal Control Officer Debbie Diamond said.
Diamond recommends residents regularly move their vehicles, check under the hoods or at least bang on them. If problems persist, residents can hire a wildlife relocation service to trap the troublesome animals.