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posted: 7/27/2014 12:01 AM

Mice can do significant damage to autos

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We have seen several cars brought into the shop this year with rodent damage.

I don't know if this is because of the extremely long and cold winter we experienced here in the Chicago area but, whatever the reason, we have seen more of this damage recently than in years past.

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The damage has ranged from fairly minor, about $200 in repairs, all the way up to more than $1,500 worth of repairs.

On the minor side, typically you find a nest under the hood and then some wiring to one of the sensors on the engine has been chewed through. After we clean out all of the nest material and repair the wiring, the vehicle is usually good to go.

We always check the air filter box and the cabin air filter for more debris because they can get in there, too.

The car that suffered the worst damage, by far, was a Mustang. It was parked in a garage for several months while the owner was out of state over the winter. The damage under the hood was minor compared to what was done on the inside of the car.

Mice had burrowed into the back-seat foam and did what any good rodent will do. The carpet was full of mouse droppings and urine, leaving a horrible smell.

We had to remove the whole interior and send it out to be treated. We would have replaced the carpeting but it was no longer available, so it was cleaned. We removed the leather from the rear seat and had the foam chemically treated.

The finished product turned out well but it was sure a nasty mess when we started.

The obvious solution to this problem is to try and keep the mice outside and out of the car in the first place. However, sometimes this is easier said than done. There are so many places a mouse can gain entry into a car, or at least under the hood, once they make their way inside the garage.

If you can seal up the garage, that would be best. In searching the Internet, I found all kinds of deterrents suggested such as liquid sprays, electronic devices, moth balls and Bounce dryer sheets. Even getting a cat was recommended.

Email me your surefire way to keep out the rodents. It will be interesting to see the results!

• Douglas Automotive is at 417 W. Main St., Barrington, (847) 381-0454, and 123 Virginia Road, Crystal Lake, (815) 356-0440. For information, visit douglasautomotive.com. Send questions to underthehood@dailyherald.com.

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