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Keeping Mice Out of Vehicles

Category Mice
A warm engine compartment can be enticing to rodents looking for shelter. This guide is about mice nesting in a car.


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By 6 found this helpful
July 3, 2011

To keep mice away from your RV, spread Bounce laundry sheets around the inside of your RV. I've done it for years and it works great.

By Jim B. from Salina, KS

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 16, 2017

My son's car has been visited/infested by mice. He says it smells like mouse urine. Is there a way to remove that odor, and aside from traps and poison, is there any way to keep them away?


October 16, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

One way to get rid of mice is to keep the garage tidy and clean. Try to not put clutter or any boxes on the floor of the garage. See if there are any holes in the garage that the mice may be coming from, if so I would repair or close the holes up.

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October 17, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

if your son is parking his car near a wooded area it is possible he brought the mice in in his car but they may now be making homes in your garage as well. Do you have a cat or can you borrow one? Just having one around the area can sometimes make a difference.


  • The first step of course is to clean out your garage of any clutter (which may be a big job) but in any case, you should try to place everything possible in plastic sealable/closable containers and discard as much as you can.
  • Be sure to place containers somewhere off the floor.
  • Some people say to use peppermint oil and water in a spray but others say it does not work.
  • A newer suggestion is to use Irish Spring soap. Cut it into cube pieces and place it around the garage and in the car and also rub the bar on any surfaces around your garage.
  • Pine Sol is said to be a good repellent - use full strength or mixed with water and spray or wipe down everything you can.
  • Try to find where or how the mice are getting in your garage so you can seal all the holes. Use steel wool to stuff in the holes - mice can get in through a hole no bigger than a dime.
  • If you are having trouble finding where the mice are getting in your garage you might try sprinkling baby powder (or flour) around the floor edges and see what tracks you have in the morning.
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  • Your son's car will have to be completely cleaned out - remove all floor mats also.
  • Use a good cat/dog urine enzyme cleaner (Wal Mart type stores) as that may be the only way to remove the odor.

For the outside of your garage:
Mix one tablespoon of hot pepper sauce (the hotter the better), and ¼ cup laundry detergent in a gallon of water. Spray it around the outside of the garage. It works just like commercial repellents and wont harm your pets or children.

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By 2 found this helpful
July 4, 2011

Does any one have any idea to keep mice out of my car engine? They have been making a nest in my engine a couple of times. I don't want them making things dangerous for me and my car.


By Donna from Foymount, Ontario

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By 1 found this helpful
December 11, 2009

I need help. I have mice under the hood of my car nesting, chewing, and I'm so afraid after pulling all that junk out every night, cigarette butts, dog food, dried grass, just trash, that I will have a fire. My car is brand new and they have chewed wire and most of the insulation off of my hood. Can anyone help me please. I need a magic cure to stop these mice.

By erica from AR


December 12, 20090 found this helpful

My husband is the warranty administrator for three car dealerships. He's seen this before. He said you need to get some "varmint killer" and put it under the hood. He asked if you're certain it's mice, because squirrels will do this, too.


And he said that they (the "varmints") will do BIG damage. And warranty won't cover that (he said maybe insurance will help). Best of luck -- hope you stop the critters soon!

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July 19, 20040 found this helpful

My car broke down beyond repair and I could not afford to by another one at the moment, fortunately my parents had a car sitting in their yard that was in seemingly good condition and was only there for about a year

When I Begin cleaning it out I discovered that there had been several families of mice living in it! Fortunately they all seemed to have deserted the car, however they left behind several little presents for me to clean!

I got the car repaired (the things the mice had chewed through and I also needed a strut). The mechanic told me that not only were they living in the car (and trunk) they had also built a nest in the blowers (for the AC and heat).


So I cleaned out the car I shampooed the interior and vacuumed and sprayed almost a whole bottle of fabreeze all though out the car and the smell is still there! (although it is not as strong)

I personally hate mice and their smell makes me sick but I can't afford to buy another car for a little while so I don't know what to do. I would like to get every little bit of smell out of the car not only because it makes me sick but also it's really embarrassing (I could not imagine taking out a date or going somewhere with my friends and them having to smell mouse!)

So please, any tips or ideas would help. Everyday I drive to work in this thing and it makes me nauseous.



By Linne Dodds (Guest Post)
July 20, 20040 found this helpful

Get some OUT in the WalMart pet department .Pour it on some wads of paper towels & stick it everywhere the mouse smell seems to be invading from unless the towels could catch fire .
Fabric softener sheets would probably work wonders too.

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By A (Guest Post)
October 22, 20040 found this helpful

I had a similar problem. Mice invaded my car (don't know how) and I used humane mouse traps to catch 2 mice!

Anyway, to clean the car, my brother kindly removed all seats, all the carpet and shampoed the lot!

While everything was out, we used disinfectant to clean the car and get rid of the smell, which worked. Mind you; you can only get the smell totally out if the carpets are removed, washed thoroughly and the surface below the carpet AND the underlay are disinfected! its not easy.

After 6 months of cleanliness.... the mice are BACK! I don't know what to do..

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December 7, 20040 found this helpful

I haven't heard anyone come back to say the smell went away. I have a Ford Excursion and saw a mouse running by the dash. We had no luck finding him and payed the dealer to take my dash out. It has been 3 weeks and the smell gets really intense when the car is running. I think he crawled in the dash and died! I am hoping someone can give me hope. It's a lot of car to search and by now we'd never find anything. Please let me know how long it takes. I'm ready to drive the car over a cliff!!!

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By Taylor Will (Guest Post)
April 18, 20050 found this helpful

I had mice in my car while it was sitting at the farm over the winter, they have left now but they left me a hell of a mess to clean up. They got under my carpet in my hatchback where the spare tire was and had all sorts of food left behind (canola,dog food,cat food, etc.) I had to clean all of that out, then i wiped it down and used industrial cleaner on it and spray painted over it. Well after that at least every day or two the mouse smell would come out of nowhere, and would only stay for maybe 5 minutes. This was no good because if i had a date or a friend in the car they would get all grossed out and make fun of me for having the "stinky car". Well then i went into the spare tire area again and cleaned it out with Fantastik Orange, which took off some of the spray paint but also got alot more of the mouse droppings and little bit of gunk i had missed the first time. I wiped it down with a rag and the cleaner at least 3-4 times, then i spray painted over it and let it dry, then i sprayed some Febreeze over that and let it sit over night. Well it has been a week now and i haven't had to deal with the horrid stench even once. Hopefully this helps someone out with their mouse problems.

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By Danielle (Guest Post)
June 29, 20050 found this helpful

Any ideas on how to get the smell of mice urine out of duct work?

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By e blemel (Guest Post)
May 4, 20060 found this helpful

hi ! here at prodigious auto live in a rural area and mice damage has been a constant scource of work,we searched high and low to find an answer,and we came up with an aromatic varment deterent that works well. once youve cleaned the car again,give our product a try it has an excellant track record,my cars had fallen victim as well and one was only aweek old ,i have had no problems since.
visit our web sight at to learn more. good luck

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By nosarb (Guest Post)
February 7, 20070 found this helpful

Smell! I don't think that is as bad as the diseases/breathing problems these mice can give you. Dried up mouse droppings can really mess up your health. Some of these cars are made to harbor mice and not keep them out through the ventilation system.

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By jen (Guest Post)
November 20, 20070 found this helpful

Similar story. I went to go run an errand. I left my snakes food (two mice) in my car. It took me about and hour or so and when I got back to my car. The mice chewed threw the box and both were gone! I managed to find one under my sit. and the other I found in my dome light. I took the light of, the stupid thing kept popping his head out but I couldn't get him.

Anyway, long story short, my brand new car reeks, and I have no idea how to get it out without my costing $200 to rip open my car or for that matter I don't even know where it is. so if anyone knows how long it will take to go away or anything it would be great!

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June 5, 20131 found this helpful

I bought a 2007 Jeep less than a year ago it wouldn't start. I had it towed from the dealership (not under warranty). They said mice had chewed wires and plastic to the tune of $1100. Before I purchased this car it was garaged for a few years.

Could this damage have been from it being garaged before I bought it? Could it have been driven by me for 8 months with no infestation on my end? Or would it have to be recent? I want to challenge the dealer, but don't want to have this sound totally ridiculous on my part. Any advice?

By Karen

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By 0 found this helpful
June 24, 2009

My mom has a severe problem with field mice getting into the heating/air fan housing in her car. No one else has had a problem when they visit her, but she has had to have her car in the shop at least 10 times for this in the two years that she has owned the car. The car is a Chrysler Sebring. Does anyone have any ideas on what she could use to stop them from coming in? She has outside pets and is afraid to put out any poison.

By belinda from Wingo, KY

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July 26, 20040 found this helpful

How do you keep mice out of your car when it sits for a while? We have a camp truck that sits for period of time. Mice seem to get into the car. Is there a way to keep them out?
- cory


By Cheryl from Missouri (Guest Post)
July 26, 20040 found this helpful

Try placing mothballs throughout the truck. We place mothballs around our home's foundation to keep out mice and snakes because we have alot of open fields. It seems to work.

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By Sherrie from North Carolina (Guest Post) (Guest Post)
August 2, 20040 found this helpful

Most mice get into vehicles from under the hood. You might try placing small screens in any open vent area, make a insertion similar to a drain catch screen. This always helped me.

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By Bill (Guest Post)
February 18, 20050 found this helpful

I have a camper that spends the winter in the yard, and we have lots of mice in the woods around our house. I use peppermint oil, as they really seem to hate the smell. Put a few drops on cotton balls in a paper bag an put it in the truck. It works for me...

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By Melissa Henderson (Guest Post)
October 2, 20050 found this helpful

Where do you find peppermint oil? I heard this same advise on t.v. but can only find perppermint extract at the local stores. Is extract as good or is it just wasting money? Moth balls haven't seemed to have helped much, I have some pretty determined mice wanting to nest in my "day to day" vehicle!

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By jeanne (Guest Post)
June 23, 20060 found this helpful

Moth balls and Downey sheets don't work for my car, where do I get peppermint oil???

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By kae (Guest Post)
September 25, 20070 found this helpful

Iv'e use peppermint oil for many years in our camp, cars and home it works great and doesn't leave a terrible smell that mothballs do. It can be purchased at any health food store. Put a few drops on a cotton ball and place around areas where mice signs are visible; but you do have to refreshen the cotton ball every so often. Another idea is yo put the soaked cotton balls in a small container with holes poked on the lid.

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October 20, 20080 found this helpful

(sent in by email)
Heard that peppermint oil for keeping mice out of vehicles, but will peppermint extract work?


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By 0 found this helpful
October 12, 2006

I have mice in my brand new car! I first noticed them in my glove box, they ate ketchup packets, so I took everything out of there. I also put peppermint oil on a cotton ball. They still go in my car. NOW they are all over, on the seats, on the dash, steering wheel. It is like they have set up camp, yet I have never seen them, just the droppings!

We park the car in the garage (which is infested with mice this time of year) and I was wondering if anyone has ever had this problem. My car is starting to smell! I use urine spray that I got for my dog who pees on the floor, it works well, but every morning they leave more. I set traps and they are constantly full. Is there a hole I can plug up or something! AHHHH!



By Cindy (Guest Post)
October 12, 20060 found this helpful

I had mice in my car that originally got in there because of the sunflower seeds in the glove box. The only way I was able to get rid of them was to set mouse poison all around the garage. It worked, they ate that instead of breaking into the car.

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By Michelle (Guest Post)
October 15, 20060 found this helpful

Can you borrow a cat or two from someone? I have several cats and have never had a vermin problem although neighbours have.

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November 25, 20130 found this helpful

I have a cute little brown mouse living in my brand new CTS coupe. I have tried moth balls and a bar of Dove soap, but from what I am reading these strategies don't claim to work! Do you have some ideas to get rid of my mouse humanly?

By Barbara

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June 21, 20140 found this helpful

How do I keep mice out of the engine compartment of my car?

By Bob G.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 18, 2013

Can the smell from the mouse urine hurt you it in the vents of a car?

By Cindy

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By 0 found this helpful
October 26, 2010

I had mice nesting in the car, now the heat won't work, but the blower is. I am also hearing a loud click from under dash when turning the temp from hot to cold. The AC works fine. It is a 1998 Ford Taurus.

By scott healy from Columbus, OH

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 11, 20090 found this helpful

I just found out that there are mice nesting in my car, inside the seat. Other than mothballs, are there any other suggestions for ridding my car of this problem? The repair shop is cleaning out the nest, but they warned me that mice tend to return to rebuild their nests. Any ideas for preventing their return?

Lisa from WI


Mice Nesting In My Car

Lisa, the mice being in the car isn't the problem, it's where you are parking it. If it's in a garage, you need to treat the garage. If its outside, look for a nearby wood pile or brush. I also live in WI. I do not kill outdoor mice, but move or dismantle their nests and remove anything they can use for nesting material. Mice provide a necessary part of the chain of life we depend on. Don't worry, they won't come running back like little lost sheep. Poisons provided to kill them will also kill toads, frogs, and other little critters you need outdoors to help control insect populations. (05/26/2005)

By C.J.cox

Mice Nesting In My Car

I have heard that keeping a Bounce sheet in the car will help prevent mice from coming in. Not sure if this works, but worth a try.

Good luck. (05/26/2005)

By Darlene in Mississauga

Mice Nesting In My Car

Mice don't like peppermint. If you could get some peppermint oil and put it in your car on a cotton balls it will drive them away. (05/26/2005)

By croslay26

Mice Nesting In My Car

I have heard that putting crumpled up aluminum foil in a mouse hole keeps them in their place so maybe you could try putting several pieces of crumpled up foil in the area where they nested. (05/26/2005)

By knitter in IL

Mice Nesting In My Car

Had the same problem except in the heater hoses and cost me $75 to have Canadian Tire find the problem and get my heat back. The hairdresser suggested putting clean human hair (no chemicals on it) under the seat and under the dash. I am mouse free and nice and warm now for 2 years. Find you nearest barber and grab some clean hair from the next cut. (07/31/2005)

By P_Licious

Mice Nesting In My Car

Re the peppermint thing. Try Altoids, the peppermint ones are the only one I've tried, but they work. Altoids are the only brand that contain real peppermint oil in them. (09/05/2005)

By Anah

Mice Nesting In My Car

I also have mice in my car. This is the second time. They have eaten all the wires causing my transmission to go out and the gas gauge not to work and the traction control not to work. It is costing me a fortune. After the first time it took me a long time to be able to drive my car without freaking out. I put peppermint oil and Bounce inside the car and I bought some fox urine to sprinkle outside. That worked. Then I sort of quit doing it because I thought the problem was solved, not, they are back. It is disgusting. But I do know that fox urine works. (01/02/2007)

Mice Nesting In My Car

You can also mix peppermint oil with alcohol and spray in cars, on carpet, on engines even though the cotton ball would probably last longer in the engine because of the heat. Also can be used indoors in cabinets and basements, garages, etc. (04/15/2007)

By Mattie

Mice Nesting In My Car

Mothballs are very toxic to human beings I would not recommend using them in a enclosed area like a car, not even in the engine. (04/15/2007)

By Mattie

Mice Nesting In My Car

Just a note for the people with mice in their cars. If you park your car in the garage and store dog food in the garage also, the dog food attracts the mice. Once they are in the garage, the nice warm engine does the rest. Food and a warm place to sleep. Isn't that what we all want. Get rid of the dog food or put it in an air tight container and remove all spills. (06/05/2007)

By Karl

Mice Nesting In My Car

Just trapped a mouse in my new Toyota Matrix using an old fashioned spring trap (with extra old cheddar). Other approaches did not work. She was cleaning out tissue in the car and building a nest in the airbox. Turning on the AC each morning would create a wedding effect.

I don't know how it entered, but I am now parking the car away from a wood pile where I suspect there is a large colony. I would have preferred a more humane method, but I am worried about the airborne disease possibility.

By Richard in Coldwater

Mice Nesting In My Car

I tried peppermint essential oil on cotton balls and the mice just play with them. I have 2 mice (I think) that are too smart to be caught. They run "around" traps of any kind and they boldly "play" in the kitchen. These are baby field mice, not rats or anything, just smart mice.

Back to peppermint, they seem to actually either like it, or they're attacking the cotton ball. It doesn't deter a thing, matter of fact, it gives them something to play with. The only thing that has worked for me is trapping. I keep the house very clean and when they get super hungry I lure them across the counter with peanut butter cookie crumbs to fall off the edge into an empty trash pail. I have caught 2 this way and another with a chocolate donut.

Sticky traps are okay. You can help them get off them with baby oil once you have caught them. Just remember to let them go in a place they can find food or they will find their way home. Also, mice follow the scent of their droppings. If you can do your best to remove droppings regularly, they get lost. (10/20/2007)

By O

Mice Nesting In My Car

I have heard of panty hose with cedar chips in them. (11/18/2008)

Mice Nesting In My Car

I am really thankful for this website, because I thought I was the only one having this problem. Last Tuesday I brought my car into the garage for its annual oil change, etc. and they found 1/4 of my air filter had been gouged out and there were 2 field mice and a messy nest on the top of my engine. Well my engine light came on so back into the garage today and in one week's time 3 field mice had gouged out the lining of my hood and made another large ghastly looking nest. Once again the engine area had to be cleaned.

I have seen the D-Con packets and I am going to try them and I will let all of you know how this works. (12/17/2008)

By Dottie

Mice Nesting In My Car

Check out this link. It seems that Joan also finds it useful, so maybe you will too? It's a pain, but I would say worth it.

Post By Joan (Guest Post) (10/14/2008)

Mice Nesting In My Car

There is a product designed for this problem. It is called Fresh Cab and is used to keep mice and rats out of farm equipment cabs, closets, basements, cabinets, etc. I use it in my motor home and it works very well. Do an internet search to find it. It gives off an odor that smells like a Christmas tree, and rodents will leave any area where it is used. (10/27/2009)

By rob

Mice Nesting In My Car

I've been dealing with these rodents for years now. They are a pain. I disagree with the post by c.j cox. There is no being nice when it comes to these things. I live in the country and have to deal with them as soon as it becomes cold out. The only way I have found to get rid of them is to set out traps. Get two pieces of cardboard that you can reuse throughout the winter. Cut them big enough to fit on your floor. Put two in a couple nights a week or more if you see droppings.

You do not want to poison them. They will go back to their nests and die in some remote spot in your car. Be proactive. Don't be lazy and wait until it's months into winter. They will come back every single year. My next idea is the mice alarms they have. The sound that drives them away. I haven't found one built for a car yet. That's probably going to be the best invention yet. I thought about buying a house one and plugging it in and shutting the door on the cord. I might try that. If it works I will post again. However, using old school traps I have been able to keep my cars smelling normal and to prevent any big nests from being formed. (12/09/2009)


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