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Fire Alert the Hidden Danger lurking Under Your Cars Hood

Updated on December 5, 2016

Grey Squirrel

Unlike most squirrels this little devil does not hibernate though the winter.
Unlike most squirrels this little devil does not hibernate though the winter. | Source

Automotive Fire Danger.

I'm write this article to share my personal experience trying to keep squirrels out of my vehicles, and to offer some common sense advice to ward off these pesky animals. Hundreds if not thousands of vehicle and house fires every year are caused by squirrels or other rodents. Vehicle motor Intake or exhaust manifolds are favorite locations for squirrels to hide their food caches and nesting debris. Engine temperatures on intake or exhaust manifolds packed with nuts and nesting material can easily ignite into a full blown fire while your car is sitting in your garage or driving down the road.

My Snow Plow Truck

My Squirrel Trouble Starts Under the Hood of my Truck

My problem with squirrels is due to the fact that I have walnut and oak trees on my property with additional trees on the adjacent property approximately 100 feet from my house where my vehicles are kept.

The first sign I have a problem was one fall day when I looked out my window and saw a squirrel hopping out of the back of my snowplow truck. This truck sits idle most of the year and is kept near one of the black walnut trees which had started to drop it's nuts.

Alerted to the squirrels' presence I decided to do an inspection of the truck. I examined the truck bed first then walked around the truck noticing nothing out of the ordinary.Two weeks later I decided to do another inspection because I was still seeing lots squirrel activity around the property. As I approached the truck this time I saw the telltale sign of mischief; two walnuts were strategically wedged underneath each windshield wiper arm. I then opened the door and heard a shuffling sound followed by something hitting my leg, I turned and looked behind me and saw a squirrel running into the woods..

I gathered my wits and proceeded to start the engine, as soon as I hit the key I heard a clang underneath the hood and shut it off. Concerned I got out and opened the hood and found a huge cache of nuts piled all over the top of the engine and in various other nooks and crannies in the engine compartment. I grabbed a step stool and a garbage bag and began the process of removing the nuts. As I was working I could not help but to notice the sounds of protest coming from the squirrel up in the tree as he saw me raiding his nuts. I parked the truck closer to my house to keep a better eye on it.

I still was wondering how that squirrel got into the cab of my truck. I was concerned the squirrel might have gotten underneath the dash and done some damage chewing up wires, Finding nothing out of whack I proceeded to start the engine and turn on the heater blower. I immediately heard a strange sound coming out of the blower so opened up the hood and pulled the blower motor out to investigate. When I got it out I discovered the cage fan was stuffed full of nesting material, I then put my arm down inside of air box chamber and pulled out a massive clump of sticks, pinecones, weeds, cardboard and chewed-up clothing. On further inspection l found the hole in the bottom of the blower chamber which I quickly repaired to keep the little buggers out.

This could be Serious Trouble under my Truck Hood if not Caught In Time.

Squirrel Stashes Walnuts and Acorns on top of my motor.
Squirrel Stashes Walnuts and Acorns on top of my motor.

Tips: Controlling Squirrel Damage Under Your Cars Hood

  1. I do not advocate any particular methods for squirrel control. This article is intended for entertainment purposes only.
  2. Trapping: Some folks claim success with box or wire cage traps with peanut butter as a lure. This requires time and patience, especially if your squirrel population is large. Trap in late winter or early spring when food is scarce for best results.
  3. Poisons: Keep in mind there is a real chance other wildlife or pets may also get poisoned directly or indirectly there is always chance other animals could consume the bait or the poisoned squirrel.
  4. Shooting: This is probably not a good option if you live in a densely populated area 22 caliber long rifles or 410 shotguns are a favorite among squirrel hunters. Aim carefully because bullets can travel a very long distance.
  5. Mothballs: Some folks suggest this works but my personal experience differs, I have tried putting mothballs inside the vehicle and also in the engine compartment with no success.
  6. Hot sauce: It has been suggested to me that spraying hot sauce from a handheld bottle sprayer can be effective. This sounds interesting and I am probably going to give that a try I will update this article at a later date to share my findings.
  7. I have heard there are all kinds of concoctions from bleach, ammonia, human or coyote urine, all kinds of herbs and spices to electronic or sonic devices. You are certainly welcome to try any or all but I would suspect that most of them will be time and money wasted.

Squirrel Damage Automotive Prevention Tips.

  1. Avoid leaving your vehicle for long lengths of time unsupervised.
  2. If you do park your vehicles for long lengths of time it is a good idea to cover all engine air inlets, tailpipe openings, and passenger compartment fresh air intakes with wire mesh.
  3. Avoid parking near food sources. Squirrels look for convenient places to stash their nut hoards and make nests.
  4. Move the vehicle on a regular basis and make sure that weeds and grass are cut short underneath.
  5. Rake up nuts, acorns, etc. from your property and dispose of them.
  6. Don't place bird feeders near your house.
  7. Don't store bird seed inside your garage, next to, or in your vehicles.
  8. Don't make pet foods easily available. You are just asking for trouble.

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