Not only are snow enthusiasts finding this mild weather a bit trying, so are some car owners. A lot of cars are showing up at the mechanic with chewed wires, thanks to rodents, who are finding their way into the engines and doing some very expensive damage.
According to mechanics, the rodents appear to be turning to German brands of cars in order to satiate their palates.
Global News spoke to one mechanic who showed a BMW X-5 with $6,000 worth of damage, most likely by rats, done to the vehicle’s wiring and upholstery.
“It seems to be getting worse,” said John Siamoutas, a Burnaby Firestone mechanic. “I’m starting to see almost 30 per cent of the cars, I see not chewed wires all the time but evidence that they’re there. There are droppings on the engine.”
The BMW is considered “a bad case” but is one of many that have been brought to the Burnaby auto shop.
“The population is definitely up,” said Jason Page, Solutions Pest Control Ltd.
Page attributes the increase in rodents this winter due to mild weather, food availability and sunshine.
Exterminators tell Global News that not only has the warmer, dryer weather led to a boom in local rodent population, they’re also being drawn outside by a warm engine or the smell leftover food in vehicles.
According to Siamoutas and his experience, rodents seem to have a penchant for a certain type of import, one that’s particularly expensive.
“I was talking to with an insurance company one time and they said it was something to do with the insulation on the German cars,” Siamoutas explained.
“One particular car i was working was a Mercedes and the whole harness was chewed on the engine side, there’s something with the insulation that coats the wiring that mice/rodents just seem to love.
” It’s chocolate for rodents.”
When it comes down to it, mechanics say safety is a concern, especially when it comes to an airbag that’s become a nest for rodents, making the ‘protective’ feature ineffective.
But your vehicle doesn’t have to be an all-you-can-eat buffet, there are simple steps to keep the rodents at bay.
“It’s not so much about the car as it is about the territory around the car,” Page said. “Low growth vegetation in the yard is unattractive to rodents.
“If you make the vicinity unattractive to rodents then they have to travel further to get to your car.”
It also doesn’t hurt to keep your vehicle clean inside.
If your vehicle does get chewed, comprehensive insurance will cover the damages.
~ with files from Geoff Hastings