When Rodents Come Chewing

Source:  When Rodents Come Chewing    Tag:  hantavirus uk
Here's a fine 1953 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe . . . there's just one little problem . . .

Have you ever had mice eat holes in the upholstery of your car?  Have you ever opened the hood to find rodents have devoured the padding, and possibly the wires too?  Have you perhaps started a car only to have the dash go up in smoke because vermin ate the insulation off the wiring?

Here at Robison Service, we have seen all that and more.

Did you know that comprehensive auto insurance covers rodent damage, in almost every case? 

Here’s an example of what can happen when you store your pride and joy in a cat-free, rodentacious environment:

At first glance, there wasn’t much sign this1953 Jaguar 120 had a problem at all.  Then the owner saw the hole.  Something had chewed a quarter-sized hole through the headliner, just forward of the rear window.

When we took a closer look, we saw a smaller hole on the other side.  Apparently, they burrowed all the way across and started eating their way out the other side.

And that was just the beginning . . .

There are little black streaks all over the outside of the car. Those streaks are arranged in paths, marking the lines where rodents ran back and forth while devouring the car.  The paths make their way into the trunk, and under the hood, where brown grains of mouse poop are littered.

To fix that, we will strip out the interior, and then wash the metal with mild bleach and disinfectant.  Same thing for the outside, after which we use a clay bar to smooth the paint, and glaze and wax.

There is no good way to get mouse urine out of carpets, and the smell will linger forever, so we change the rugs as a set.  The other reason for changing rugs as a set is of course color match.  On a show-grade car that is especially critical.

It’s important not to forget the pads or liners under the rugs when replacing trim.  We’ve learned that the hard way, when we change the parts on top, but odor lingers from the pads below.  That’s why we strip these cars down to metal right at the beginning.

One of the big worries for any insurance appraiser is electrical damage.  Rodents eat the insulation off wires.  That leads to strange malfunctions and even electrical fires.  Luckily this car does not seem to have any of those problems.

This is not just a cosmetic issue - mice are carriers of many diseases, and we now approach these cleanups from that perspective.   The most threatening health issue with mice is their ability to spread Salmonella bacteria in their droppings. This is a common cause of food poisoning. Other transmittable organisms are tapeworms, rat-bite fever, infectious jaundice/leptospirosis/ Weil’s Disease, plague, Hantavirus, and possibly poliomyelitis (polio). Given these potentially life threatening diseases, mice should not be tolerated in the tight confines of your car.

The next time mice chew your wiring, think of Robison Service.  We’re rodent damage remediation experts.

In the image above you see rodent droppings all round the wiring, but by great good fortune, the little beasties left the tasty braided harnesses alone.  This owner is lucky.  So is his insurer.