i started my parts car today and it was really choked down. I discoved mice Under the air filter,in the spare tire hole, and inside the IMA battery. It started before i took the mouse nest out and now it wont start. Will check the plugs and change the oil soon since it has been sitting for years.
Afaik 3 main spots to check:
1. Engine air intake and engine air filter box
2. Passenger air intake, which is under the windshield wiper shroud and extending to behind the glovebox, including the blower fan and cabin air filter cavity
3. Most likely for your situation, the 2 rear air outlet flaps underneath the rear bumper has easy access into the spare tire well and IMA bay. These are entrances are rubber flaps that open when you slam the car door. I'm not sure if a mouse could open them without damage shown, in my case there was a 1" round hole chewed in one of the flaps.
I have screening blocking all 4 of these entrances around the car, it's well worth the time to install.
Rodents are (one of) the bane of my existence here in the high-desert country of NM. We also have packrats, but they tend to do things like build giant nests of dog poop and cactus on top of any engine left unstarted for more than a week! Our rock squirrels can do damage but don't nest inside of cars fortunately... they seem to limit themselves to underground burrows.
My partner's 02 Accord has a "death rattle" in the cabin fan nearly every year from one (or more) mice crawling in, dying and getting mummified in the "squirrel cage" fan. It is awkward but I have learned the procedure for removing the (interior) fan-shroud and removing the mummies, usually in early summer when she turns on the AC.
My 01 Insight used to always show signs of mouse visitation, but never a nest inside... possibly because I drove it (nearly) every day, or because my property has so many other attractive places to build nests. The hints here of where they might be entering would have been very useful "back in the day" when I still had mine. I sometimes felt like I should set up 4 pans of water in my driveway to park with my wheels in, but I know the little buggers can leap!
AZ - Saw your post and had some PTSD. I had to deal with a Mice-pocalypse when I bought mine a little over a year ago. It had been sitting in a field in Hood River for >2 years.
Great suggestions in here. Ditto the peppermint oil. I tried apple cider vinegar at first and should have just jumped straight to peppermint oil. Avoid peppermint sprays (that aren't oil based). They don't last long. You'll find yourself re-applying pretty regularly.
The majority of the interior had been used as a bathroom, including the upper side of the headliner . The main nests in my car were located (from front to rear):
intake resonator box
HVAC blower fan
ECU kick panel was a satellite nest / local dive bar
Big nests inside the B pillars! Wow. Pull your trim and your seatbelts, you'll see clear plastic shields on the inboard B Pillars under the pretensioners/reels. Man the little sh!theads loved this spot!
Massive nest in the spare tire well. This was the mothership. They also clearly enjoyed using the NiMH pack as a playground. When I disassembled for LiBCM I had fun cleaning this too.
Yes, mice can be a real problem. I have read that the wiring insulation is made from soybeans, so it tastes good to rodents. Thanks for the tip about peppermint oil, I just got my '04 HCH MT back from my brother who lived in the country
and I am cleaning it out. One more thing to look for, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.
I know I'm gonna jinx myself by writing this, but...
I've never had a rodent infestation in any car I've ever owned over the past half-century. This despite them being parked outside, unused for extended periods of time in rural locations. Then, again, everyplace I've ever been there have always been a couple of outdoor cats roaming the grounds. Maybe that helped!
Mice! I can't get rid of them. They are even in my dreams. I know they are in the car somewhere. I found a ball of shredded insulation in the trunk by the spare tire. I will have to check the hybrid battery next. The car had some "old food" in the passenger cabin, and it must have been like bait, it lured them in, My neighbor has had trouble with the "immobilizer" in his HCH but having mice "help out" by chewing the fuel pump wires is even worse. My car is clean now, so my next step is to buy some real peppermint oil at the health food store. I have had trouble with squirrels, too. I found walnut shells under the hood and by the 12 V battery. And ..worst of all, My cat would rather sleep than chase mice.