Why So Many Cars Have Rats in Them Now

Driving in the city is on the rise, but if New Yorkers think they can avoid rats this way, they are in for quite the surprise.

12 comments

Best
PT10
PT10
70 · 6 days ago · Reddit

Problem is thieves keep stealing the cats out from under the cars so they can't catch the rats!

Phasnyc
Phasnyc
40 · 6 days ago · Reddit

I had a Chonky rat living in my engine bay that was the size of a small cat when I found it squished between some parts. From what I could tell it kept on bringing back a seafood feast littering lobster and crab shells all over.

FuckOffJenn
FuckOffJenn
40 · 6 days ago · Reddit

For eight years, Libby Denault had taken her Prius to the same auto body shop in Brooklyn for tuneups and other repairs, which it always handled expeditiously.

But in January 2021, the mechanics at Urban Classics Auto Repair in Bedford-Stuyvesant were stumped: The “check engine” message kept flashing on the dashboard of Ms. Denault’s car, despite the vehicle’s driving just fine. “They did a bunch of tests and couldn’t figure out what it was,” she said.

Finally, they found the source: a rat. It had chewed through a sensor wire. She ended up with a $700 bill.

Rats bedding down under car hoods is nothing new for New Yorkers, but over the last two years, many of the city’s auto body shops have seen the number of drivers coming in with rodent-related issues climb significantly. Out of 28 mechanics interviewed throughout the city for this article, 20 of them reported an increase of vermin in cars, and of those, 10 said the number of such appearances had doubled during the pandemic.

Scout-Penguin
Scout-Penguin
13 · 6 days ago · Reddit

This happened to me; I got a "change brake pads" warning pop up on my dash - which was odd as the car had only been serviced recently and pads had plenty of life. Turned out a rat had chewed through part of the wiring harness for the brake-pad wear sensor.

Pool_Shark
Pool_Shark
12 · 6 days ago · Reddit

It pays to park in the sun during these heat waves. No rat wound survive being in an engine baking in the sun on a 100+ degree day

tintagel74
tintagel74
12 · 6 days ago · Reddit

Occasionally finding rat droppings on my battery. Found a dead rat on the engine block a year or so ago. I now check under the hood regularly and if there is any sign of vermin I spray with peppermint oil. I think they urinate there also which could indicate to other rats that it’s a viable hideout so have even washed my engine down once. Might have to do it again soon.

ohsolazy
ohsolazy
8 · 6 days ago · Reddit

had a rat leave a whole croissant 🥐 on top of my engine

ancienttreestump
ancienttreestump
7 · 6 days ago · Reddit

This has been an ongoing saga for me and my poor car. Last summer, they were in the engine enough to chew through so many wires that the car was completely disabled. There were so many interesting things in the engine bay that the technician sent me a video while he was detailing it.

They got to another wire this summer but it's such a small problem (and such an expensive fix) that I'm just waiting for more to happen before getting it fixed.

I posted a question to r/​AskNYC last week and got some suggestions for peppermint repellents and ultrasonic devices.

Two buildings on my block have massive amounts of garbage out at the curb twice a week, and the one I live in has a restaurant in the ground floor, so it's pretty much inevitable.

1600hazenstreet
1600hazenstreet
6 · 6 days ago · Reddit

There was a story on Tesla switching to soybased “rubber” hosing, instead of using petroleum based product. Guess what, rats loved soy products better than petroleum. Not covered under warranty when rats chewed through the hose.

TheNormalAlternative
TheNormalAlternative
6 · 6 days ago · Reddit

Rats, like any other wild animal, look for warmth and sustenance. Rats building nests in car engines and nibbling through wires is a tale as old as modern cars and electronics.

Here's the bottom line of the article:

The recent Covid trend of New Yorkers’ buying cars may share some of the blame. Between the summers of 2019 and 2021, new car registrations increased by 19 percent, according to data provided by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

And more cars means more nesting opportunities for rats.

Add in the fact that restaurant closures during the pandemic led to rats seeking other sources of sustenance with more regularity.

Nothing to see here. Don't want rats in your engine? Don't buy a car.

Douglaston_prop
Douglaston_prop
5 · 6 days ago · Reddit

I'll never forget the look of disgust on my mechanics face when he told me he saw evidence of rats in my engine and that I better find a better place to park or a new mechanic.

roseb212
roseb212
5 · 6 days ago · Reddit

I had the same issue with both my cars and installed a small machine that electronically repels rodents as well. My sister bought a peppermint spray on amazon that she uses for one vehicle.

We live in the city and although many people will probably downvote this, I can say that there is a co-relation between the outdoor dining set ups and increased rodent issue in the city especially. I’ve seen it personally. Garbage collection (or lack thereof) also contributes, so I’m not saying it’s only due to the outdoor dining, but there’s many factors.

As much as I dislike the sheds because of less parking available, any New Yorker that’s lived here before, during and after the height of the pandemic can agree: the city is way dirtier. My block stinks. I live downtown and it had never been like that before. I get some businesses are probably still getting on their feet, but they should handle their set ups better. Some don’t even wash down their area. Others do, and anyone with eyes and common sense can see it themselves walking down the street.

I truly believe if businesses worked together and maintained the areas clean, garbage was collected more often, and if the city actually did something to reduce the rodent issue then we wouldn’t have problems such as this.

What I’ve done so far to avoid it: relied on the natural rodent repellents and parked farther away from any outdoor dining set up. So far, it’s helped but more needs to be done if the city thinks of making that permanent.