The Wild Side of Car Repairs: Battling Animal Damage

Jack Dreyer | Friday 2nd February 2024 12:30pm

Close up image of a mouse.

Car damage caused by animals has surged this year, according to a report from the RAC published recently. At the forefront of this vehicular vandalism are rats, notorious for wreaking havoc by nibbling on fuel hoses, constructing nests in engine bays, and inflicting harm upon headlights. Whilst their mischievous antics take the lion's share of responsibility for most reported animal-related damages, you might be surprised to learn that kittens, squirrels, and even snakes are also potential menaces to your motor.

Critter Culprits

You already know that rats are the main offender when it comes to animal-related car damage, but what other creatures should you be looking out for?

Just the other week, a Kwik Fit customer found themselves towed to one of our garages with two flat tyres. Upon closer inspection, our technicians discovered what appeared to be stab wounds on the sidewalls of the tyres, and advised their customer to check any video doorbell footage they had available.

To the customer’s disbelief, they uncovered a surprising offender - a family of foxes caught on camera biting the tyres! Amazed by the unexpected damage, the customer opted to invest in TyreCare insurance, just in case these mischievous foxes harboured a vendetta and paid him another visit.

Also included in the RAC report was a story of a squirrel who had thoughtfully started hiding his nuts in a car’s air filter - the customer was alerted when the engine lost power and started to smell a bit odd, and then discovered the squirrel’s stash before too much damage was done. And it’s not just furry creatures either, there have been reports of a baby python stowed away under a wheel arch, ensuring quite the surprise for the car owner - as well as the mechanic when they investigated!

Spotting the Signs of Animal Damage

As with any type of issue that may arise with your vehicle, spotting the problem early on can mean an easier and less expensive solution is available to fix it.

If your car hasn’t been driven for a few days, or even weeks, then be extra vigilant with your pre-drive checks. Any unusual smells should be investigated, as well as dashboard warning lights that don’t go off after a few minutes. Whilst it might be a bit of a nasty shock to find a nest of mice under your bonnet, it’s much better to find and evacuate them before you set off on a journey, rather than have to deal with the aftermath of finding them post-drive.

Empty sweet wrappers piled up.

One of the best things you can do to deter potential animal trespassers is to make sure you don’t store food in the car (or in the garage where you park), especially in the winter months when their usual food sources might be scarce. Regular checks of parked cars is key too, as cold animals seek out warm bonnets to snuggle up in - the RAC reported a cat disconnecting a car battery, leaving only the clue of leftover fur behind in its wake. So keep an eye on your kitties too if they don’t come home at night!

How Can Kwik Fit Help?

If your tyres have been chewed up by marauding wildlife, or your cables have been munched on by hungry rodents, just know that our experience with the damages caused by mischievous critters, both wild and domesticated, means you’re in safe hands (or paws, rather!).

Head to the Kwik Fit blog for an abundance of motor-curious content and a wealth of practical information, covering everything from car cleaning to general maintenance. Or, for assistance in person from one of our friendly technicians, call in to your local Kwik Fit centre for our expert advice on animal damage today.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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