Before you put your beloved BMW in storage for the winter, what steps do you take to protect it? Do you spray your wheels with a coat of petroleum so they don't rust? Do you remove your battery so that you can bring it home and charge it every now and then? How about the fluids -- do you top them off so your car is ready to roll come spring? If you do all of these things, then you're well on your way to keeping your BMW protected through winter, but you're missing a very important detail -- pest control. Rodents are attracted to the tight, sheltered confines of your car in winter, and if you don't take measures to stop them, they'll ruin your vehicle.
What Kind Of Damage Can Rodents Do To Your Car?
Rodents drag all kinds of materials back to their nesting spots. A daily haul of goodies might include some torn up paper, a potato peel, some snails, and a bit hair. These random bits of debris pose fire hazards and can choke up your engine, so it's never a good idea to have them floating around under your hood. The biggest risk of damage rodents pose to your BMW, though, is damage to the wiring.
There are over 2,050 different species of rodents in the world and they all have one horrific characteristic in common: their teeth never stop growing. Whether squirrels or rats, mice or voles, if they don't constantly gnaw away at their surroundings, their teeth will grow so long that they ultimately lead to the rodents' demise. Most of the necessary chomper growth-control takes place in the area immediately surrounding their nests. If that nest happens to be in your stored BMW, you're looking at chewed-through filters, ruined hoses and belts, and a whole lot of severed wiring.
In a worst-case scenario, rodents can chew through your wiring harness, which is the main electronic hub of your car. This harness can hold over 1000 wires that control over 100 features of your vehicle! If your wiring harness gets chewed, you can expect to find yourself without power locks, power steering, lighting, air conditioning, or window functions. Because of the complexity of your wiring harness, these repairs must be performed by a skilled BMW auto repair professional and, as you can imagine, can be pretty expensive.
How Can You Keep Rodents Out Of Your Car?
Don't worry, you don't have to spend your winter camping out next to your stored BMW playing bop-a-mole; you just need to take a few extra precautions when placing your classy car in storage.
Don't Provide A Food Source -- Try not to eat in your car. Even little crumbs left behind can be enough to allure hungry vermin. If you do eat in your car, vacuum it out thoroughly before storing it. If you're storing your vehicle in your household garage and you also keep your garbage there, consider relocating your trash to outdoor covered containers to get it (and therefore, rodents) farther away from your vehicle.
Deny Easy Access -- If rodents can find an easy-access entry to your car, they're going to take advantage of it. While plugging up your exhaust and air intake isn't foolproof, it will at least deter the pests a little. Stick a handful of steel wool inside these locations and then use masking tape to cover the holes. Don't forget to remove the steel wool and tape before running your vehicle, though.
Leave A Warning -- Most rodents have a pretty keen sense of smell and will keep away from odours that aren't familiar to them. Moth balls are effective at warding off vermin, but they've got a certain stink that most people find bothersome.
Instead, get some of your favorite dryer sheets and place them liberally throughout your vehicle. Put some inside your car, a few under the hood, and a few more in your trunk. Keep track of how many dryer sheets you use, though, because you'll want to make sure you remove them all before starting your vehicle up again.
A Few More Tips For Protecting Your BMW
While it may be tempting to drop your car insurance while your vehicle is in storage, don't. You'll need it should rodents take up winter shelter in your car. Make sure your plan covers comprehensive damages, too. This is the type of coverage that protects your vehicle from damages not related to a collision.
After taking your BMW out of storage, bring it to a repair shop and ask the mechanic to give it a once-over. Even if rodents didn't completely chew through the wires under your hood, they may have stripped them enough to pose a fire hazard. Wintertime vehicle rodent invasions are common, so if you've had a critter in your car, your mechanic will recognize the signs and know what type of damage to look for.
If you're prepping your BMW for winter storage, pay close attention to the above information. Rodent infestations are a serious problem when temperatures drop and a few precautionary measures now can save you thousands of dollars in vehicle repair costs next spring.