Will you be parking your vehicle for a few days or longer? Are you worried about mice or other vermin taking up residence there? Have you already seen the ‘calling cards’ of some of our small furry friends in your car? You need to fix that immediately! In this post we go through several of the most productive methods of repelling mice from your car.

Repelling Rodents

There are several ways to repel mice and rodents from nesting in your car. The first several are preventative. Here is the list to keep your car clean and rodent-free!

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Mice and other rodents can damage your car by chewing electrical lines, clogging up air filters, and building nests where you don’t want them. Besides the fact that no one wants mice in their car, I’m not going to spend a lot of time justifying why you should get rid of them! If you found this article, you know…

Prevent Rodents in the First Place

Cover Openings

Mice and rodents often look for small openings or gaps to crawl through when searching for a place to nest. If possible, make sure to cover any openings or gaps in your car, such as the air intake, to prevent them from getting inside.

Dead mouse behind the hubcap of a car - PracticalMechanic.com

Keep the Area Clean

Mice and rodents are attracted to clutter and debris, so make sure to keep the area around your car clean and free of debris. This includes regularly removing any trash or food scraps that may be in the area.

Mouse hiding in a corner

Additionally, mice are excellent acrobats; clear anything away from the car that they can climb on in order to have easier access to getting up onto your vehicle.

Don’t Cover the Car (If Possible)

If you are storing the car indoors, for example in a garage, don’t put a cover over it. Mice like dark/protected places to build their nests, and a cover just gives them that needed protection.

If the car is outside, you may not have the option to not cover it, but consider avoiding a car cover, if possible.

Don’t Keep Food in the Car

As a general rule, keep any food or drinks out of the car while it is parked, especially unsealed food and beverages. Also try to keep it clean from crumbs which mice love.

If you need to store items in your car that may attract mice and rodents, consider using a rodent-proof storage container to keep them out. These containers are designed to be airtight and are made of materials that mice and rodents cannot chew through.

Getting Rid of Rodents

Mouse Traps

Ah yes, the classic: mouse traps. A bit barbaric, but it’s not your fault! Those mice could go lead a happy life in a field somewhere, and you wouldn’t go after them! The fact that they are trying to take up residence in your car is the problem. They have stepped over the line, now you need to step up your game.

Mouse traps are incredibly inexpensive these days, in fact, I would call them single-use or disposable. Don’t even bother taking the dead mouse out of the trap, just put it in a sealed bag in the trash, mouse-trap-and-all.

mice in mouse traps - get them out of your car!

I recommend using peanut butter or easy-cheese. The trick here is that less-is-more. Don’t overdo it, they aren’t eating a full-course meal here, just a tiny snack, the smell is really what you are after, so just spread a small amount, about half the size of a pencil eraser onto the trigger.

Place the traps wherever you see their scat, for example in the trunk. It is best if they aren’t in the cabin where you may step on them or set something on them.

One thing to keep in mind with mouse traps is that since you are using bait, they are actually attracting mice! Don’t use mouse traps if you don’t already have mice in your car, since the bait will just bring mice that weren’t in your car, to your car – NOT GOOD! Only use mouse traps if you know you already have mice in the car.

Use a Chemical Rodent Repellent

There are various rodent repellents available on the market, such as Tomcat by Scotts, that can be sprayed around the perimeter of your car or underneath the hood to deter mice and rodents from nesting in your car. These repellents often use the active ingredient of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and strong odors or tastes that mice and rodents do not like and can be effective at keeping them away.

Another option is D-Con, a powerful chemical poison for mice. This is the ‘no holds barred’ approach to rodent extermination.

Keep in mind these chemical repellents are toxic, so best to avoid if you have pets or small children.

Dryer Sheets

Another common method of repelling rodents is through the use of dryer sheets, even used by vehicle upholstery shops. The strong scent acts as a deterrent for mice and other vermin. In general, you have to use more than one sheet to get the desired effect.

The good news is that if you are going to be storing your car for a while, just invest in a box of inexpensive dryer sheets and put them all over – in the trunk, in the engine compartment, on the floors. then when you are going to drive it, gather them all up and toss them. You will deter mice and your car will smell like it just came out of the laundromat!


Not only good against moths, but mice also hate these, too. Mothballs are particularly effective against chipmunks and squirrels! As you know, mothballs have a very strong scent due to them containing Naphthalene, which is a chemical pesticide.

Some people can’t stand the smell of mothballs, so consider who may be using the car in the future, but many people don’t mind the smell and actually consider it somewhat pleasant (if not nostalgic!).

Sound Deterrents

Mice and rats are deterred by high frequency noises that are not audible to humans. Use an under-hood ultrasonic rodent repellant to keep rodents away without the need for chemicals.

This small device connects to your car battery and emits ultrasonic pulses and LED light flashes to keep the mice away. They are easy to install and won’t drain your battery.

If you park the car near an electrical outlet, such as a garage or pole-barn, use a plug-in ultrasonic deterrent (works great for RVs).

Natural Deterrents

There are several natural substances that can be used to deter mice and rodents from nesting in your car. For example, peppermint oil car-spray and other strong-smelling essential oils can be used to create a natural deterrent.

mouse being held by the tail

Simply squirt the solution or soak a cotton ball in the oil and place it in the car or around the perimeter of the car to create a scent that mice and rodents do not like.

If you have active signs of mice, re-apply sprays every other day. For preventative use, apply every 2 weeks, or if the car is parked outside, after it rains.

Not a fan of liquid sprays? There are also solid repellent balls the are highly rated. Or even pucks that look like a scented candle.