How do I stop squirrels from nesting in my car engine?

Grey squirrel 200

People who have had this happen to them know that this can be a persistent, and costly, problem. So if you find squirrels or evidence of squirrels (leaves, grass, nuts, seeds and more) under the hood of your car it is best to encourage these critters to live elsewhere.

If it is safe to do so, leave the hood of your car open during the day. This will make your car less attractive as a nesting spot, enticing them to move on. You can close the hood overnight, squirrels aren’t active then.

Place open bags of used cat litter or pet hair strategically in/around the car. The squirrel will likely feel intimidated by the smell of another animal’s urine or smell and mosey on to another spot.

It’s rumoured that squirrels don’t like the smell of peppermint or curry powder. If you’re game to test out the theory, dab cotton balls or cotton rags with a few drops of peppermint oil or dust cotton balls with curry powder, stuff them in nylon stockings and carefully place them in and around your car. A few words of caution: be careful with peppermint around your pets and small children as it could be harmful to them.

If you have squirrels chewing on or in your car, you can try taste deterrents like bitter apple spray (available at pet stores and vet clinics).

Of course, you should always contact a mechanic before placing/spraying anything in your car. There are some parts you may want to avoid to prevent damage. And of course, don’t forget to remove stockings, cotton balls or cloths from your car before you start it up.