Update 2003 Corolla-discovered field mice inside

Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
156
Location
NE Ohio
Sorry for starting a new thread. Was ready with checkbook to buy the Corolla in previous thread. Update on Corolla: Gave it a long test drive, everything seems OK. Need more advice tho. The car wasn't driven in 18 months. Older lady, assisted living in country setting. Kept snacks in the car-crackers, cookies, chips etc. Trunk was packed with stuff-she sort of used it as storage. As I cleaned out all of her stuff (tons of it), I noticed lots of evidence of field mice nests. So once again I need advice: How do I get rid of them? Don't want to kill them in the car-smell. How do I chase them out? I really appreciate your guys wisdom and patience with my questions. thx Joe
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Messages
22,187
Location
Colorado Springs
Is there any evidence of damage to wiring etc.? Mice can literally destroy a car that's been sitting for a while. Did you see any live mice? Remove the air filter and I bet you'll find a big nest. If they're in the cabin or trunk, get some Ortho snap traps and bait with peanut butter and let them sit overnight; get them out ASAP.
 
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
3,431
Location
USA
If the car has been in use, I bet the mice aren't in there right now. I would be surprised if any hitch a ride home with you, but it has been known to happen. You could put snap traps in the trunk and outside the car. I like the USA made Victor snap traps with the large trigger baited with peanut butter. You can get them at most stores like Walmart for under $1 each. I haven't used them for mice, but I used them to kill 9 voles in my garden.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
6,367
Location
Midwest
I've heard of things like peppermint, dryer sheets and mothballs to repel the mice. A friend has an original Model A that he uses peppermint in, and he puts a few drops in the interior, engine bay and trunk area every month or so. He's never had a mouse issue, and the car sits in a rural garage with the garage door frequently open. I think if it were mine I'd put some peppermint, dryer sheets or mothballs in the car and some snap traps under it and let it sit for a few days.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
46,613
Location
New Jersey
yeah id start with dryer sheets and then keep an eye out. take away the food and make it feel threatening to them and they should leavs.
 
Joined
Oct 29, 2008
Messages
2,500
Location
Dallas, Texas
Check all your electrical connections. Brake lights, turn signals, headlights, even electric windows, can get gnawed on. Rodents are no joke around automobiles. Interesting tidbit, both the Germans and Russians had issues with mice and rats eating the wiring in their tanks and automobiles during World War II. Imagine jumping in your tank as the enemy is attacking only to figure out that it didn't work like it did a few hours earlier. If you eliminate the food you will typically eliminate the reason the rodent is there. Actually poison may be a good route. It makes them very thirsty and they will have to go elsewhere to find a drink. Just be sure that "Elsewhere" isn't your kitchen. We had mice that we had in our camper. I couldn't figure it out till I had seen their droppings, but I would wake up each night to the sound of something scratching/digging every night. At the time I figured it was one of the dogs panting in their sleep. (BTW, The rental place were total jerks, I had to replace all 4 tires while on the road and did not get a dime back like they told me they would. Needless to say it is the last time I rent a camper, and no I did not inform them of the mice when I cleaned it out and paid my bill.)
 

Joe72Mart

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
156
Location
NE Ohio
Drew: Checked air filter and housing-no nesting materials. Stephen: Today was the first time car moved in a long time. Lots of shredded paper/tissues in cabin. Mouse dung and nesting material found in glove box. Also in trunk. Also interior. Plenty of readily available food since lady left all kind of snacks inside. Chewed threw cracker wrappers and chip bags etc. A field mouse's dream home! Older lady now confined to wheel chair. One day 18 months ago, just quit driving. Unable to get in and out of car. Never went back to car to clean it out. My first clue of infestation was when I turned on blower to check air conditioning and heater and cracker pieces blew out of vents. Knew right then what was happening. Was ready to write check till that happened. I still cleaned out the mess in trunk and found more evidence of mouse bedding and excrement. Thanks for the idea of snap traps. I'd have to drive about 20 miles round trip to check them. Same with glue traps. Would loud noise keep them out? Maybe play radio on high volume? Guy at a professional detail shop would be willing to pull seats, carpet and whatever HVAC ducts were accessible to eradicate them for a price.
 

Joe72Mart

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
156
Location
NE Ohio
Drew: No live or dead mice spotted. None of the nesting material contained any insulation material, but can't say for sure since there was so much stuff I cleaned out. Mostly tissue paper and shredded maps etc. All electrical systems functioned on test drive. Tho didn't check brake lights. I did my best to eliminate all obvious food in car. Didn't vacuum tho. Pop Rivet: Will try your suggestions next trip. Super Dave: No check engine light, all power accessories worked. Told lady I'm kinda of unwilling to park this thing in or near my garage in its present state. I don't want to transfer her problem into mine. Hate to give up such a good deal tho. Do any exterminating companies work with cars? I haven't called any yet.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Messages
22,187
Location
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted By: Joe72Mart
My first clue of infestation was when I turned on blower to check air conditioning and heater and cracker pieces blew out of vents.
I'd be worried about that! You'll have to get to ALL the HVAC ducts and the heater box/AC evaporator box because there'll be nest material and feces in there. If you don't, every time you run the HVAC, you'll have mouse feces/[censored] dust blowing in your face. The good thing is hantavirus dies fairly quickly.
 

Joe72Mart

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
156
Location
NE Ohio
Thanks for all the advice/replies bitogers. I'm not sure if this Corolla is the car for me. I'd buy it in a heartbeat if it didn't have the mouse issue. Maybe time to move on? Great price, low miles, I guess there had to be something that would pop up. Would you guys still pursue this deal or just let it pass? Joe
 

01rangerxl

Site Donor 2021
Joined
Apr 8, 2006
Messages
10,457
Location
Birmingham, AL
I would pass on that car. You never know what they chewed up, took a dump on, or died in. A mouse infestation could cause frustrating problems with the car for years to come. Plus, 18 months of just sitting isn't good for a car. Is there mold anywhere? What kind of shape are the tires in? How nasty is the fuel? Oil? It's probably going to need a lot of maintenance to get it back into daily service, especially if it was kept outside.
 
Joined
Nov 14, 2008
Messages
11,874
Location
Phoenix
This sounded like a great deal in your previous thread, but like they say...if it's too good to be true... I'd run. Best case scenario there is no damage to the wiring or rest of the car, do you really want to be closed up in this thing breathing mouse droppings in the winter or summer?
 

Joe72Mart

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
156
Location
NE Ohio
Papa Bear: Check to see if the cabin filter is contaminated? Chewed through? There's mouse chow blowing thru the vents now. Would replacing the cabin filter do any good? If I did find it damaged/eaten thru, would replacing it keep the contamination out of the cabin? One previous poster said that the air box, condenser and ducts may already be contaminated. If you think that changing the filter would help, I'd be willing to give it a shot. How about the stuff they sell to spray into air conditioning systems to eliminate the mold that some cars develop, would that help disinfect the system? I'm open to any and all suggestions. I really like this car, the price and low mileage. Know who/where I can take it to get it cleaned? The dealer would probably charge a fortune, negating any savings. thx for the reply. Joe
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
19,528
Location
Lake Forest, CA
I think you may want to talk to a good mechanic about cleaning/replacing all those things, what is he going to charge for part(s) and labor to see if it worth the risk/effort to buy this Corolla.
 
Joined
Oct 11, 2002
Messages
22,187
Location
Colorado Springs
Originally Posted By: Joe72Mart
Papa Bear: Check to see if the cabin filter is contaminated? Chewed through? There's mouse chow blowing thru the vents now. Would replacing the cabin filter do any good? If I did find it damaged/eaten thru, would replacing it keep the contamination out of the cabin? One previous poster said that the air box, condenser and ducts may already be contaminated. If you think that changing the filter would help, I'd be willing to give it a shot. How about the stuff they sell to spray into air conditioning systems to eliminate the mold that some cars develop, would that help disinfect the system? I'm open to any and all suggestions. I really like this car, the price and low mileage. Know who/where I can take it to get it cleaned? The dealer would probably charge a fortune, negating any savings. thx for the reply. Joe
The cabin air filter will be located before all the HVAC vents/heater core box. IE, it's on the intake side. Replacing it won't solve the problem. That said, you could still take everything apart to clean it out. Obviously it'll cost a bit to have a tech do it. The question is, is it worth it? And then there is the distinct possibility that "some" wiring might be damages and chewed through. That might not show up right away. The car might still be a good buy for you IF you're willing to fix things that might pop up during initial ownership from the mouse infestation. If the car in question was a pos car known for being a pos, I'd say walk away. But Corollas are great little cars.
 
Last edited:

Joe72Mart

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
156
Location
NE Ohio
Thx for the advice HTSS_TR. I googled "mice cars" and just got advice on traps/poisons. Car has multiple nests due to lots of food sources left for extended period of time. Like the car and price but don't need to get sick from contaminated air. I thought maybe some sort of aerosol mouse killer would be available, sorta like a bug bomb, but no luck. Dissemble of dash and disinfection sounds like the best bet. Also I'm sure the carpets and seats have been contaminated. I'll ask some local mechanics what they recommend. Things don't look promising for me buying this Corolla. I doubt if home pest control companies are equipped for car eradication. But thx again for your input. The car was a great buy until I found all the mouse droppings. If costs exceed blue book value, I may have to pass on this car. Joe
 

Joe72Mart

Thread starter
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
156
Location
NE Ohio
Drew99 With my luck with past dealership service experience, the car would probably get the "fresh air and sunshine" treatment in the back lot. I'd dismantle and sanitize it myself using Clorox, but getting less flexible in my "old age". Working on heater boxes and vents etc requires almost being a contortionist. Especially in a compact car. Underdash work no longer my favorite cup of tea! thx for the reply Drew and the rest of you bitogers.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2008
Messages
544
Location
Roswell GA
I was reading this thread (mice in cars is catchy title ;-) ) and then read your first thread. I understand your valid concerns re residual bacteria from droppings. Definitely needs a thorough cleaning with bleach. Removing the seats and carpet is no big deal even for an "older" guy (I'm 60) which then means easy access to the under-dash and vents. BUT: for $5k and 36,000 miles, it's still seems like a screamin' steal. Where else will you get a long-lived, 300k car for that kind of price, even factoring in new tires, fluid changes etc right now. Just my $.02.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
36,723
Location
ME
Originally Posted By: eagle23
BUT: for $5k and 36,000 miles, it's still seems like a screamin' steal. Where else will you get a long-lived, 300k car for that kind of price, even factoring in new tires, fluid changes etc right now. Just my $.02.
Oh, wow, get this car! You get cold winters in Ohio. Just park the car with the trunk open and windows down on some frosty nights; the mice will move out if they haven't already. Pull the front seats (should be easy), vacuum and bleach. The HVAC should clear itself out; I'd run it with the blower on and windows open while you still have some fall warmth. You can hose it down with lysol spray through the vents and cowl intake.
 
Top