How to get rid of ants in car engine?

This blog post will answer the question, ‘How to get rid of ants in car engine?(7 best tips)’, and cover topics like what attracts ants to a car engine, signs of an ant invasion, places to look for in case of an ant invasion, and DIY remedies.

How to get rid of ants in car engine?

These are some of the best tips to get rid of ants in the car engine :

  • Make sure to move the car around 
  • Park the car in a closed garage
  • Make sure to keep the car clean
  • It is important to erase any formation of ant trails
  • Ant colonies need to be eliminated immediately
  • Any ant nest or mound needs to be dealt with quickly
  • If the problem gets out of hand, hire a professional exterminator

What attracts ants to a car engine?

These are the following reasons ants invade a car engine:

  • Presence of food crumbs or other related litter
  • Spillage of anything sweet to taste as ants are attracted to sweet substances
  • Moist environment as ants thrive in moisture
  • A dirty engine can be the perfect place for ants to set up camp

Signs of an ant invasion

These are the following signs of a potential ant invasion in the vehicle

Distinct odor

There will be the presence of a distinct smell as ants bring materials like leaves, small twigs, and food particles to support their nest and cater to their needs.

Chewed wires or cables

A single ant cannot do any significant damage to thick wires and cables. Although, an entire ant colony can easily chew through cables and damage critical engine components.

Ant trails in and around the vehicle

There is the visible presence of ant trails in and around the vehicle that is often indicative of an ant invasion underway inside the vehicle.

Presence of ant nests and mounds

Ant nests and mounds are easily visible and are the place where ants take shelter from the seasons and it is where the ant queen lays all her eggs. It is also the place where ants store all their food supplies. If such a mound exists in the vehicle, it is indicative of an ant invasion.

Places to look for in case of an ant invasion

These are the following places to look for a potential ant invasion.


A glovebox is the perfect storage compartment for keeping bottles or other food items inside a car. This is music to the ants who look for a place to store their supplies and also gather any food crumbs.


A car trunk is a vast enough area for any kind of animal to call home. If we are talking about ants, it is a paradise for them due to their small size. It acts as the perfect place to expand their territories and store their supplies.

Air vents

Air vents and other ducts are a very good hiding spot for ants and they can easily enter them due to their significantly small size. It is very easy to spot ants crawling in and out of vents either taking food crumbs or other related litter with them and storing it for future use.

Engine bay

There are ample nooks and crannies inside the engine bay where ants can crawl in and set up camp, especially in nooks and crannies that are difficult to access. 

DIY remedies

These are the various DIY fixes that can be applied to get rid of even curb an ant invasion in the car engine and cabin.

Check for other items

We might unintentionally offer a home to ants and their colonies in other items such as car equipment, garage items, or even our clothes. It is important to either dust or clean these entities off before introducing them to the vehicle.

Check engine components

It is important to prevent ants from entering the engine as they can damage critical engine parts and cause the car to malfunction. It is vital to check if the radiator and oil cover is tightly sealed. The air filter needs to be checked frequently as well.

Cleaning the vehicle

This is the best step to prevent an ant invasion. Any trash or food particles should be taken out and a powerful vacuum cleaner should be used to suck out the persistent waste.

In case of spillage of any sweet substance such as chocolate-based eatables or sugary beverages, it is necessary to wipe the surfaces with a cloth soaked in soap water.

Ant traps

Ant traps are always useful, however, it must be noted that traps if placed inside the vehicle can attract the ants as they gather around the trap for a while before meeting their doom.

A kind of sweet poison or some mixtures based on vinegar, peppermint oil, or cayenne peppers can be sprayed in and around the vehicle like wheels, trunk, seats, etc.

If there is a visible presence of an ant burrow or an ant mound, use a bottle of kerosene to destroy it. Another good trap is by placing a paste made of boric acid and jaggery. This takes time to kill but is far more effective than using insecticides.

Research has shown different naturally formulated traps to kill ants that are quite effective.

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This blog post addressed the question’ ‘How to get rid of ants in car engine(7 best tips)’.

We understood the various reasons behind ants getting attracted to a car engine and came across visible signs indicative of an ant invasion inside the car. Furthermore, different places to look for in case of an ant invasion and some DIY remedies have also been discussed. Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to get rid of ants in car engine(7 best tips)?

Why are there ants in the hood of my car?

This problem arises when there is a presence of food particles between vehicles and foliage. Ant baits and traps are the best solutions to tackle this situation.

Can ants build a nest in the car?

Ants pick cars as their new home as it appears to be a good source of food and also a storage space for all the supplies that will come in handy in the future. It also acts as the perfect place to lay eggs.

Can ants damage a car?

Ants can damage the electrical components of a car that can be very costly to repair, especially a particular species known as fire ants.