How to keep squirrels out of my car engine?

This blog post will answer the question, ‘How to keep squirrels out of my car engine’, and cover topics like reasons behind squirrels entering a car engine, techniques to avoid squirrels entering a car engine, and what to do if squirrels enter the car engine.

How to keep squirrels out of my car engine?

The following steps must be taken to keep squirrels out of the car engine:

  • Keep the vehicle cabin and other storage compartments like the glovebox clean and rid the space of litter.
  • Park under a garage or an enclosed space.
  • Avoid foliage deposition on your vehicle as it forms a pathway for squirrels to enter the vehicle
  • Avoid keeping hoods, doors, windows, and sunroofs open all the time.

Reasons behind squirrels entering a car engine

A car engine acts as the perfect medium for warmth and comfort during cold months and forms a perfect resting place for rodents such as squirrels.

In order to control the constant growth of their teeth, squirrels keep chewing on certain nuts and the closest chewable object are the wires and thick cables inside the engine bay.

Techniques to avoid squirrels entering a car engine

These are the following techniques that can be applied to prevent a squirrel invasion inside the car engine.

Animal repellant

Animal repellant can be applied on components that do not get too hot. This can include the bumper area, undercarriage, or even the front tires. Applying it in an area like under the hood will result in the odor affecting the passengers more.

Hot pepper

Hot ground pepper can be sprayed in and around the entry points for the squirrels. It should be kept in mind that pepper in hotter areas like the hood can cause severe irritation and can also be dangerous for the driver and fellow passengers.

Cayenne pepper is a good choice for such activities. However, it is beaten by the deadly habanero pepper whose effect can be further amplified by adding some kind of hot sauce to it.


Fortunately for mothballs, they can be placed in hotter regions of the vehicle such as under the hood, also in and around the wires and cables that squirrels tend to chew. They are often repelled by the odor from mothballs.

Rat poison

This method should only be resorted to if none of the above methods work and only if you are willing to take care of the carcass without littering public places.

What to do if squirrels enter the car engine?

Parent squirrels choose the car engine as a new home as it is a warm, dark, and enclosed space. The following steps need to be followed to get rid of the squirrels once they manage to invade the car engine.

Popping open the hood

The best and safest way to get rid of a squirrel or a squirrel family is to leave the car hood open for a couple of days. This will allow adequate light and noise to enter and cause a disturbance to their nesting ground.

The parent squirrels will feel insecure after noticing that their nest has been exposed and invaded by the seasons and as a result, they will relocate to a safer area.

Exposure to light

Squirrels generally prefer a dark and enclosed space as their resting place. They will not appreciate the exposure to a direct light source. This is where using a bright lamp comes in handy although it is necessary for it to be fire-resistant.

Exposure to sound

Squirrels prefer a quiet and cozy atmosphere to shelter themselves from the seasons. Placing a sound system or a radio under the car hood on the engine bay works as a direct obstacle to such demands.

Studies have shown that squirrels are not known to be agitated at the sound of music, instead, it is the persistent human voice they are afraid of. Hence, it is advisable to switch the sound system or the radio to a talk show or a conversation among people.

Exposure to smell

To make the squirrels repel using a source of smell, we need to produce a source of the smell that is similar to animals they consider their predators. This can be carried out by adhering to the following steps:

  • Use soaked rags in mediums like apple cider vinegar, ammonia, and garlic and dump them into a bag.
  • It is important to make some holes inside the bag in order to let the smell vent out of the bag.
  • If the house has a cat, their litter can also be used as a source of smell.
  • The bag should now be hanged or set up in a manner such that it is under the hood.
  • Routine checks need to be performed to ensure all the squirrels if more than one, have vacated the engine bay.
  • Lastly, it is advisable to consult a professional technician to check the vehicle for any kind of damage.

It should be noted that if none of the above fixes work, the animal control department or any other related unit needs to be contacted to prevent further damage to both the squirrels and the vehicle parts.

Research has shown the various squirrel repellants that can be used to deter squirrels from entering the car engine.


This blog post addressed the question, ‘How to keep squirrels out of my car engine’.

We understood the potential reasons behind squirrels entering a car engine and also came across ways to avoid squirrels entering the car engine. Furthermore, some DIY steps have been included to help perform quick fixes to get rid of squirrels from the car engine.Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to keep squirrels out of my car engine?

What scent drives squirrels away?

Strong scents based on peppermint, garlic, vinegar, and onions when sprayed in and around the entry points can deter squirrels from entering the vehicle.

Do dryer sheets repel squirrels?

Dryer sheets when placed in and around the vents and doors repel both squirrels and mice.

Why do squirrels eat car wires?

Squirrels find the enclosed vehicle spaces comfortable and cozy and the perfect place to rest and perform trimming activities on the wires and other cables inside the engine bay for their ever-growing teeth.