Motorists who leave their car unattended for weeks could return to their vehicles to find they have been taken over by rodents such as rats. The issue was thrown into the spotlight late last month when US journalist Kelsey Snell revealed rats had entered her car while it was parked under lockdown.
She said her local dealership had confirmed she was not alone, with five other motorists reportedly being caught out by a similar issue within the same neighbourhood.
In a tweet, she shared: “Fun pro tip: drive your car, maybe a few times a week?
“Just started ours for the first time in a week and WE HAVE RATS LIVING IN THE ENGINE. The dealership said we are the FIFTH people to call this week with this problem.”
Experts at Select Car Leasing say unused cars could become breeding grounds for the small animals which can lead to devastating consequences.
These animals can pass on a severe disease linked to kidney or respiratory failure. in a major risk to all road users.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says breathing in spores contained in animal droppings, urine or exposure to nests would put humans at risk.
This could put drivers under threat of developing a bug called hantavirus which brings on flu-like symptoms before getting worse.
James O’Malley, Director of Select Car Leasing said: “Since the government lockdown measures were brought in the majority of people aren’t using their vehicles.
“Some might be driving to the supermarket once a week, but many more are not getting behind the wheel at all.
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“And this means that stationary cars can attract some unwelcome visitors, ranging from rodents to insects.
“Motorists need to make regular internal and external checks of their cars to ensure no infestations of any sorts.”
Those who haven’t caught the bug will notice flu-like symptoms such as a headache, blurred vision, chills and a fever.
However Hantavirus can lead to hemorrhagic fever or hantavirus pulmonary syndrome which can have fatal consequences.
Common places to find the animals include inside the engine compartment, under the windscreen wipers and between the battery frame.
Other common areas to find rodents are inside the engine air filter and near the air conditioning unit.
The spare tyre compartment, inside the headlights and rust holes may also be used as hideaways by the animals.
Select Car Leasing says drivers can put their “mind at rest” by conducting regular checks of their vehicle.
The experts urge drivers to start their engine while they check their vehicle which will also ensure parts are kept fully maintained during the shutdown.
The lockdown is a perfect time for motorists to conduct a thorough clean of their vehicle which will reduce the risk of a rodent infestation
Published at Wed, 13 May 2020 08:07:00 +0000