best ways to repel squirrels from chewing wires

Best Squirrel Repellant for Cars, Boats, RV’s, Grills and Other Outdoor Items with Wires

There’s good reason to take an active approach of repelling squirrels from of your car’s engine space.

For starters, all those wires and hard plastic hoses are perfect objects for shaving down their incisors, which never stop growing.   On top of that, your car has some incredible nesting materials.

Why Use Squirrel Repellants for Cars
Squirrels Love Car Parts

Expensive repairs aside, the best reason to proactively repel squirrels from your car is because if you start the engine with them inside the hood, the cooling fan blades could actually cause you to chop off their limbs, tails, ….or worse.

Best of all, these squirrel repellents are not just for cars.  You can use these methods for your boats, snowmobiles, RV’s, grills, and any item you want to protect from becoming a squirrel’s nest.

Let’s get started,

Best Squirrel Repellant for Cars

There are 3 great ways to repel squirrels and keep them from getting into your car’s engine.  First, DIY it by placing Irish Spring Soap shavings under the hood.  Second, spray the immediate vicinity with Bitter Apple Repellant.  Finally, lay scat mats under the engine and next to the wheel wells.  

Now let’s get into why these all work together to do the best job of keeping squirrels out of your car so you don’t have to deal with chewed wires or inadvertently harming a nest of squirrels.

Why Irish Spring Works Under the Hood

Squirrels do not like the smell of green Irish Spring.  If they happen to foil the bitter spray and scat mats, they will not enjoy your car engine smelling like a freshly showered mountain man.

This is the best repellant for under the hood, if you are not willing to spray liquid repellant under the hood.  Just remember to use the original scent (link to product) and place the soap where they won’t melt.   Here are some ideal places:

  • duct tape it to the windshield wiper fluid reservoir
  • Use electrical tape and wind it around a plastic hose that does not get warm
  • attach it to a magnet and just stick it on the interior quarter panels.

For grills, dangle a bar of soap in the cabinet area, and for RV’s leave them along the walls, especially during storage periods.

keep squirrels out of RV's
Don’t Make it Easy for Squirrels

What About Using Ammonia to Repel Squirrels?

Squirrels definitely stay away from ammonia.  Unfortunately, it evaporates rather quickly and it poses a problem for all animals, including humans.  Irish Spring, on the other hand, repels lots of wildlife without harmful fumes.

Spraying in and Around Your Car or Boat with Peppermint or Bitter Spray

Freshly driven cars throw off a lot of heat.  Squirrels feel that heat from several yards away.  Like a skier to a ski lodge, they see your vehicle as an opportunity to warm up and take a little breather.

Spraying the nearby vegetation will begin to repel squirrels as they make their way toward the oasis that is your engine.

Car Spray Repellent Product worth trying

I would start with this one (link to product) made by Natural Armor.  The reason I like this particular product is because it actually makes your car smell pretty good.  Plus, you can use it around the car and under hood.

It’s a great value for the price and it comes with the convenient spray application.  This is way easier than a regular squirt bottle.

Finally, it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.   Many do not offer this.

Why it works?

Most squirrels are a bit risk averse and will likely chose not to continue toward horrible smelling locations.

If a squirrel decides to persevere through the stink, the next squirrel repellant will make them wish they hadn’t

Using Scat Mats to Keep Squirrels Away from Your Car

Scat mats come in a few different designs and sizes. The most effective mats for repelling squirrels are the the dense type and those are rather hard to find.

But you can double up scat mats that are cheaper and less dense (link to product).  Simply lay one down, then lay another on top, one row over.  This will create a much worse feeling for squirrels.

If the spikes of the mat are an inch or more apart, it may not work well for all squirrels.  Overlapping the mats so the spikes are 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch is often a better repellant.

scat mats can repel squirrels
Double Up Scat Mats

Tips for using Scat Mats – Keep in mind these mats have to be laying horizontally in order to make the squirrel uncomfortable, they are often used under decorations to keep animals away.   If you try to install scat mats vertically up a car tire, or even around a tree, squirrels can just use the spikes for climbing.

What if You Suspect a Squirrel is Living in Your Car Engine?

You, or someone braver than you, should have a look under the hood.  But before you go popping the latch, be sure to give the squirrel (or squirrels) plenty of opportunity to leave.

This can be done by slapping on the hood with your hand or blaring the radio in aux mode.  Laying on the horn is not recommended as it could result in permanent hearing loss for the squirrel.

Proceed with Caution

Neglecting to give them a chance to leave, could result in a frightened squirrel jumping at you, especially moms.  Many have babies twice a year and you may see evidence of squirrel entry holes in quite places.

Never just open the hood without ample warning.  Even then, take it slow and use your head and remain cautious the entire time.

If you can’t deal with the possibilities, call a qualified squirrel remover.  They deal with squirrel removal on a daily basis.

Let’s Recap

Squirrels like to build nests in trees and in the ground.  But, as their habitat shrinks, they have no choice but to look for suitable options.

Warm cars, or cars that have been sitting vacant for awhile can attract squirrel that are looking to build a nest.  This is a bad situation because squirrels do and will chew on tubes and wires under the hood.

They don’t do it maliciously, but they need to file their teeth, and sometimes wires and hoses taste sweet.

Combining all methods above will make your car, boat, RV, or grill cabinet a very unpleasant experience for any squirrels looking for a warm place to live.

The sooner you take steps to prevent squirrels from taking up residence in unwanted areas, the better.

For more squirrely resources, head back to our homepage.