My car started giving me all kinds of electrical problems.  I popped the hood and found a nest!

nest-in-engine-compartment

Read on to see how a small animal caused electrical trouble for this car.

Lexus-IS300

All at once I had 3 new electrical problems with my Lexus IS300:

  • Windshield wipers were slow and sometimes stopped.
  • Left turn signal / blinker goes twice the normal speed.
  • Headlights will not turn off automatically when engine is off.

Lexus_IS300_hood_open

I popped the hood and took a look.

nest-in-engine-compartment

Nest in the engine compartment!

removing-leaves-from-engine-compartment

I got to work cleaning out the mess.

Making progress cleaning out the engine compartment.

Making progress cleaning out the engine compartment.

As I was removing the debris, I noticed additional damage from the animal’s chewing.  The animal is probably a chipmunk, squirrel, or rat.  We had some cold weather and snow recently and the animals were looking for a warm place to hunker down.  After running the car and coming back home to park it outside, the engine compartment must have felt warm and inviting to the cold animals.

Bits of electrical wire had been chewed through!  No wonder the car was having electrical problems!

Bits of electrical wire had been chewed through! No wonder the car was having electrical problems!

Wiper cleaning fluid hose chewed.

Wiper cleaning fluid hose chewed up.

Now I know why my windshield wiper fluid doesn’t spray any more.  An animal chewed through the hose!

Other end of the hose.

Other end of the hose.

Look at how many leaves came out of the nest!

Look at how many leaves came out of the nest!

Engine compartment all cleaned up.

Engine compartment all cleaned up.

I pulled most of the leaves out by hand and vacuumed out the rest.

Grounding The Relays

VIDEO

Soldered wires replacing what the varmit chewed through.

Soldered wires replacing what the varmit chewed through.

Completed job, covered with electrical tape.

Completed job, covered with electrical tape.

How to Prevent Animals from Coming Back

A chipmunk in Arkansas.  (Thanks to my wife for capturing this photo.)

A chipmunk in Arkansas. (Thanks to my wife for capturing this photo.)

My mother had this same problem with rodents getting up into her engine compartment.  She took her vehicle to the mechanic where they discovered the problem.  They told her to prevent the animals from getting into her engine compartment again, she could:

  • Put moth balls in old pantyhose and attach them under the hood.   Instead of pantyhose, I think you could use an old t-shirt or any other porous cloth.
  • Spray the engine area with peppermint spray.
  • Get a cat which “would take care of the rodents.”  (My mother advised the mechanic that she did have a cat, which was worthless at hunting, preferring to be inside sleeping instead.)

Conclusion

With the relays properly grounded to the body of the car, the electrical problems went away.  All of the relays in the Engine Room Relay Block are back to working like new.



2 Comments

  1. Mo Abba says:

    Yesterday I opened the top cover of my car’s engine to do some maintenance work.

    What I found there really amazed me! BAOBAB fruit seeds! I live in London and the baobab fruit comes from Africa. Baobab seeds are hard and can only be broken with force/hammer.

    I did eat baobab and discarded the seeds in my garden with a hope that one of them will grow (they never do, too cold here).

    My son has a theory that the seeds were put there by a forest mouse (we live in a forest). But why in the engine? My guess is that it is warm or maybe the mouse knows that the heat from the engine will help break the seed. You see, the seeds contain a internal kernel that is extremely rich in nutrients.

    thanks

  2. Earl says:

    Fascinating! Thanks for sharing your story. And you told me about a fruit I have never experienced. I just read up on baobab and it looks like a promising food with lots of nutrients.

    I wish you could grow the trees where you live. I read another person claiming to be from the UK has been able to grow one of the varieties: davesgarden.com. Now you got me wanting to grow this tree! :-)

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