RAC declares last year as the “year of the rat”

New data from the RAC is suggesting that it’s not always a head gasket or a catastrophic engine failure that can cost hundreds of pounds in repairs, it can sometimes be small creatures.

The breakdown organisation has revealed it’s seen record numbers of mice, rats and foxes ‘surprising’ customers in 2023 and causing serious damage to their vehicles, after reviewing thousands of patrol breakdown reports dating back to 2016.

Breakdowns caused by rodents have risen by 55% from 196 incidents in the first 11 months of 2018 to a record 303 over the same period in 2023, according to the motoring organisation. The problem worsens significantly as the seasons change, averaging a 66% increase from summer to autumn over the last five years.

Last year, patrol reports show rats had the biggest appetite for automobile parts and caused half (51%) of all animal damage incidents by gnawing fuel hoses, infesting engine bays and damaging headlights.

Patrols also reported numerous cases of foxes chewing speed sensor wiring, windscreen wiper blades and brake hoses underneath cars.

Food left inside or in the vicinity of an unattended vehicle is a sure-fire way to attract unwanted visitors.

Open bags of pet feed stored in garages can lure mice and rats into a vehicle’s piping where they’re drawn to their very own ‘biting point’ – peanut and soy-based oils and waxes used on parts including diesel injector wires, gearbox insulation and primer bulbs.

(Picture – RAC)

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