Car Damaged By Rats

Is this the most expensive rodent damage bill you have ever seen?


Pestgo a small business in the Wollondilly shire of NSW was called to deal with other matters at the residence where this damage had occurred


In 2019 A gentleman who would like to remain anonymous bought himself a new car. It was one of the very popular Toyota Camry family and cost him just under $50,000.00.


All was well and the vehicle didn’t see much use as the gentleman was restricted to home for mostly all of the pandemic so the trips were short and often only weekly. In mid 2022 the vehicle was taken to the dealer for a full service and was received back with no issues. The vehicle was stationary for eight days…. Until.


On August 12 the gentleman went to start the vehicle but the engine was unresponsive when the ignition was operated, so he called the NRMA Roadside Assistance line and requested help.


When the NRMA Patrolman arrived and assessed the vehicle he quickly spotted a problem.

The battery no longer contained acid, as a Rat had chewed through the base of it allowing the acid to completely leak out. “That’s the problem” as far as why the car wouldn’t start, or so the Patrolman first thought. After replacing the battery the engine was still unresponsive so further investigation ensued.


After a couple of minutes and a few quick tests it was discovered that several wiring harnesses had been chewed through by a rodent. Not only had the wiring harnesses been chewed but much of the insulative cover on wires generally around the engine bay were also “chewed”.


The NRMA Patrolman at this point suggested that the vehicle be taken for assessment at the local Toyota Dealer and he arranged for a tow truck. The Dealer had the vehicle for over a week before being satisfied that they had located “most” of the damage that had been caused and were able to give an “estimate” for repair. The vehicle owner at this point was in shock as he tried to come to grips with the Whopping $20,698.71 estimate in his hands.


The Dealer had made it clear in an accompanying letter that there may be more damage that has yet to be located but once they remove the engine they do expect the price to increase and they could not be sure how much extra damage they would find. Rat Damage to Cars is more common than you would think.


One silver lining to this tale is that the owner of the vehicle had had the foresight to take out the highest level of insurance cover that he could source for the vehicle, and the insurance company had agreed to cover the damage and supplied a rental car until the repairs had been carried out. Normally insurances do not cover this type of damage.


There were many parts in the engine bay that were damaged by the rat or rats and had the vehicle been able to start there may have been a disaster soon after as the rats had also chewed through the brake fluid reservoir allowing the brake fluid to escape and rending the brakes inoperable.


Rats like to chew, and in fact have a need to chew items of a specific density, to help in what is a constant “filing down” of their teeth. Rats teeth grow so quickly that they regularly need to chew items to sharpen and reduce their teeth’s length.  


So when there are Rats around, any material that is of a density liked by Rats, is at risk. If you hear chewing in your roof it may be that a rat is gnawing something to achieve optimum dental care. There are many examples of Rats chewing wiring, plastic boxes or buckets and anything else that they have access to. You can rest assured that if they have access to it and a spare couple of minutes they will wreck it.


How can you stop your valuables from being ruined by Rats?


Firstly it is a good idea to call a professional who has insights as to what may cause an infestation in the first place and can design a programme to ensure your valuables are never harmed. Some steps you can take immediately are


  • Make sure to keep any food stuffs in sealed containers.
  • If your cat or dog does not finish their food straight away remove and isolate the leftovers.
  • Pick up any fallen fruit from trees or vines in the yard.
  • Nesting material can be just as attractive as food so make sure that there is no access to cloth, woollens or natural fibres.
  • Rats need to stay hydrated so ensure there are no water sources nearby for them, check there are no dripping tap, plants with saucers full of water etc.
  • Fit vermin proofing to doors or windows where gaps exist.
  • If your vehicle is garaged considering leaving the bonnet up.


Having a rodent baiting strategy in place is sometimes the best option as your immediate surrounds on your property can be controlled by you but the neighbouring properties, reserves, creeks etc are often not receiving the attention they should. Pestgo can help you implement a rodent control strategy get in touch here

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The Quote to repair the damage in the Camry.

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