Reoccuring Rodent Damage

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New member
Jan 21, 2020
A few months ago, part of the electrical system went out. I took it to my dealer and they said it was mice or rats that ate into the wiring and it cost me over $600 to get it fixed. To make sure It wouldn't happen again, I sprayed a mint-based product that was supposed to deter rodents from hanging around. A few days ago a god awful shaking and rumbling occurred from the air-conditioning system. It looks like a critter has crawled in the space and filled it with acorns and other crap. Now the fan won't even work. God knows what this is going to cost. I've owned new cars for 50 years and never had this kind of problem. And none of my neighbors have this kind of an issue. Is this a Bolt issue? I've read that others have had the problem.
Our 2017 Bolt has been parked in an unsealed garage for almost three years with no rodent issues.

BTW, I know there are mice in the area because they were eating the peas in the adjacent garden. I set traps and caught a dozen of them.

jack vines
Bummer! I faintly remember old stories of critters liking some cars more than others but it's probably random bad luck. I would suggest placing a dozen traps in around the parking area to give them something more enticing. Worth a try anyway.
Try a few mothballs under the vehicle

If neighbors or friends have pets offer to brush or comb them and save the fur, put it in an old sock and place near the car.. You won't smell anything but rodents will.
I'm going to say it is not a Bolt problem. I had a similar problem 15 years ago in a 1973 VW Beetle.

Long story short, I was driving it in January from NJ to Miami. I changed the oil and adjusted the valves laying in snow, and I cleaned some acorns from the area under the crank pulley without thinking about it. As I drove south, it naturally got warmer. By Georgia (55-60 degrees F), I noticed that it felt like hesitations at my top speed of about 75-80 mph, and I noticed some black soot buildup. By Jacksonville (65 degree F), I decided to replace plugs and wires. By West Palm Beach (75-80 degrees F), I couldn't get it above 60 mph, the sound had changed, and when I checked on it at a gas station, it was literally sizzling around the engine block and oil seemed to be seeping from everywhere. I showed up in Miami on a flat bed tow truck.

I adjust things here and there, changed the muffler to relieve back pressure, cleaned the carburetor. No avail. Finally, I dropped the engine, took off the cooling tins, and found fur, pine needles, and toasted acorns tucked into the cooling fins around cylinder 3. I had warped the cylinder heads and needed a valve job. It still runs fine to this day, and I have the nest in a ziplock bag in the trunk!

So it wasn't electrical, but it was a rodent of some sort finding a comfortable habitat in my car that caused serious problems just like yours!
You can also spray a 1/2 water 1/2 Sriracha solution on the wires and around the heater intake. (Put newspaper under where you are spraying so that it is only on the wires.)

Most rodents (and skunks, and possum, and ...) HATE highly spicy smells and stay away.
... this wasn't discussed when the Bolt was presented as environmentally friendly! :mrgreen:

We have good luck with a barn cat which adopted us and lives both outside and in the garage with its own cat door. Often leaves us 'presents' (with long tails) at the doorstep.
JoeS said:
... this wasn't discussed when the Bolt was presented as environmentally friendly! :mrgreen:
I know you were kidding, but this isn't a "Bolt EV only" sort of problem. In terms of wiring, many manufacturers have started using wire insulation that is plant-based, and mice nibble at them.

And a little story. When I was living in France a long time ago, I went out in the morning to start my little FIAT and drive to work. It *almost* started, but then did nothing but turn and turn and turn (crank, crank, crank) and not catch. I finally had it towed to a mechanic. He was mystified. He finally pulled the cover on the timing belt (connects the crankshaft - pistons - to the valves - fuel intake to each cylinder). It was coated on the inside with a fine coating of blood and fur. It was late fall (cold in the evenings) and it seems a small rodent had climbed into the timing belt area next to the warm engine and slept ON the timing belt. When I first cranked the engine, the mouse went BETWEEN the belt and the gear, causing the belt to 'slip' about 3 cogs, so the timing was off and the car wouldn't start. I was actually sort of lucky because that little 1L engine was an 'interference' type (the piston would hit the valve at the top of the stroke if it was really off-timing) ; it could have destroyed the engine. Still, as it was, that f*cking mouse cost me $600 (well, about 4000 francs) in labor to diagnose and fix the problem.
Not a Bolt specific problem, but the critters really seem to like the warm charging modules in the winter. Pain in the butt if you live out in the woods.

A few drops of peppermint essential oil from the local health food store every couple of weeks have been keeping them out of both the Bolt and the F250's front compartments.
This happened to my Bolt twice, in the fall of 2017 and spring of 2018. Both times they got into the front bumper area and started eating the wiring harness. The first time I took it in the service manager knew immediately that it was rodent damage by the way - that ought to tell you something.

Both times I was fortunate that my insurance company covered the damage. I spoke with my insurer (AAA) at length about the issue. They are tracking the issue on multiple makes of cars. While mice have nested in cars for a hundred years, the problem has increased significantly in some cars recently, including the Bolt. Its about the design of the car, probably the fact that there are less petroleum odors, but primarily in their opinion because Chevrolet has shifted to new wiring insulation on some vehicles like the Bolt away from traditional petrochemical wiring insulation to a new eco friendly soybean derived wiring insulation. AAA has seen this as a real issue and is tracking it as of 2018.

The second time it happened I did take permanent steps to try to solve the problem. That time I asked then to thoroughly wash out the area to remove any mouse/urine odors that might make it smell like home, and I supplied an aluminum tape to the dealer and they wrapped it around the new wiring harness before they installed it. I also purchased an item off Amazon - search for:

Fanhome Under Hood Rodent Repellent Animal Repeller

Go ahead and roll your eyes, it sounds like junk, but - this unit uses high pitched audio that my kids can hear from 25 feet away from the car with the hood closed that chirps and squeaks and has some small leads that flash under the hood. Apparently it turns off when the car is in motion.

Maybe it was the tape, maybe the rodent repeller, both, or just luck, but since the spring of 2018 the under hood unit is still working and nothing has chewed on my wiring since then. My advice would be to install the unit for $30, which is a lot less than $600 for the repair.

I appreciate that I could spray peppermint or set traps or build a flaming moat around the driveway, but so far the solutions I've tried are working for me...
Not a Bolt problem but a living in the country problem. My 2018 Bolt has a chronic case of mice in the cabin ventilation. They make it to the cabin filter, but I tape some hardware cloth to it so they can't make it to the fan and the cabin proper. I have mothballs tied in a sock under the hood, traps bated with PB under the car, and still have the prob. Took it to the dealer, asked if they could put a screen somewhere over the opening to the cabin air supply. They said no, but that a few shavings of Irish Spring on the filter would take care of it. What a joke.

I'm at a loss since there must be a way to physically block mice from the cent system, but the opening is not visible.
Interesting that they recommended Irish Spring - hanging chunks of Irish Spring in our seedling fruit trees was the only way we could keep the deer away from them long enough for them to grow into productive trees.

Might try some of that in the engine compartment of the F250 and see if it's effective. Not that popping the hood every couple of weeks and sprinkling peppermint oil around is a huge task, but age keeps having an impact on my memory. (Was that last week, last month, or last year?)
Several years in the Fanhome electronic rodent repeller listed above is still working and I've had no further issues...