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Uninvited guests costing drivers money

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TUCSON (KVOA)--As many Tucsonans worked from home during the pandemic, the city saw fewer cars on the road and many of them parked in our driveways. While that may have saved many a lot of money, one pesky rodent is costing them.

Packrats in Arizona can cause thousands of dollars in damage to your vehicle. Some drivers do not even know one has made a home in their car until it is too late.

"I could see there was a giant packrat's nest in there and there was a bunch of chewed wires and cables and stuff so it ended up being pretty expensive," Camilo Alba, Tucson resident said.

Alba says he is glad he was able to catch it in time. Others who weren't so lucky probably ended up chewed out of a vehicle.

"Watch out for your spaces. Make sure there aren't rats chewing through your car because even worse than being expensive if they chew a break wire, you know," Alba said. "That's a matter of safety. That can be a bigger deal."

The best thing to do is look under your hood. Do you notice footprints? Do you see any nests?

"It is year-round, but generally speaking, it is seasonal after the rains come," Greg Stewart, Precision Toyota Tucson said. "We see it the most and if you can envision them, a lot of them are nesting in washes and when the water comes through the wash, they are forced out of their nest and they're looking for a new place to nest."

He says in order to prevent a packrat from overstaying their welcome, keep the hood of your car lifted a little to make sure sunlight gets in. Also, try putting a fluorescent light underneath at night. Packrats are looking for a place without light.

"Sometimes it can be extremely expensive," Stewart said. "I've seen vehicles totaled to total losses because of the amount of money it takes to fix them."

Besides a light, you can also buy natural chemicals to spray around your vehicle to deter them. Just check with your local pest company.

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