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Animals causing record number of breakdowns

todayDecember 26, 2023 9

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Animals causing record number of breakdowns

Breakdowns caused by animals somehow making their way inside vehicles have reached record levels – with rats accounting for most of the mischief.

According to the RAC, the firm was called out to 303 incidents of animal damage in the first 11 months of 2023, which is more than the same period during any other year on record.

It’s also a massive 55% increase from the 196 incidents reported between January and November in 2018.

The figures do not include incidents when a vehicle has struck an animal.

More than half of the animal damage this year was caused by rats, which are often found gnawing away at fuel hoses, infesting engine bays and breaking headlights.

Foxes were also guilty of chewing at speed sensor wiring, windscreen wiper blades and brake hoses.

RAC patrol Nick Isaac, who works in southwest England, said he discovered a squirrel using a car’s air filter to stockpile nuts.

“The car had lost power and had an odd smell. When I lifted the bonnet and revved the engine, the air filter moved like it was being sucked towards the engine,” he said.

“It turned out a squirrel had been taking nuts from a bird feeder and storing them in the air box, restricting air flow to the car.”

Drivers are warned rodents can be attracted to vehicles with food inside or nearby, or left unused for long periods.

One patrol found 10 mice had made a nest in a Porsche, under a panel at the bottom of the windscreen.

Another was called to retrieve a baby pet python that had been attracted by the warm brakes of its owner’s car and placed itself behind a wheel trim.

Risk of ‘expensive damage’

RAC spokeswoman Alice Simpson said finding a rat or mouse one in a car is “not only a nasty shock” but often the cause of “very unwelcome and expensive damage”.

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“Unfortunately, incidents like this are more common than drivers might expect, particularly over the winter months when animals look to take shelter from the cold conditions,” she said.

“To reduce the risk of animal damage, check your car if it hasn’t been driven for a week or more. The best advice is to make sure no food – for pets or humans – is left inside.

“Also check for unusual smells in the vehicle and be mindful of any dashboard warning lights that don’t disappear after a minute or two.”

Car insurance does cover animal damage, she added, but it is still a good idea to check before a claim to see if the damage justifies the expense.

Written by: Newsroom

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