Furry freeloaders damage car engines

Last updated 12:00 11/07/2014

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A Dannevirke mechanic is advising car owners to check for signs of rats under the hood of their vehicles.

Craig Brown from Jon Telford Autos says finding rats in engine blocks is not uncommon but rodent sightings have ballooned this winter compared with previous years.

Rats were more common when cars were kept in carports or away from houses, he said, with the animals often using engines as a means to stay warm.

Brown said a late-model BMW X5 that came through the workshop was a classic example. "It had a large plastic engine cover, we lifted it up and there was a huge rats' nest under there."

The rodents were known to chew through engine wiring and hoses while looking for water or material for insulation, leading to a myriad of problems, Brown said.

"They can chew through coolant hoses; there's your motor gone if you're not watching your gauges," he said.

When asked what advice he had for car owners, Brown said they needed to look on the ground below their engines for telltale signs such as "little wee footprints in the dust" and rat droppings.

If either were found, he recommended laying rat bait beneath the car.

Horizons Regional Council environmental manager of biosecurity Bill Martyn said that under its Pest Management Strategy, rats were controlled by the council only when they were found in sites of significant natural heritage.

The council was reviewing its Pest Management Strategy this year, and public feedback would be sought.

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- Manawatu Standard

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