Skip to content

Using Steel Wool to Keep Rats and Mice Out of Your Car


Rodents, such as rats and mice, can cause significant damage to your car by chewing through wires, hoses, and insulation. Keeping them out can be challenging, especially during the colder months when they seek warmth and shelter. One effective solution to prevent these pesky creatures from invading your vehicle is using steel wool. In this article, we’ll explore why steel wool works and provide a step-by-step guide on how to use it, along with additional preventative measures and potential drawbacks.

Why Steel Wool Works

Material Composition

Steel wool is made from fine strands of steel, which are tightly packed together to form a dense, abrasive pad. This material is highly effective in keeping rodents away because they find it difficult to chew through the steel fibres. The tough structure and sharp edges discourage rats and mice from trying to gnaw their way into your car, providing a physical barrier against intrusion.

Steel Wool used to Keep Rats and Mice Out of Your Car

The abrasive nature of steel wool also contributes to its effectiveness. As rodents attempt to chew through the steel fibres, they’ll quickly become uncomfortable and discouraged due to the sharp edges and resistance they encounter. This will prompt them to seek an easier target elsewhere, leaving your vehicle safe from damage.

Steps to Protect Your Car

Identify Entry Points

Before applying steel wool, it’s essential to identify potential entry points where rodents might gain access to your car. Common areas include gaps around wiring, hoses, and vents. Inspect your vehicle thoroughly to locate any vulnerable spots that need reinforcement.

Clean the Car

Remove any food, crumbs, or other attractants from your car, as these may entice rodents to investigate further. Be sure to clean the interior and exterior, including the trunk, engine compartment, and areas beneath the seats.

Apply Steel Wool

Once you’ve identified entry points and cleaned your car, you can begin applying steel wool to the vulnerable areas. Stuff the steel wool tightly into the gaps, ensuring that it is packed densely enough to deter rodents but not so much that it restricts airflow or affects the function of any components. Use gloves to protect your hands from the steel wool’s abrasive nature.

Regular Maintenance

Check the steel wool barriers regularly to ensure they remain intact and replace any that have been disturbed or show signs of wear. This maintenance will help keep your vehicle protected from rodents over time.

Additional Preventative Measures

Use Repellents

There are various rodent repellents available, such as sprays or ultrasonic devices, that can be used alongside steel wool to provide additional protection. These products work by either producing smells that rodents find unpleasant or emitting sounds that deter them from approaching. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and reapply or replace the repellents as needed.

Remove Food Sources

Rats and mice are attracted to areas with readily available food sources. To reduce the likelihood of rodent infestations, keep your garage and surrounding areas clean and free of food debris. Store pet food, birdseed, and other potential attractants in sealed containers and regularly clean up any spills or crumbs.

Pet food is a big attractant for rats and mice

Seal Your Garage

In addition to protecting your car, it’s essential to minimize rodent access to your garage. Seal any gaps or cracks in the walls, doors, and windows with caulk, weatherstripping, or other appropriate materials. This will not only prevent rodents from entering but also reduce drafts and improve energy efficiency.

Potential Drawbacks

Possible Rusting

One potential drawback of using steel wool is the possibility of rusting. Steel wool can retain moisture, which may cause it to rust over time. This rust can spread to other components in your car and cause damage. To minimize the risk of rusting, consider using stainless steel wool or placing a moisture-absorbing material like silica gel near the steel wool.

Allergic Reactions

Some individuals may be allergic to steel wool or the chemicals used to produce it. If you experience an allergic reaction while handling steel wool, discontinue use and consult a medical professional. Always wear gloves when handling steel wool to minimize the risk of an allergic reaction or irritation.


Using steel wool to keep rats and mice out of your car is a practical and effective method for protecting your vehicle from costly damage caused by rodents. By identifying entry points, cleaning your car, applying steel wool, and performing regular maintenance, you can keep these pesky creatures at bay. In addition to steel wool, consider implementing additional preventative measures, such as repellents, removing food sources, and sealing your garage. Be aware of potential drawbacks, like rusting and allergic reactions, and take appropriate precautions to minimize risks. With these steps, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your car is protected from rodent invasions.


Q1: Can I use regular steel wool or should I use a specific type for this purpose?

A1: Regular steel wool can be used effectively for keeping rodents out of your car. However, stainless steel wool may be a better option to prevent rusting and potential damage to your vehicle’s components.

Q2: How often should I check and replace the steel wool barriers?

A2: It’s a good idea to check your steel wool barriers at least once a month or more frequently during peak rodent activity periods, like the colder months. Replace any worn or disturbed steel wool as needed.

Q3: Are there any alternatives to steel wool for keeping rodents out of my car?

A3: Some alternatives to steel wool include copper mesh, expanding foam, and metal flashing. Each of these materials can provide a physical barrier to prevent rodent entry, but their effectiveness may vary depending on the specific situation.

Can of expanding foam for rodent exclusion

Q4: Can I use steel wool to keep rodents out of other areas, like my home or garden?

A4: Yes, steel wool can be an effective deterrent against rodents in various areas, including homes and gardens. Be sure to identify potential entry points and apply steel wool as needed, following the same principles outlined in this article for protecting your car.

Q5: Is it safe to use rodent repellents in my car?

A5: Many rodent repellents are safe to use in your car, but always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and safety precautions. Some repellents may have strong odours or emit sounds that could be bothersome to some people, so consider this when choosing a repellent for your vehicle.