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RAV4 hosts feAst foR uninVited guests

BY RAY MAGLIOZZI
Dear Car Talk: I have a 2018
Toyota RAV4. Last weekend, I
bought a 20-pound bag of birdseed
for the feeders in my backyard. It
was a cold, rainy, miserable day, and
I decided to wait to bring it in the
house. A couple days later, I opened
the back door of the car and a hole
had been chewed in the bag, and
there were sunflower seed shells on
the floor. How on earth did the mice
(I’m assuming) get into the car? —
Julie

They may have already been using
your car as an extended stay
Marriott, Julie. They may have
been as surprised as anyone that
it suddenly turned into a bed and
breakfast. Mice are notorious for
seeking out warm places to sleep
(and perform other functions) and
for being able to squeeze into very
tight spaces. I wouldn’t be surprised
if they had already discovered
that your engine compartment
or ventilation system provided a
wonderful, dry place to sleep after
you got home at night.
It’s not hard at all for them to
get in there. They can climb up
your tires and get into the engine
compartment. From there, they can
make their way to the cowl at the

bottom of the windshield, where
fresh air comes into the passenger
compartment. There’s a plastic
grate in there, but mice are good at
squeezing through small openings.
Or chewing holes in things they
can’t squeeze through. From the
fresh air vent, it’s smooth sailing
to the air ducts and to the interior
of the car. My guess is that some
lucky mouse found the birdseed
and posted a picture on Twitter.
#Jackpot!
It’s a tough problem to solve. The
best solution is a well-sealed garage.
But I would suggest you clean out
the remaining food to discourage
them. You might also ask your
mechanic to check the grating
that protects the fresh air vent, in

case they damaged it. See if he can
find you a titanium replacement.
And look on the bright side, Julie.
Your car may be a mess. But you’re
responsible for one of the greatest
bonanzas in mouse history. It’s
the mouse equivalent of the First
Thanksgiving. Two hundred years
from now, mouse textbooks will
teach young mice about “Julie’s
RAV4 Miracle.”
***
Got a question about cars? Write
to Ray in care of King Features, 628
Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803,
or email by visiting the Car Talk
website at www.cartalk.com.
© 2021 by Ray Magliozzi and
Doug Berman Distributed by King
Features Syndicate, Inc.

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