SHERMAN, Tex. -- Some unwanted visitors are making their homes in people's cars. Rodents may see your vehicle as shelter from stormy weather.
When you lift up the hood of your car, it's pretty normal to see tubes and wires. But how about shingles and paintbrushes? Experts say those are remnants of rats making themselves at home.
"It was just a mess," Angela Tynan says, who had rats nest in her car.
When severe storms blew through western Grayson County, Tynan wanted her new Ford Fusion to be spared from softball-sized hail. She pulled her car into a shed for the night.
"The next morning I came to get my car out and when I drove it out, it was making a really weird noise."
She lifted the hood to find more than just belts and hoses.
"A huge nest where this rat had literally torn out all insulation, long twigs, there were acorns from wheel to wheel, paintbrushes, old shingles, leaves, you name it, it was all in the engine, and it managed to chew all the wires, and that's why the car wouldn't run."
Apparently, Angela isn't alone.
In the Blake Utter Ford service department, workers say they have seen at least one car every day for the past couple weeks with similar problems, more this year than in the past.
"I think we just run them out of the home. They're used to being in, so they're coming to look for a dry, warm place to sleep at night and while they're there they tend to want to build a nest out of the stuff that's under our cars hoods," service manager Steve Garner says.
Garner says usually the damage runs about a couple hundred dollars. Angela says the rodents did about $1,500 dollars worth of damage to her car, and she doesn't know if her insurance will cover it.
"It’s not a pile of junk. It's very wide open, and you wouldn't think just overnight a packrat could do that much damage."
Experts say this is more common if people live in the country than in urban areas.
As far as prevention goes, having an outdoor cat is one method or putting out traps as long as your pets do not eat the bait.