Breakdowns soar as wire-hungry rodents target car components at record level

 Published 29th January 2024
Company Fleet  General Guides 

Ravenous rats are devouring expensive electronics in modern vehicles at a record rate and leaving stranded small business owners facing a plague of unexpected bills, new figures reveal.

It is no longer the ‘rats in my kitchen’ made famous by UB40 that drivers need to worry about, but rodents in the garage, along with mice, squirrels, foxes and even the odd snake, the RAC reports.

Latest figures seen by Gateway2Lease suggest their need for gnawing left hundreds of drivers stranded last year, with a 55% increase in bite-based breakdowns since 2018 as furry car consumers targeted wiring along with safety critical components including brake hoses.

The RAC warns that vehicles left standing and unattended for long periods are most at risk, particularly during cold weather, as engine bays offer attractive nesting sites.

Any food left inside or near a vehicle can also turn a car into a café for hungry visitors including mice, who also have a particular fondness for peanut and soy-based oils and waxes used on some injector wires and insulation.

rac breakdown jobs caused by animal damage

Alice Simpson from RAC Breakdown 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. Any foodstuff in garages should be kept in airtight containers or locked in metal bins. “Car insurance does cover animal damage, but it’s worth checking before you claim to see if it justifies the expense.”

The advice comes amid warnings of a substantial rise in insurance premiums facing SMEs, with a 10% increase expected on top of rises of around 25% in 2023.

Increases are due to higher inflation, but also higher claims frequency that has led to the insurance industry suffering substantial losses.

Experts at consultancy EY, said: “The culmination of high inflation, growing material and labour costs, supply chain issues, pricing reforms, and changing driving habits post-pandemic has resulted in the sector recording consecutive years of losses – with 2023 recording the highest loss in over a decade.”

View our latest blog posts