With many motorists working from home, just as many cars are sitting idle in carparks. Most drivers now only clock a fraction of their usual mileage.
When your car sits idle for days, does that increase the risk of animals or insects nesting in your vehicle?
POSSIBLE, BUT UNLIKELY
The engine bay in most cars is never totally sealed. Hence infiltration by animals is possible, although this is unlikely in Singapore.
Stray cats have been known to enter the engine compartment from underneath the car. While they usually just sleep on the warm tarmac under the car, they may climb into the engine compartment during heavy rain.
Sometimes, the space between the muffler and underbody could be sufficient, but they could also squeeze through gaps and enter the engine bay. Besides the risk of starting up your car while a cat is still snoozing inside (possibly with messy results), the felines pose no threat to the car.
Most times, banging on the bonnet will frighten them away. If you have not been using your vehicle for some time, this might be a good idea before you start it up.
RODENTS CAN POSE A BIGGER PROBLEM
Rats are a different matter. While rodents also search for shelter and room to rest, they have a nasty habit of chewing on plastics and rubber.
There are plenty of parts in a car rats could nibble on and the last thing you want is the insulation on wires being stripped away or, worse, wires that are severed.
Some serious electrical malfunction could result from rat infiltration. Sometimes, the damage may not be easy to locate.
Rats could also breed in the engine compartment. So you might end up with several rats, some small enough to enter fresh air vents or the air intake duct.
And rats are not easily flushed out by noise. On the contrary, they may go deeper into recesses when there is a disturbance.
If you are unsure, keep the bonnet open when you start the car and let it idle for a while. The noise, vibration and heat will hopefully scare away refugees.
But as always, it is best to start your car up at least once every few days. Not only will this minimise the chance of animal infiltration, but it will also prevent the battery from draining dry.
COVID-19: Things drivers need in their cars now
Tyre maintenance during the circuit-breaker period
6 ways drivers can improve themselves during the circuit-breaker
Is your car servicing overdue? Here’s what you should know