Hard to eliminate rodent odours
QUESTION: My dad has a 1992 Dodge Dakota. He suspects he has a mouse that has been chewed up in his truck blower unit, which is now causing quite a stench. He is having a repair shop take the blower unit apart to confirm a dead animal in the unit and clean it out.
In one of your articles, you wrote how to reduce the odour in the blower unit from mould buildup. Is there anything you might suggest that would work to remove the smell of the dead animal? Thanks in advance for your help.
ANSWER: I have restored many old cars and getting the mouse smell out of a vehicle can be very difficult, even after all the physical remains and nest are removed. A lot of the smell comes from the urine, so washing the affected areas with soap and water will help but often doesn’t always eliminate the smell. Park the vehicle in the sun for a while with the windows closed and you may not want to climb into the vehicle again. The reason for the continued smell is rubber, plastic and sealer products in the vehicle absorb the odour.
The worst I have seen was an old car that had been parked in a grain-storage building for several years and several mice families had made it their home. The interior looked perfect but you couldn’t stand to get into the vehicle. I completely removed the interior and all dash components, steam cleaned the complete inside of the body and it still had a smell. Even after leaving a deodorizer in the car for several days, I eventually had to remove all the body seam sealers in the interior to get rid of the smell. Fortunately, your vehicle will likely not be as difficult.
As I mentioned earlier, remove all physical evidence of the mice and wash the affected areas with soap and water. Then spray them with a household disinfectant. Then I would place an odourabsorbing product in the vehicle to get rid of the remaining smell. One of the better ones I have used is Nilodor. It isn’t always easy to find in Canada but I have seen it in Safeway stores. Use only a couple drops. The slight minty smell of Nilodor will disappear as it absorbs the unwanted smell. I have used it to get rid of beer, vomit and spoiled milk odours with great success, but be careful not to use too much. It is better to add another couple drops after a few days if necessary rather than use too much initially.
There are many other chemicals and methods of removing smell, such as ozone generators or placing activated charcoal in the vehicle. You can also turn to disaster recovery specialists, as many of the same processes are used when homes are damaged by smoke, fire or flood. I hope this helps you get rid of your problem.
QUESTION: I have a Pontiac G6 and am having problems with the driver’s door power window. The window opens fine but when I go to close it, the window will go part way up and then return to the down position. Sometimes it will close completely. I am afraid it will stay down all the time so I don’t use it, but this is inconvenient. What do I need to do to fix the problem?
ANSWER: The window is operating in “pinch protection” mode. If the window senses too much resistance when going up, it will reverse direction. This is to protect small children so they cannot get trapped by a closed window. Many newer vehicles have this built in on windows, sunroofs and power rear hatches.
In your situation, the window is likely binding in the track so there is added resistance to it closing. Usually the window and door tracks can be adjusted so the window will close properly, although occasionally the window-regulator mechanism needs to be replaced because the lift-assist spring is weak. I would remove the interior door panel and adjust the window tracks first, which any body or mechanical repair shop is capable of doing if you don’t want to try it yourself. Jim Kerr is a mechanic, instructor of automotive technology, freelance journalist and member of the Automobile Journalists’ Association of Canada.