Hard to elim­i­nate ro­dent odours

Winnipeg Free Press - Section F - - AUTOS - JyM KERR

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.

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