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The Mouse House in my Car – or Perils of Telecommuting

Pete Brown - 28 April 2009

Two weeks back, on the way to speak at the .NET Valley user group up in Wilkes-Barre, PA (on Silverlight 3, of course), I realized I had an uninvited guest, or at least what was left of their home, in my 2005 Honda Pilot.

(As an aside, the user group up there was just great. Jason is a great lead, It was an absolutely beautiful night, and if I could have projected the content up against a wall outside I would have.)

Anyway, my AC/defroster and general air in the front of the car hadn’t been working for a week or two. Air in the center console was working and I had erroneously assumed that one fan served them all. I just figured it was just some leaf litter blocking a duct or something. It wasn’t a huge deal because I don’t drive my pilot much; we take the new Odyssey when we do family things, and I work from home a good chunk of the time.

However, on the way up to PA (a 3-4 hour drive) a pile of mouse nesting material blew out from under the dashboard on the passenger side. Also, when I went to get a napkin from the glove compartment, I realized it had been chewed through.

That weekend, I decided to dismantle the dash and clean it all out. The process was a bit more involved than it needed to be, but interesting never-the-less. I had to remove the glove compartment and a cross-bar, then unbolt the fan housing. I also had to clean out the AC and filter housing and replace the filter. Finally, I gave it all a good dose of lysol and let it run for a few.

He you can see the fan housing. The mouse presumably got in through the grill that is used to recirculate air in the car.


Here’s the blower/fan with the mouse nest in it, and then with it removed. You can see that it was pretty packed.

image image

And here’s the AC/filter housing with some nesting material blown in, as well as the filter I had to replace. BTW, who the heck came up with the idea of putting the filter in a location that requires the removal of the entire glove compartment as well as a metal bar before you can replace it?

image image

Oh, and the little guy (or another one) chewed through the firewall under my hood. Luckily all the wires I can see seem to be fine.


Here’s a diagram of the blower housing, marked up below. I can’t guarantee the mouse got in where I think he did (could also have been with a loose-fitting cowling up top), but he definitely went in and out of that grill to get into the glove compartment and into other areas of the interior of the car.


So it’s all cleaned out. Turns out this is a fairly common  problem with the Pilot. I’m likely going to epoxy some metal screen over the recirculation vent on the inside in the hopes of preventing this from happening again. On the plus side, if it does happen again, I know exactly how to clean everything out.

This thread on Easier DIY Cabin Air Filter Replacement helped me out a ton.

posted by Pete Brown on Tuesday, April 28, 2009
filed under:    

7 comments for “The Mouse House in my Car – or Perils of Telecommuting”

  1. Scott Marlowesays:
    I had a similar problem, though in my case the mouse had made a nest in our BBQ. She and her babies were still present when I (and my 3 dogs) discovered the nest. No, I didn't turn the flame on. That would have been messy/cruel. Suffice to say it was taken care of.
  2. Petesays:
    FWIW, I have had a TON of mice since this original post. Turns out this is not an uncommon problem with the Pilot. Here's a good thread on the topic:

  3. Petesays:

    Lots of lysol, and the plastic parts that could be removed were bleached. Surfaces were all washed and disinfected.That said, there's no doubt my car still smells a bit like a barn. No amount of evergreen air fresheners will help that. Plus, stuff that gets into the piping can't be helped, even spraying lysol into a running fan didn't get rid of it all.
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