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More on the Mice in my Honda Pilot

Pete Brown - 13 January 2011

I've had an ongoing battle with mice in my Honda Pilot. It's not that the car is filthy inside (although any little crumb will be enough to keep a mouse happy), it's that I live in the woods with no garage and the car is a nice shelter. Also, since I telecommute and Melissa's Odyssey is the family car, my car often sits a week at a time with no movement. For the most part, the mice we have here are the fat bug-eyed field/wood mice, not the little gray house mice.

While it's next to impossible for me to cover the entrance holes in the car (the Pilot has some design flaws that make that difficult), I could at least tape over the chew holes in the firewall using furnace tape, and cover the entrance into the blower they use for nesting.

Once I removed the glove compartment and pulled out the cabin filter, this is what I saw:


The first picture shows the filter compartment. The AC coil is in there on the left side, the filter is place through the opening in the middle. The blower is attached to the right.

So, I lucked out and didn't have a full nest in the blower this time. While you can't see it in the third picture, unfortunately the mice did chew the fan blades a little. I was afraid that would contribute to a lot of fan noise, but so far, it has been as quiet (or noisy) as usual.

The next step was to cut some metal gutter guard and epoxy it over the opening that is used to recirculate air inside the car. You must use metal, and it must have openings no larger than about 1/2" square. Any larger and smaller mice will get in. If plastic, it will just be chewed through.


So far, so good. I haven't had any mice in the car since I put that metal in place. Part of that is likely due to the fox in the woods helping to thin the population, as well as due to hibernation during the coldest part of winter. I don't expect to continue that stream of luck, but at least in the future I won't have to remove my glove compartment and disassemble the blower motor each time they get in.

I also keep mouse traps in my car (potential theft deterrent as well <g>) to help deal with them when they do get in.

You can find solutions (and problem descriptions) from other Pilot owners (and me) in this thread on Piloteers.org.

posted by Pete Brown on Thursday, January 13, 2011
filed under:    

13 comments for “More on the Mice in my Honda Pilot”

  1. Jonathansays:
    I had the same problem with my 07 Camry in 08. It was brand new and stinking, and in my garage each night. My neigbor, who had lots of mice, plugged in one of those sonic rodent deterent things in his garage, and the mice quickly moved to mine. The mice made a nest with the insulation from the firewall in one night. I'm pretty sure my mice came in though the engine somewhere, I didn't see any holes in the firewall.
  2. Dave Williamsonsays:
    Wow. Your situation is way beyond acceptable. Its time to go chemical. When the weather warms up enough to drive (i.e. windows down) place 2 or 3 moth balls in every crevice you suspect the mice are taking up residence (entries and nests). Keep the car closed up except when humans are in it. Replace the moth balls every 7 days. At some point the mice will not only give up trying to stay in the car (or re-enter) but they will pass this information along to the greater mice community.
  3. Joe Suchysays:
    I agree with Dave on the moth balls, but it may be easier if you put them around where you normally park your car. I also think you don't have to replace them quite as often, but inside the car would give you a headache everytime you drove. If the moth balls a spread out like a mine field where you car is parked, I think the mice will not enter the area.
  4. Richardsays:
    If mice get in the one could have a case for Hunta Virus against Honda. We may need to contact an attorney as a class action agains Honda. That might get their attention.
  5. petersays:
    Thanks for the pics. Perhaps my experience will assist some in completely avoiding having mice enter their Pilot. I have a 2006 Pilot and I found all the usual indicia of mice: droppings on the car floor, shredded items in glove box, and a fluttering noise when the blower was on high. I believe the mice were primarily living under the engine cover since that's where most of the droppings were but they certainly made their way into the cabin as well. In any event, my blower and cabin air filter looked like yours. However, rather than put wire mesh over the blower openings as you did, which while preventing entry into the car does not prevent entry into the blower housing unit, I put some wire mesh over the fresh air intake, which required that I remove the passenger-side cowl cover located under the front hood at the base of and just in front of the windshield. Using a small mirror, I located the fresh air intake opening behind a piece of thin metal that extends the width of the car under the cowl. However, the fresh air intake was totally inaccessible. To gain better access, I cut off some of the sheet metal (around a 3x10 inch piece, it was thin sheet metal and easy to cut albeit with a bit of an access problem). Because the piece of metal runs the width of the car and because I only cut a relatively small portion of it out, its rigidity was totally intact even after I cut it some of it out. I was then able to reach the fresh air intake and fabricated a chicken-wire mesh cover that I attached using metal foil tape. Had I done a better job cutting the metal piece out I would have taped it back in place. Instead I used some of the metal foil tape (which is rigid, and more so if two layers are used) to recreate the effect that the metal sheet had in case it had a purpose (which, given the layout, I do not think it did). I know it sounds as if it might look bad but it actually looks ok and in any event all of this is completely under the cowl and totally blocked from view. I am hopeful that by covering the fresh air intake with wire mesh mice will be denied entry into the blower and the cabin.
  6. petersays:
    It's two weeks later and I suspect that the mouse had been living in the car the whole time. After discovering some more evidence of a mouse, I discovered it had taken up residence between the headliner and the roof, a place I had not thought to look before. Anyway, a trap left overhight caught it and now I am hopeful that with the air intake being covered by a wire mesh that none can get in.
  7. Jonsays:
    This post got me right where I needed to go. Two videos were helpful, by the way.

    This video got me into the cabin filter area easily: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWUy2w5_BEY
    But removing the screws under the blower were more challenging. I think it was only three screws and unclip and unplug the power in order to drop the blower so I could clean it.

    I've had a problem for years with the rear blower not blowing very hard at all. This video is about changing something that I didn't need to change. But at least it got me to the screen that was all covered in dirt and grime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJGsQAhC224

    Thanks again for your post here.
  8. Charlessays:
    Hi, i read your post about putting the mesh over the air intake under the cowel on your honda. That was a few years ago. I am doing the same thing and am wondering if that kept the mice out of the cabin? Was it a success? Thanks!
  9. Robert Hennesseysays:
    I've apent thousands on removal of annual mice infestation and damage. The most recent being my fuel line being chewed through. I have a 2004 Pilot, I keep it garaged, I plac mouse traps throughout (always catch some, others take up reidence within the ventilation system). I've placed moth balls, dryer sheets, without success). Plus, the car stinks! I would love to have Honda retrofit the behicle with a barrier of some sort. I'd like my local mechanic to fashion something similar to what's mentioned here. Misery loves company. Not.
  10. Kemleysays:
    Thanks for this post!! This is so frustrating for so many people that I just cannot see why car manufacturers don't automatically install this type of metal screening except for the fact that they must make a killing off of rodent damage repairs - sigh. I actually contacted Subaru recently after I found evidence of mice in my almost new Impreza (no food inside, so no reason they should have found their way into the cabin) and Subaru refused to address this saying that if I even took it elsewhere and had that screening installed, I would void the warranty as it would be "altering the design of the car." I beg to differ as that screening is not going to limit the airflow that badly. When I removed my glove box that huge opening isn't that easily reached and I'm not skilled enough to remove the windshield cowling, so I'm hoping to find a local mechanic willing to help me install the screening and maybe Subaru won't notice next time I'm in for some other repair. There should NOT be holes large enough for any critter short of an ant to get into our interiors!
  11. Davidsays:
    Thanks for the post. I have an 05 Pilot I bought used a few years ago and was able to use the info to find the mouse that I'm pretty sure I heard get killed by the blower blades a few day ago. There was a sound like something caught in the fan so I cranked up the motor, there was a loud thud, then no more noise. A few days later the stink, then a search online for info, and after removing the glove box and filter, there it was, maggots and all! I 'm pretty sure I've figured out why Pilots attract mice, they must love LEMONS, cause mine has sure been one! One mechanical headache after another, plus, I was almost killed a couple times by the VSA malfunction which would cause it to brake suddenly at any speed, which they finally recalled in '14, 9 years later! Others weren't so lucky and DID die before it was finally recalled. It is the only Honda I've owned that was clearly a ripoff. A piece of junk. The worst of it is I can't just sell it down the road, because I couldn't do that to anyone else. Not even an enemy, if I had one. Otherwise, would have dumped it long ago.
  12. Petesays:
    I still have my '05 pilot. I work from home, so it's only taken out once a week or so.

    And yes, I still get tons of mice. We have snap traps in the passenger seat area, but that only works if I remember to reset them after a drive (they fall over and go off, or I need to move them so a passenger can actually get in).

    I've had my glove box off for years.

    And, of course, just the other day, I heard the dreaded "thumpthumpthumpthump" which means I have another dead mouse to remove from the blower fan assembly. It's 20 degrees out, so that's not happening any time soon. Yes, of course, there are little mouse turds in the car. I had to drive home the other day without any heat (except the seat -- glad that's there at least) or defroster (so windows were open) due to the mouse being in the fan. Sucks.

    There's no food in the car. That's not why they're there. They're just looking for shelter and the car is a bit warmer than the temperature outside.

    They are getting into the fan assembly through air intakes on the outside, presumably. The hardware cloth over the recirculator doesn't stop that. Although had I remembered to always switch it to the internal circulation, it might have blocked their access to the blower.

    The mice will never go away from the car. Something about the Pilot makes it especially easy for them to get in. Lots of reports on the net about this. I barely drive (there's only 70k or so miles on this 11 year old car) but I suspect I'll just finally dump it and get something else later this year. The mouse thing is not only disgusting, it's just really irritating.

  13. Petesays:
    BTW, once mice get in your car and mark their territory, it's basically game over. If you have mice around, they'll all be attracted to it and come back, even if the car is otherwise as sterile as an operating room.


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