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How to Prevent Rats from Damaging Your RV

Rats do not make good house guests and can cause extensive damage to your RV

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How to Prevent Rodents from Damaging Your RV

By Kristiana Kripena

When RV owners put their campers into storage to await the adventures of next spring. Rats are all too eager to take advantage of this situation, and will readily move into unattended RVs to enjoy the shelter (and often, food) that campers provide.

Unfortunately, rodents do not make good house guests and can cause extensive damage to your RV. Besides chewing through your furniture, rats can also destroy wires, brake cables and gas lines in the engine compartment of your RV. The resultant damage can make your camper dangerous to drive, or at least will be expensive and time-consuming to put right. The good news is that preventing rats from damaging your RV needn’t be stressful or difficult – all you need to do is implement a few control measures to stop them from getting in.

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How can rats damage your RV?

Rats can damage your engine

The dark, enclosed space of your RV’s engine compartment is an ideal nesting site for rats and, therefore, is very inviting to rodents. However, rats are incredibly destructive in engine compartments and can cause extensive damage that could render your camper undrivable.

Rats chew through everything in sight, including the wires in your RV’s engine. This can lead to electrical faults and breakdowns, but this is by no means the worst these rodents can do. If they get to the gas lines and brake cables of your RV, the damage done by their sharp teeth can be downright dangerous. What’s more, the debris and food scraps rats use to adorn their nests can interfere with the mechanics of your RVs engines, causing technical faults. Even worse, the nesting material left behind by rats can present a fire hazard when the engine heats up during driving.

Rats can damage your furniture

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Campers and RVs provide ample shelter, are often stored in one place for long periods of time and usually contain food supplies. In short, they’re a rodent’s paradise and you’ll have to work hard to keep them out. If rats get into your RV this winter, you can expect to come home to some significant damage come spring. Rats will chew through upholstery, books, clothing and anything else you leave behind in their in their quest for nesting material. This not only makes a mess but can also ruin furnishings, which can be expensive to replace. 

Rats have a nasty odor

Rats have a distinctive odor that can seriously stink up your RV. Rodents urinate and defecate constantly, and, over a period of a few months, that can mean lots of droppings. The sour, musty odor of rats can be persistent, especially in the enclosed space of your RV, and can take some time to shift even after you’ve gotten rid of the rodents. Bad smells aside, rat urine and droppings harbor diseases that can be transmitted to humans, especially if they come into contact with cooking utensils or food preparation areas.

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How can you stop rats from damaging your RV? 

How to Prevent Rats from Damaging Your RV

Leave the hood down

It may seem like a no-brainer, but keeping the hood of your engine down can stop rats from moving into the engine compartment of your RV. This is especially important if you park in shady areas near tall grass or shrubbery, as these are common harborage spots for rats.

Block off entry points

Inspect your RV minutely for potential entry points before putting it into winter storage. Pay close attention to the gaps around the front wheel arches, as this is a common entry point to the engine compartment. Block off all holes, cracks and gaps (no matter how small) with wire mesh to keep rats out.

Set up traps

As an added preventative measure against rats, consider setting up traps in and around your RV, especially if you know there are rats in the nearby vicinity. Place traps near the wheel arches outside your camper, and in inside areas with high levels of possible rat activity (i.e. in cupboards and behind furniture, especially near food preparation areas).

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Make your RV as uninviting as possible

Besides shelter, rats usually come indoors in search of food and water. Remove all food supplies and moisture sites in your RV before locking it up for the winter to avoid tempting them in.


Keeping rats out of your RV is essential for keeping your camper in full working condition for when you next need it. Rodents can cause serious damage to furniture, wires and brake cables with their chewing habits, the result of which can be very expensive to fix. In the event that rats get into the engine compartment of your RV, their activities can harm the functionality of your engine and brakes, which can present a serious hazard.

Blocking off entry points, placing traps and removing food and water sources are all effective ways to prevent rat damage to your RV this winter.

About The Author

Kristiana Kripena is the Digital and Content Marketing Director for InsectCop.net, an insect and pest control advice blog that covers everything from how to get rid of rodents to preventing mosquito bites. 

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