I have a 2003 Subaru Legacy sedan. My check engine light just popped on this afternoon driving home from work. I got it home and popped open the hood - only to see a small mouse crawl out from my air filter tube. We both scared each other but he ran away to another unknown place in the engine. I noticed the black covering on the inside of my hood has a large section gnawed off. And when I shined a flashlight down into the air filter tube I saw a bunch of debris which I tried to scoop out. I crammed some steel wool to keep him from going back in there at least for the night (I'll take it out in the morning before I go to work) and I've got an appointment with my mechanic tomorrow -- hopefully the little bugger hasn't done too much damage with the wires or anything. I don't think the mouse has been inside my car - no signs of any droppings or "stolen" or gnawed items. Has anyone had any experience with this issue? Any ideas on how to keep them from getting back in permanently? I've read about maybe putting mesh covers over some areas - which areas does that work best for? I live in a wooded area and don't have a garage, and it's a pretty cold winter right now, so I'm sure the mice are just looking for a nice warm spot and will probably move right back in if I don't permanently fix the situation. Thanks for any ideas!
I just noticed this post, but see that you should have seen your mechanic over a week ago. Good luck with your mouse motel. We, too, live in a wooded area and have seen mouse nests under the hoods of our cars. A few years ago my wife saw the check engine light go on in the Outback Sport she had then. A mouse had chewed pretty badly on a wiring harness. I know you don't want to hear this but she was without her car for a month, waiting for a new harness to come in from Japan, then for the correct harness to come in from Japan, then to have it installed.
We tried scattering moth balls under the car parking areas, but that didn't stop the mice (though we didn't notice any moth activity ;-] ). About the only thing that seemed to directly address the problem was mouse traps, using peanut butter for bait. We caught lots of mice and haven't yet had another wiring damage problem. (I did say "yet"). You're going to need to check the engine compartment frequently. We dismantled a lot of nests in there, and even noticed a few acorns rolling around inside the hood itself.