Having pests in your car is more than a simple annoyance, with an estimated 0.35 percent of crashes caused by distraction due to said pests, according to the Virginia Tech Transport Institute. That may seem small, but the fact that pests can cause crashes at all is concerning. Considering how dire this problem can become, it's in every motorist's best interests to keep their car pest-free, and not just because they're disgusting. Many regard keeping bugs away from your car as an essential part of car aesthetics. But given that crash statistic, however small, it would seem that it's an essential part of car safety as well.

Essential Pest-Proofing Car Care

Prevention is always better than cure, so make sure to observe some essential car care guidelines to ensure that you don't get pests in the first place. The first thing you want to look for are any points in the car that may serve as entrances to pests. They can slip through the smallest cracks and the tiniest holes, so make sure to plug those up.

What you put in your car is also a big factor in how likely it is for you to get an infestation. Try to refrain from eating or storing food in your car for long periods of time. Food is the main thing that attracts roaches and ants. Personal hygiene also factors into the equation. You're going to have to take care not to park anywhere that could be crawling with pests too. There's also the general rule that allowing cars to sit in one place too long can allow pests time to take hold. And of course, it's conventional wisdom that you should clean the interior thoroughly to discourage any pests from making it their new home.

Conducting Preventative Maintenance

Preventative care can only go so far. For best effects, they need to be paired with preventative maintenance. You have a wealth of options when it comes to natural pest repellants. For starters, there's the classic lemon and vinegar combo. Wipe this on your surfaces to irritate any pests that might land on them. You can also add some eucalyptus into the mixture to try to intensify the effect. If none of those are on hand, you can always buy citronella sprays or chemical-based bug sprays.

Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies, as these are where pests like to lay eggs. You may also want to consider enlisting the help of professionals to bug-proof your car. They'll know how best to make your car as unappealing to pests as possible without being too invasive. And if you have money to spare and really want to be sure, you can have your car fumigated to kill any pests that may have been lying undetected in the depths of your car's cabin. However this is a bit of a drastic measure, and may be best reserved for when you've actually confirmed the presence of pests in your car.

Getting Rid of Pests Once They Have Taken Hold

Once you have visual confirmation of pest presence, it's generally too late for any preventative maintenance. You first need to deep clean your car to remove anything that could be sustaining or sheltering the pets, as well as any pest too slow or too big to slip away. This includes giving your car a wash, since pests can also adhere to the exterior of the car. Then, you have to focus your efforts on applying as much pesticide as you can to kill anything that's still hiding. Make sure to close all doors and windows to let the pesticides take full effect, and air the cabin out a few hours before you need to use the car.

Alternatively, you can also lay traps if there aren't that many pests yet, or if they've gone into hiding and you want to lure them out. Some of the more popular ones include diatomaceous earth and laying sticky bait laced with pesticide. This can get messy, however, so only consider this if the pest problem is small enough that you don't have to consider more invasive treatments. Such invasive treatments include fumigation and freeze treatments, and are best left to professionals.

Dealing with pests comes with nuances that depend on what the pests are, what kind of car you have, your lifestyle, and many other factors. But as long as you follow the above principles, you'll be able to adapt to whatever pest situation you may find yourself in.