How do I keep critters out of my truck's ventilation system?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

Having recently moved from Australia to Maine, I find myself with a car
problem. I'm living in the wilds of western Maine, where the trees are
abundant, and so are the squirrels, chipmunks, etc. What I'd like to know
is how to keep these critters out of the ventilation system of my truck.
Last time we turned on the fan, we had gruesome noises, smoke and flames,
to say nothing of a truly horrible smell. What do you suggest? -- Tig

TOM: Well, since you live in the wilds of Maine where the trees are
abundant, I suggest you cut some of them down and build yourself a nice

RAY: That's not a bad idea. But even with a garage, those critters do get
around. I'd suggest using some old-fashioned hardware cloth. Hardware cloth
is that thick, wire mesh screen with 1/4- or 1/2-inch holes.

TOM: On a truck -- or any similarly barbaric vehicle -- you should be able
to remove the windshield-wiper arms, take off the cowl (located just below
where the windshield meets the hood), and get access to the ventilation
intake. That's where the air, and in your case, the chipmunks, come in. And
if you replace the chewed-up screen (or missing screen) that's there with
good, strong hardware cloth, that should keep the wildlife out of your
heating ducts.

RAY: Be warned, though, that if you do that, they're just going to look for
other places to go to keep warm. And first on their list is probably your
air cleaner. So I'd suggest covering the air intake with hardware cloth as
well. Good luck, Tig.

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