A look under the bonnet cannot hurt in spring, because most marten damage is reported from April to July. How to protect yourself from marten damage to the car.
Martens are active all year round, but most active times are in spring and autumn. Rival fights take place during the mating season in spring, and martens look for sleeping and resting places in autumn. Warm engine rooms are popular hideaways.
Damage and consequences
With their bites in rubber and soft plastic parts, martens often cause considerable vehicle damage. These components are most commonly affected:
- Ignition cable
- Cooling water and windscreen washer fluid hoses
- Plastic hoses
- Bellows on drive shafts and on the steering
- Power lines and their insulation
- Insulating mats for noise and thermal insulation
Bitten ignition cables can lead to rough engine running. If the engine does not die anyway, we do not recommend that you continue driving without an exact diagnosis, as unburned fuel can damage the catalytic converter.
Damage to rubber sleeves are not immediately noticeable when driving. It is only through the subsequent penetration of dirt and water and through the loss of the grease that the drive and axle joints and possibly the steering parts are damaged. This can – especially in the latter case – lead to a hazard. Failure to quickly discover the damage can dramatically increase repair costs.
Perforated coolant hoses lead to a loss of coolant with the risk of engine overheating. Biting negative pressure hoses can lead to a loss of performance, if necessary the motor changes to the emergency operation program.
Cable protection, electric shock, ultrasound
But you can also spoil the rodents’ fun with your car. Electric shock devices, which distribute light electric shocks to the intruder based on the principle of a pasture fence, have proven effective. The installation of these devices with several hundred volts of voltage, but harmless currents, should be carefully considered and carried out properly and professionally.
Protective hoses made of hard plastic for sheathing the ignition cables are available in the automotive accessories trade. They should be laid and secured in such a way that they cannot get into moving or hot parts. However, they do not offer protection to the hoses and axle sleeves, which are also often bitten.
Ultrasound devices, in turn, are supposed to chase away martens with tones of constantly changing frequencies that humans cannot hear. Installation and connection are possible with few tools and can be completed within a few minutes.
Engine compartment seals against martens
Engine compartment bulkheads also offer good protection, preventing martens from getting to the cables and hoses. Some manufacturers offer the bulkheads as special equipment, for various models there are motor trays for retrofitting.
In addition, if marten infestation occurs, we recommend as a very first measure a professional engine wash, i.e. to have the engine compartment cleaned thoroughly. Because: The animals usually react very aggressively and with a particular bitterness to scent traces of their peers. In general, if possible, drivers should park their vehicles in the garage.
What the insurance pays for marten damage
Anyone who has partial or fully comprehensive insurance for their car is protected against the financial damage caused by marten bites. However, according to the insurance association, some tariffs only cover direct marten damage, so the insurance only pays for the damaged parts. Other tariffs also include consequential damage – the insurance company pays even if the ignition cables are torn down, leaky cooling hoses that overheat the engine or broken rubber sleeves cause damage to the drive or axle joints.