A soldier on deployment finds his Mustang Boss 302 race car under rodent assault


In July 2011, I returned from overseas tour with the Army to purchase my dream car, a 2012 Boss 302 Mustang. The car was an homage to the famous 1969 and 1970 Trans Am racers of the same name, powerful and capable road-course pony cars. Just the image of them conjured the heyday of muscle cars battling door to door through clouds of tire smoke and leaded gasoline.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/15/mice-infest-boss-302-mustang


So Mr Hagerty…any suggestions on preventing this for others that store classic vehicles?


I have a '66 Mustang GT coupe and for years had stored it in my pole barn in the winter. I used a Tracy vehicle bag.
It stopped rodents cold! Was one of the best investments I’ve made for preserving the car’s interior. Before getting one, mice got into and nested in the headliner. Same usual result. Was a little skeptical about the strength of a plastic bag but it is a stout product. Check out the link above, I swear by them. Mustang


Be grateful that there are people willing to sacrifice in service while mice like you sit behind a keyboard.


hi Hagery , how about starting a go fund me for this combat veteran .? i would contribute as i am sure some others would to help out this soldier.


Thanks for your service to the author!!


I would imagine that, in a situation like that, the entire soft parts of the interior will need to be removed and scraped (the dash may even need to be removed and everything behind it checked and cleaned. What metal and plastic left inside the interior will need to be cleaned with microban, if not bleach. Maybe a wrecked Mustang could give up it’s interior? Anything special “Boss” only interior pieces will have to be sourced, from someplace. Hopefully there will be no or little wiring damage. Sounds expensive and an undeserved lesson to have to learn. At any rate, thank you for your service and hopefully times with your Mustang will get better soon!


The owner of this near-new Buick GNX stored it in a self-serve storage facility. Unfortunately, he storage unit next door was a candy distributor.


I sympathize with your rodent plight. I live in the coastal hills of California and am constantly fighting with the mice and rats who seem to feel that the fact they lived here before me gives them free reign. I have several cars, classic and drivers, so they can’t all go in the garage.

Over the past few years I have had to replace the wiring harness on my wife’s 6 month old Jaguar F-Pace, and drop the engine and tranny on my Porsche Carrera due to rodent issues. On the jag I learned that many (if not all) newer cars use a soy bean material to insulate the wires instead of plastic…the rodents love it! I have tried everything; traps, poison(kills them just fine, but then they hide and you get to smell them for 6 months), sonic devices (they like those wires too), dryer sheets, “rodent proof” sprays, etc, etc. I have yet to find a solution other than keeping the cars insured, and hoping the insurance companies don’t get tired of spending 5-7K a pop on repairs!

I know that doesn’t necessarily apply to your storage issue, but I throw it out there in case some other reader does have a solution to protecting soy bean wired driver cars…now as for your storage issue, I have a solution!

I had the same problem with my classic cars that you experiences. Fortunately the rodents don’t seem to find the wiring quite as appetizing on a 74 Jaguar E-Type and they did on the 2017 Jag, but the destruction to carpet, insulation, rubber hoses etc is just as maddening. Obviously all the standard fixes mentioned above are equally ineffective on a classic as on a driver, however the fact that you don’t drive it as often allows for the only true solution; encapsulating it.

I am now the very happy owner of several inflatable car covers. I am using Carcoon and CarCapsule, both the Indoor and outdoor versions. The Carcoon is around $1500 for and outside version, and the CarCapsule is about $800. The only real difference is that the Carcoon is double walled, which they claim will protect the contents better from extreme weather. Not too much of that here in California, so I have not noticed any difference between the two and would likely buy the cheaper CarCapsule were I to need another (which is always a possibility). I can’t recommend these things enough! As long as you don’t pull the car out every weekend it takes 15 minutes to get the car in or out), they are the ultimate storage solution. The constant air flow is said to keep moisture from forming regardless of your climate, so they should also prevent rust/corrosion.

Anyway, you might try this on your next deployment, and thank you for your service!


sorry to here about the rodent destruction to your Boss, I had the same thing happen to my 66 Charger years ago when I stored by a friend and thought it would be safe, low and behold all the traps, dryer sheets, and other anti-rodent deterrents I used could not keep a few mice, from finding a great spot to over winter. hard lesson learned, the next year I was ready, along with my car cover I also put car into car-jacket, the car is totally enclosed zipped up like a sleeping bag, that took care of the problem,


You could try an ozone generator to get rid of the smell.I have one, and it will remove almost any smell from a car that I have used it on, including mouse urine. Get one specifically for odor removal, and DON’T breath it!


We use cats, obtained from the local shelter. They are feral, not house cats - the shelter calls them “working cats”. The program is pretty popular as I had a tough time rounding up cats this last time around. Mel is in one barn, Elyse is in another. Works like a charm, we have using the cat deterrent method for twenty years.


I store my cars in a secure building (you are asking for trouble in a pole barn). I have always used moth balls in the trunk, interior, and engine compartment, and I routinely scatter mouse bait (poison) throughout the building. So far no problems, other than the occasional dead rodent found on the floor. I store the more expensive cars 6 feet high on a lift.


I’m hoping that when you get the car back together, that you move your insurance from Hagerty to Grundy, or Heacock, or anyone else! And I’d make sure the Hagerty agent that gave you that bad advice about the coverage gets a real talking to… I can recommend a Heacock policy called STP—Storage, Towing, and Paddock, which I’ve had on my race car for more than ten years…


First, whenever a car is going to be stored for any length of time, may sure you ALWAYS have comprehensive coverage on the vehicle. It will protect from fire, theft, vandalism and perhaps rodent and animal damage and most natural occurrences if the car is not being driven . Check you policy.

Next, some newer cars don’t have plastic covered wiring. I know that Toyota and Porsche use a soy based coating instead of petroleum sourced plastic. That makes the entire wiring system in some cars a rodents delight.

Also, as a rodent repellent, you can use moth balls spread generously around and in the vehicle. It’s easier to air out the mothball smell than rodent urine and feces. You can also put mouse/rat traps around the vehicle, but not in it. If you use D-Con, definitely make sure it is placed around the perimeter walls of the storage facility. Mice and rats stay close to walls when they run around and the smell of dead rodents can be removed when you dispose of the dearly departed.

If you do have rodent urine, you can go to any pet store and buy a neutralizer for cat urine stains and smells. The urine in both is high in ammonia so it should work. Also, wear a mask with at least 95% particle blockage. Rodent feces inhaled has been know to kill humans. I forget the name of the disease.

Put the vehicle on jack stands to prevent the tires from getting any little distortion, and it takes the strain off the suspension grommets, which can also deform from sitting.

Empty the gas tank and run the engine until the carb or injectors are dry. Don’t rely on Stabile or Sea Foam for anything longer than about 60 days. Change the oil before storage. This will remove any moisture already in the oil, plus remove the acids, particulate matter that can damage seals and gaskets.

If all else fails, get a cat. Just make sure it has food (besides rodents), water and human care.

Hope this info/suggestion helps. ;>))


Had a neighbor who used the garage of another neighbor to store his old Rolls Silver Cloud for the summer, left the windows open for air and did not check on the car, rats got in and chewed up the seating. This is not an uncommon problem as they love the taste of quality leather. Squirrels can also be a problem.


guys, this is a discussion about cars, not a political or religious forum. Let’s keep opinions about the cars, OK?


There is a product that will rid the odor from parts that can be wetted. It is called OdoBan and uses enzymes to break down to molecules causing the odor. It is available in several formulations but the original and most potent I believe is Eucalyptus. I used it once to renovate a house owned by a woman who had 78 cats - yes, 78 - all apparently carpet trained. The stench was atrocious but the Odoban got rid of it completely.


Thank you for carrying on!

My first overseas tour I parked my 69 Camaro in the old granary next to the house, near the barn cats, with a cloth of some sort over it, as I remember. We also liberally deployed DeCon on the footwells and trunk. I came home a year later to a holy headliner, but otherwise ok.

Next time, I deployed for a 15 month overseas tour, before I left I stuck it in the same granary but up on wood blocks so that the tires and suspension hung. I didn’t have time to fix the car up at all, but it ran fine and didn’t smell, although one caliper was frozen, but NAPA had it in stock (this was a long time ago), so I replaced it and drove it to my next sea tour.

Third 15 month overseas tour, and I put it in a different farm building, much better sealed. This time I put it up on wood blocks again, but also filled the cylinders with oil, slathered wax on the paint, frame, anything that seemed like it could benefit from wax, liberally planted DeCon, stuffed rags in the tailpipes and carb, and covered it with three separate covers. It was prescient of me, because it was there a long time.

Fifteen months became 15 years. Four deployments and two overseas tour later, I retired and had time for the Camaro again. When I finally pulled it out of storage, I didn’t even try to start it, just trailered it home so i could replace the valve springs before I started it. I changed all the fluids, checked the bottom end, and buttoned it back up.

Each time, after the first, I had it up on wood blocks so the tires were off the ground. I think that helped immensely. I am using the same springs still, 6 cylinder Camaro fronts cut down, and WS6 rears from a second gen Trans Am. I know that doesn’t help you now, but perhaps next deployment.

I’ve had the Camaro 45 years, as it ages it becomes more valuable to me, I’ve kept it up and ready to run, although I no longer have the reflexes to handle it on the secondaries. It’s been part of my life forever. The left door was replaced due to crash damage, the entire front end came off from same crash, and I replaced it with a fiberglass lift off front. The interior had been redone several times, it’s been rewired, brakes, painted, and so on. I have a bit of personal history that spans from college to deployments to retirement, and you possibly could as well.

Good luck, and thank you for carrying on in my stead.


Reply to virtualjb. The article never stated that the insurance company was Hagerty. READ FIRST BEFORE YOU COMMENT!!!

And thanks to the author for your service.!!!