Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2022 6:26 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Mar 2022

Corrosion potential under the hood [post rodent?]?

I've had squirrel issues with my Leaf. While I was actively trying to have them leave when I saw them actively running away from me with the hood up, I doused the area under the hood with a spray of peppermint oil.

About a week later, when we wanted to charge the battery, discovered the door to charge would not open. Brought the car to a local Nissan leadership and the service department showed us damage at the actuator from the charging port lid. They had and replaced the part, but while discussing mitigation options, and I mentioned I had doused the area with peppermint oil from a spray bottle, they said to be very careful not to get the main area wet - as there are many electronic parts (I've seen pretty exposed wires with solder) - just to remain at the perimeter.

I live in New England, so we have weather year-round, and the car lives outside.

Now I'm very concerned about possible corrosion of parts from my actions - and how soon that might happen. From the heavy rain we had here recently, the seal between the hood cover and the bay did remain water-tight. So this makes me wonder about timing of when damage might happen from my spraying. I did a LOT as they were running around the bay, finally giving up and leaving.

Thanks for your insight.
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:41 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Jan 2014
Leaf Number: 333115

Re: Corrosion potential under the hood [post rodent?]?

I assume by "main area" you mean the motor/inverter and associated bits.

Just my opinion here, but even with the underbody covers on a Leaf there is plenty of moisture, dirt, and grime getting to things under the hood when you drive on wet roads. If Nissan didn't plan for this in terms of sealing electronic components under the hood it would be a known issue, both on this forum and in elsewhere.

When we first got our very filthy 2014 Leaf in 2021 (possibly never washed or vacuumed, but that made it cheap) I pressure washed the underside of the hood, the inner fender areas, the firewall and cowl, and the front radiator support area without really worrying about electronics. Note that the Leaf was not "on," but even if it had been I doubt there would have been any issues. I did not spray pressurized water directly on the motor/inverter, but I did spray soap and then rinse it with water at typical garden hose pressure.

Maybe that was naive, but I've been doing the same on ICE cars for years and never had a problem. Cars operate in adverse conditions every day and are engineered (some better, some worse) for those conditions.

Is there some aspect of peppermint oil that would make it especially corrosive? If not, I wouldn't worry about it.

As for the general issue of keeping critters out of your car, that is the eternal battle. I'm in central MA and rodents are a constant problem in both our Leaf and Honda Fit which are parked inside an older garage that is clearly not rodent proof. It got so bad with the Fit that each time we prepared to drive it I would pull the old sacrificial cabin air filter (well soiled with scat and urine) and replace it with a clean filter for the trip. When we got home I would shake out the sacrificial filter and put it back in, thereby preserving the good filter for our next trip. (Note: we mostly use the Fit for long trips and the Leaf for day-to-day local driving, so this wasn't as bad as it might seem.) The Leaf has had similar issues, including acorns somehow finding their way into the blower motor when we were away for about a week, prompting my wife to tell me the car sounded like a machine gun.

On the Fit I was able to, with minor lacerations and major cursing, cover the cabin air intake under the cowl with 1/4 inch galvanized hardware cloth. Since that time no more rodents on the cabin air filter. I'm planning to attempt the same procedure with the Leaf, as well as with the engine air intake for the Fit. I have no good ideas for keeping rodents out of the engine bay area in general. I have been lucky so far (knock on wood) that they've never damaged wiring in the Fit or Leaf.
Posts: 167
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 7:20 am
Delivery Date: 21 Dec 2013
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Corrosion potential under the hood [post rodent?]?

Very interesting. google "peppermint oil corrosion protection" and there are many articles looking at this and other plant oils as anti-corrosion coatings for metals. Some plastics are going to get attacked--do a visual check. Most of the plastics in an auto engine bay will be oil resistant--I think you are OK.

Around here it is the deer mice. They pee in their own nests and the accumulations will eat through metal. I have lost a lot of components over the years. The key for us was to stop putting out bird seed. Mouse populations are reduced to 5 or 10%. Totally do not feed the birds.

I had the blue 2013 leaf parked and up on wheel stands for 6 months. I put "Fresh Cab" sachets all through the vehicle and in the tray below the windshield. Also put out sticky traps. No rodents at all. But the car smells like an herbal cologne now.
2013 Pearl White SV man 09/13 58k purchased new 12/13
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Posts: 19885
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 3:17 am
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Re: Corrosion potential under the hood [post rodent?]?

Interesting about peppermint oil, as it also repels mice.
Brilliant Silver 2021 Leaf SV40 W/ Pro Pilot & Protection
2009 Vectrix VX-1 W/18 Leaf modules, & 2 lithium E-bicycles.
PLEASE don't PM me with Leaf questions. Just post in the topic that seems most appropriate.
Posts: 2074
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 3:33 pm
Delivery Date: 01 Aug 2017
Leaf Number: 311806
Location: Boulder, CO

Re: Corrosion potential under the hood [post rodent?]?

Rodents aren't a big issue here in CO but I've heard of mothballs being an effective deterrent.
Posts: 2831
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:10 am
Delivery Date: 13 Jul 2014
Leaf Number: 422121
Location: MSP MN

Re: Corrosion potential under the hood [post rodent?]?

Not as sure about other cars but the Leaf(I have a '13 and '12) are quite poor for stopping mice/squirrels. Both my Leafs have suffered squirrel infestations and suffered damage from I believe to be squirrels. but at one point thought was mice. In both cases, they entered the car on the passenger side below the windshield. On the passenger side is a cheap plastic piece that can easily be removed by a person or squirrel, it's an access point for gaining access to work on things. Once they get under that area they can easily fill up with nuts/etc. the whole area under the windshield, which is also an open area into the fresh air intake to the HVAC. If you know where to look you can even shine a flashlight and actually see the back of the cabin filter, from the outside of the car! In my case my '13 now makes a bad humming/thumping noise if the fan is on more than 3 bars, I assume from debris being around the squirrel(aptly named in my case) cage.
I've tried steel wool but they just pull it out. Also in the case of my '13 they chewed several holes in my rubber W/W squirter line causing me to have to replace about a 2' section, damn squirrels :evil:
Parking a car and particularly a Leaf outside isn't the best idea IMO. Another annoyance is leaves constantly getting under the hatch area and turning to mud, then falling inside the hatch area when the hatch is opened. Haven't had this issue with other cars so again must be something about the way the Leaf is designed that allows the leaves to accumulate.
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