Martens: warding off uninvited guests in the car

Bite marks on ignition cables, holes in coolant hoses and numerous scratch marks usually indicate an uninvited visitor: martens. They especially like to rage under hoods and destroy everything they can get between their teeth. But you can do something against the appetite of the gnawing predator on your car – we reveal it to you here.

What do martens actually look for in cars?

Martens avoid light and open areas. In the dark, on the other hand, they feel safe and at ease. The engine compartments of cars are therefore a favorite hiding place for rodents, as they can disappear into them in a flash when danger threatens. In addition, the heat of the engine attracts them in colder temperatures. Since martens are radical loners and the males in particular do not tolerate rivals of the same sex, they mark their territory with their droppings and urine. If a marten has "marked" your vehicle and you drive it into another marten’s territory, the marten smells the scent of the other marten and wants to defend its territory with all means. The marten doesn’t like it at all when it smells like a rival in its terrain. It therefore enters the engine compartment of your vehicle and marks it with its own scents. Often the marten then goes into a so-called biting frenzy: everything that smells like its rival is uncompromisingly bitten, gnawed and scratched.

These components are most frequently destroyed by marten bites:

  • Ignition cables
  • Hoses for coolant and windshield wiper water
  • Bellows on drive shafts and steering systems
  • Power lines
  • Insulation mats for noise and heat insulation
  • Plastic hoses

The number of martens on the rise

According to the GDV (German Insurance Association), the number of marten damages has been increasing for years. The rodent causes more than 60 million euros worth of damage to motor vehicles every year. Every year, more than 200.000 cases reported – rising trend. At least one out of every 200 cars has already suffered marten damage. A study by the GDV also shows that the south is significantly more affected by marten attacks than the north. The regions around hamburg and kassel are nevertheless heavily affected.

Insurance does not cover all damage

Cables and hoses bitten through by martens are usually covered by partial cover insurance. But be careful: before signing a contract, you should make sure that consequential damage is also covered. In most cases, insurance companies do not cover consequential damage, or only up to a certain amount. But these are usually more fatal, because long unnoticed marten bites can lead to a defect in the vehicle. For example, a gnawed ignition cable can lead to catalytic converter failure, or a chewed coolant hose will eventually result in engine damage due to overheating. If you take out insurance for such cases, it is also advisable to insure yourself against animal bites in general. A marten is not always behind the disaster. Rats and even cats can sometimes get hold of a cable. At the end of the day, a trained assessor can determine very precisely which animal is responsible for which damage. He can recognize this by the fur remains left behind or the prominent scent traces. To save yourself all the trouble and to avoid putting yourself in unnecessary danger, good precautions are essential to protect yourself from marten bites.

Martens are a danger to your vehicle.

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