Marten damage often occurs in summer, as the animals' territorial behaviour is particularly pronounced during mating season.
If a marten living in your car detects the scent of another marten, it becomes aggressive – and it bites into cables, hoses and anything else it can get between its teeth. Components that are frequently affected:
If your vehicle is often parked outdoors, you should take a look in the engine compartment from time to time – especially in summer. Chewed cables and hoses are clear signs that a marten has been at work, and so are coolant leaks.
There are several signs that a marten has made itself at home in the engine compartment of your car:
If you can see no marks on the car itself but the engine often stalls, or it no longer runs smoothly or starts properly, a marten may have chewed through the ignition cable. If you notice signs like these, going straight to a workshop will prevent expensive consequential damage and costs.
Martens like to feel warm and protected. As well as crawling into vehicle engine compartments, they also like to make their homes in attics.
They are very nimble: openings of just a few centimetres are usually enough for them to get in. Once in the attic, they build nests – or sometimes even entire tunnel systems to move about, eating insulation material in the process. This results in inadequate insulation and mould.
If you discover marten nests, you should call a pest controller as soon as possible. These are the signs that you have martens in the attic:
If this is not possible, many car manufacturers and workshops offer what are known as marten guards as optional extras. Cheaper versions of these are available from various dealers in the form of wire mesh that you can fit to your car.
There are also electric-shock and ultrasonic devices. But this marten-deterrent equipment must be professionally installed. Cables and hoses can be protected by tough plastic guards.
If you think a marten may be present, it may also be worth washing the engine to remove its scent, thus preventing aggressive territorial behaviour.
You can also block any access points, and eliminate them by removing trees, branches, fences, trellises and the like. This will at least make it harder for the creatures to get in.