How to Get Rid of Ants in Car | Safe & Proven Solutions!

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Having ants in your car can not only be annoying, but it can also be dangerous. Ants can bite, sting, and distract you while you are driving. As soon as you discover these critters in your car, it’s time to address the issue as quick as possible.

So, how to get rid of ants in car? Do so by parking your car somewhere far from ant nests, vacuuming, wiping down the interiors, and washing the outside of your car. If these do not solve your ant problem, consider applying pesticide treatments using ant bait, foggers, or bug spray.

In this article, we have included step-by-step instructions on how you can get rid of the ants in the car, including recommended products that you can use. Read further for more!

Why Are There Ants in My Car?

Ants have nests, usually located underground or in trees. They forage outside of their colonies and once they locate food, they leave a trail of chemicals called pheromones which other ants use as guides.

If you see one or two ants in your car, it may be because you’ve parked close to an ant nest and you are seeing a few ants that are simply scouting for food. However, if your car appears to be infested with ants, chances are they found a food source inside your vehicle, even a small one.

Related: What Do Ants Eat? | Ant Feeding Habits

What Types of Ants Infest Cars?

What Types of Ants Infest Cars

Any local species of ant is capable of infesting your car. It all depends on your region in the world. But one thing is for sure: if you have a source of food in your vehicle, be it plant or animal-based, there will be ants interested in eating it. 

The ants you are most likely to see in your vehicle are “worker ants.” Each colony is made up of groups of ants with different jobs. One of the worker ants’ jobs is to go out and find food for the rest of the colony.

Related: How Many Types of Ants Are There | Ant Identification Chart

How to Get Rid of Ants in Car – Step-by-Step Instructions

Step 1: Repark Your Car to a Different Location

It is likely that an ant nest is located nearby your car, so before you start getting rid of the ants in and on your vehicle, move it away from the source of the problem.  If you can, move the car away from trees and any grassy area where you suspect the ants may have their nest.

Step 2: Start Vacuuming

This step will not only remove the ants from your car but also suck up any crumbs that may have attracted them in the first place. Vacuum as deep into cracks and crevices as possible and remove all trash from your vehicle. Even the slightest food residue on packaging can attract ants to your car.

Step 3: Wipe Down the Interior of Your Car

Be sure to clean up any food and liquid spills on the floor or upholstery. Ants are not just attracted to solid foods. Even a small soft drink or juice spill could entice them as long as they’re edible.

Step 4: Thoroughly Wash the Outside of Your Car

If you don’t have a high-pressure washer, go to a self-serve car wash or have the car cleaned by professionals. Don’t forget to wash inside the wheel wells and engine. 

Disclaimer: Be careful when washing inside the engine, as too much pressure could damage certain components. If you are unsure what to do, take your car to a professional instead.

Step 5: If You Still See Ants, Consider Using a Pesticide Treatment Inside Your Car

This method includes ant bait, a fogger, or bug spray. We’ll discuss these options in the next section.

Ant Killer for Car: Pesticide Treatment

After you’ve already re-parked your car, vacuumed it, removed trash, wiped down the interior, and washed the exterior, you may consider using some ant pesticide at this point.

Here are a few options for landing a final blow to these unwanted pests. Consider safety, time, and weather conditions before deciding which option is best for you.

Ant Traps for Car

The concept is simple: The bait contains a formula that mimics ant food and smells sweet to ants but is toxic to them. The worker ants will carry tiny pieces of bait back to the nest to share with the colony, including the queen. 

Eventually, the whole colony will be slowly but effectively wiped out. Just be sure to keep the product away from pets and small children who may try to touch or ingest the bait.

Here are some excellent products in the market:

Sale
Terro T300 Liquid Ant Baits - 2 Pack
  • Kills the ants you see and the ones you don’t
  • Ready to use set the bait, attract ants, and kill the colony
  • Stay Fresh tab keeps liquid bait Fresh until opened
Ant Traps Indoor by Ortho Home Defense 4pk- Metallic & Adhesive Pet Friendly Ant Killer Indoor & Ant Killer Outdoor - Ant Trap
  • PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY FROM UNDESIRED ANT INVASION WITH ORTHO ANT...
  • ANT POISON THAT KILLS THE QUEEN: If you're in need of ant traps...
  • ESTABLISH ANT CONTROL WITH A TRUSTED BRAND IN 5 STEPS - 1)Remove...
  • ORTHO'S ANT KILLER THAT IS SAFE FOR PETS KILLS MORE SPECIES OF...
  • GET YOUR ANT-FREE PROPERTY BACK: If you don't act, you run the...
Raid Max Double Control Ant Baits, Household Use Defense System to Control Bugs, Dual Bait Technology (0.28 Ounce (Pack of 1))
  • Two types of bait to attract and kill ants
  • After ants feed on the bait, they return to the colony and...
  • Population reduction can be expected within days, with the baits...
  • For household use: Closets, basements, attics, living areas,...
  • Child-resistant insect killer

Ant Fogger for Car

Be cautious when choosing to fog your car. Read the instructions on the label carefully. Thoroughly air the vehicle for several hours after use, and run the a/c system to clear out your vents.

Sale
BASF Pyrethrum TR Fogger, Clear small
  • For Use Only on Ornamental Crops and Growing Crops in Commercial...
Hot Shot Indoor Fogger With Odor Neutralizer, 4/2-Ounce
  • KILLS ON CONTACT: Hot Shot Fogger With Odor Neutralizer kills on...
  • KILLS HIDDEN BUGS: Creates a fine, penetrating mist that reaches...
  • WHERE TO USE: Use in enclosed spaces such as apartments, attics,...
  • NON-STAINING: This clear, non-staining formula won't leave a wet,...
  • EACH CAN COVERS 2,000 CU FT: Treats 2,000 cubic feet of...
OFF! Outdoor Fogger, 16 OZ (Pack - 6)
  • OFF! Outdoor Fogger, 16 OZ (Pack - 6)

Ant Spray for Car

Ant sprays are effective when used as spot treatments, but they will not keep the ants from coming back to you car, which is why it’s better to use this in conjunction with other control methods. As with a fogger, keep the car well-ventilated after using this pesticide.

Raid Ant and Roach Killer Outdoor Fresh, 17.5 OZ (Pack of 6)
  • Kills on contact
  • Residual kill of ants and roaches works for up to four weeks
  • Leaves behind no lingering chemical odor
  • Has an Outdoor Fresh scent
  • Use with other Raid Defense System products to work smarter, not...
TERRO T2302-6 Spider Killer Spray for Indoors and Outdoors - Kills Spiders, Ants, Roaches, Scorpions, Ticks, Silverfish, and Other Insects (Pack of 2)
  • The information below is per-pack only
  • Say Goodbye to Bugs – Kills spiders, ants, cockroaches,...
  • Kills the “Big 3” – This spray also kills dangerous...
  • Fast Acting & Long Lasting - This insect killing spray provides...
  • Versatile Application - Use this spray as a direct application,...
Ortho Home Defense Max Ant, Roach and Spider1 - Indoor Insect Spray, Kills Ants, Beetles, Cockroaches and Spiders (as Listed), No Fumes, Spray at Any Angle, 14 oz. (Pack of 2)
  • The information below is per-pack only
  • Ortho Home Defense Max Ant, Roach & Spider1 spray starts to kill...
  • The no-fume insect spray is great for use inside your home
  • Kills and prevents ants, roaches and spiders indoors on nonporous...
  • Innovative spray system allows you to spray at any angle so you...

How to Get Ants out of Specific Places in Your Car

Ants are tiny creatures capable of hiding just about anywhere in your car. This is where ant bait will come in handy, as it isn’t necessary to reach or kill each ant to be effective. 

However, if you are anxious to kill the ants as quickly as possible, here are some tips if you find them in especially hard-to-reach places:

Ants in Car Door Frame

Ant spray may be your best bet for removing ants from your car door frame. If you can, remove the door latch (also called a striker) and spray the bug spray inside to completely get rid of them.

Ants in Car Dashboard

It doesn’t make sense to take apart your dashboard to remove an ant infestation. As mentioned above, killing individual ants you see will not effectively remove the infestation. In this case, it would be best to let ant bait work its magic.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Car Engine

How to Get Rid of Ants in Car Engine

If ants have infested your car engine, you may consider parking your car inside a garage, opening the hood, and using a fogger. Remember to follow all safety instructions and air the garage and car thoroughly afterward.

How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Car Naturally: Home Remedies for Ants in Your Car

If you are looking for a more natural solution to your ant problem, here are a few things to try:

Chalk

Draw chalk circles around your tires to prevent ants from climbing back onto your vehicle. Why ants avoid chalk is unclear, but it is a simple, safe, and effective deterrent.

Spices

  • Cinnamon can kill ants and also work as a repellent. It smells great too! Sprinkle it into hard-to-reach places in your car to get rid of these pesky insects.
  • Mint leaves are another ant deterrent and may prove to be a less-messy option than cinnamon. Tie bunches of leaves together and place them around your car to make it less attractive to ants.

Vinegar

Ants hate the scent of vinegar. It can also effectively remove their pheromone trails (which they use to lead other ants back to your car). Fill a spray bottle with 50% water and 50% vinegar. Spray and wipe down the surfaces of your car.

How to Prevent Ants From Infesting Your Car

Be conscious of where you are parking. Avoid parking near trees and large grassy areas if you can. Also, clean your car regularly. While it may be tempting to have a trash can in your car, even small bits of food waste in the trash can be enough to attract ants. 

Therefore, it’s best to remove the trash immediately. Be sure to clean up spills right away.  Keeping a sealed container of moist towels or baby wipes in your car may help clean up any messes quickly

If your car leaks when it rains, have it repaired. Ants are also attracted to moisture, so standing water or wet upholstery in your car can lead to ant infestations.

Ants in a Brand New Car

Ants in a Brand New Car

If you’ve purchased a new car and discovered an ant problem, ask yourself the following: 

  • How many ants are you seeing? 
  • Just one or two, or is it a more serious problem? 
  • Were the ants in the car before you drove it home and parked it? 
  • Is there any food residue in the car that may have attracted the ants, and if so, was the food residue in the car when you purchased it? 

Depending on the answers to these questions, consider contacting the dealership to inform them of the issue. Act quickly if you think the ants were in the car before you purchased it. The longer you wait, the more likely it will appear that the ants infested your car after you already took it home.

Can Ants Damage a Car?

Yes. Some ants, particularly fire ants, are known to chew car cables, resulting in severe damage to your engine or causing problems in your dashboard. Repairs can cost lots of money. This is why you must act quickly if you discover an ant problem in your vehicle.

If there are a lot of ants inside your engine or you suspect they are inside your dashboard, follow the steps above to remove the ants from your car. Then have the car checked out by a professional to check for any damage.

Finding ants in your car is not uncommon. It’s easy for crumbs and spilled food to go unnoticed, or you were simply unlucky when parking your car. Luckily, if you do find an ant problem in your vehicle, there are plenty of methods that will resolve this problem.

Related: How to Get Rid of Ants | Safe and Effective Methods

List of Sources

Chalissery, J. M., Renyard, A., Gries, R., Hoefele, D., Alamsetti, S. K., & Gries, G. (2019). Ants Sense, and Follow, Trail Pheromones of Ant Community Members.
Jongepier, E., & Foitzik, S. (2016), Fitness costs of worker specialization for ant societies.
Ramsey, M. (2013). How to Control Ants.
Tschinkel, W.R. (2005). The nest architecture of the ant, Camponotus socius.