Ants in Car | How to Get Rid of Ants in Car

When most people think of an ant problem, they imagine unwanted picnic pests or ants crawling across the kitchen counter, but ants can also show up in unexpected places, one of which is your car. 

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 start getting rid of them.

The fastest methods to get rid of ants in your car are using ant foggers, traps, and sprays. You should first try to repark your car to a different location and do a thorough vacuuming. After that, clean your car to remove any food or juice spills. As a last step, wash and clean the car from the outside (use a high-pressure washer). If this does not help, try out methods with pesticides.

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 (foggers, traps and sprays).

Why Are There Ants in My Car?

To understand why ants decided to make their way into your vehicle, it’s helpful to know a bit about ant behavior. Ants have nests, usually located underground or in trees. To find their food, they wander around randomly, hoping to find something to eat.

Related: What Do Ants Eat? | Ant Feeding Habits

When one of them does locate food, it leaves a trail of chemicals called pheromones. This help other ants find their way there so they can carry the food back to the nest. 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.

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 cervices as possible. 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 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.

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.

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

What to do if you still have ants in your car? 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. 

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

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

Terro Liquid Ant Baits are the best-selling ant bait on the market. They are effective and affordable. They are also considered safer than most insecticides.

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 wiped out. Just be sure to keep the product away from pets and small children who may try to touch or ingest the bait.

Ant Fogger for Car

No products found.

Raid Concentrated Deep Reach Fogger is ideal for car use, as it is made to penetrate hard-to-reach places. Not only does it kill all ants inside the vehicle, but it will also continue to kill ants entering the car for up to two months after its initial use. 

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

Ant Spray for Car

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...

Raid Ant and Roach Killer can be sprayed directly on ants to kill them. While this may help “spot treat” your ant problem, when used alone, it is not likely to remove the ant infestation from your car and keep it from coming back. 

As with a fogger, keep the car well-ventilated after using this pesticide.

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.

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:


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.


  • Cinnamon can kill ants and also work as a repellant. It smells great too! Sprinkle it into hard-to-reach places in your car.
  • 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.


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 your car 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 an ant problem.

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, ants can damage a car. 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

Tschinkel W.R., The nest architecture of the ant, Camponotus socius, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University

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, Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University

Jongepier, E., & Foitzik, S. (2016), Fitness costs of worker specialization for ant societies, Department of Evolutionary Biology, Johannes Gutenberg University

Ramsey M., How to Control Ants, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California