Bulgarian Rats and Ladas in Winter

Winter, Bulgaria, short, sharp and should be well prepared for if you have a car here. Now I have a Lada and very proud of it I am, even though I hate cars. But this is a car with character even though there are elements of embarrassment to many who I tell. Not to me you understand but to many Brits who turn their nose up at owning such a vehicle.

The Lada was meticulously prepared for winter in my farmhouse garage. The battery was taken out and put on a trickle charge via a DIY solar charger designed for AA rechargeable batteries stuck on the kitchen windowsill. Wasn’t quite sure whether it was going to work though but worth a try. In fact the idea is so Bulgarian I was glowing with pride with idea being my own.

The car was packed with blankets underneath the bonnet, over the front radiator grill and on top of the bonnet to insulate against the severe cold that was bound to come. It was as snug as a bug in a rug as they say.

The car was jacked up so the front wheels were raised off the ground in order for the tyres to be laid up to rest. The front tyres both have slow punctures (normal in Bulgaria) so this would insure they are not crushed when totally void of air after a few days. The back wheels were blocked and the hand brake off to avoid stretching the handbrake cable.

The fuel tank was run judged to be almost empty and the gas completed used up as the preparations for winter for my Lada almost complete. It was very reassuring that all this was completed, I was to be away throughout the winter months.

Arriving back at the end of winter the car was seen exactly as it was left. The blankets and sheets were removed in the now warmer weather to reveal the engine after hibernation. The two front tyres totally void of air were pumped up and the car let down onto the concrete garage floor. The battery placed in, connected and with the little petrol that was left in the tank the car sprung to life after about five turns of the engine. The trickle charging system for the battery that was improvised and in place throughout winter worked perfectly. The car was a goer, and within 20 minutes of being tucked away all snug, the car was ready for action.

It was only three weeks later when taking the car out during night that I discovered that the lights didn’t work!

Now here is a warning, because I covered the engine with blankets and sheet during winter, this was nesting material for rats and mice. The next morning I took a closer look at the electrical system. Much of the plastic casing of the relay systems, etc. have been eaten and the wiring stripped of plastic. A fair few of the wires have been gnawed and severed from rat teeth. It is no wonder the lighting didn’t work.

Strangely enough the car would have had no problem with vermin if the bedding material hadn’t been placed underneath the bonnet. This just invited a perfect place for rat and mice nests. Next year this won’t of happen again solely due to me being here all the time this time round. But this is a good tip to remember to other hibernating their cars in garages here.

Don’t make the beds up for mice and rats under the bonnet as it won’t only be lights out before bedtime for the vermin but for your car in the spring.

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