Faults and costly follow-on damage could result

DEKRA Info May 2018

Marten in the engine compartment

Beware of martens:

Martens may well be quite cute to look at, but these small rodents are a nuisance to motorists, the reason being their preference for soft rubber and plastic parts contained in the vehicle: axle sleeves, water hoses, ignition cables and gaiters are their especial favorites. “Although vehicle manufacturers are tending towards employing plastics that martens don't like, we are always coming across signs of bites and damage at the general inspection that can be traced to these small predators,” says DEKRA car expert Werner Kühnl.

However, you often don't have to wait for the general inspection to discover marten damage. The bites can also occasionally lead to the vehicle not starting, or even worse, they cause faults during the journey resulting in costly subsequent damage. For example, a nibbled axle sleeve can cause lubricating grease to leak out. The result is the ball joints will run dry sooner or later. Loss of coolant will cause the engine to overheat and damage to the cable loom brings with it short-circuits or smoldering fires.

"There is currently no 100 percent surefire way of preventing marten damage," says the expert. "This is why it is important for car owners to recognize the tell-tale signs of an undesired visit." These include small plastic parts distributed around a parked vehicle, but also grease and coolant stains underneath. In the winter months some martens almost turn the engine compartment into their home and start leaving behind nuts or excrement. "Marten bites are for the most part usually fairly easy to detect on coolant hoses," says Werner Kühnl and recommends that car owners regularly look under the engine lid for signs of teeth marks to plastic components.

"Should you suspect marten damage, it is essential to take the vehicle to the garage," stresses the DEKRA specialist. "Third-party insurance usually covers the cost of damage caused to the vehicle by the animals, but not the costs of any damage that results from it."


Tilman Vögele-Ebering

Press officer Industrial


Phone +49.711.7861-2122

Fax +49.711.7861-742122

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