How to Get Rid of Ants in Your Car

Having ants in your car can be a annoying and frustrating experience. Not only are they a nuisance, but they can also do damage if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are a number of effective methods for getting rid of ants in your vehicle. Here is a comprehensive guide on removing ants from your car.

Inspect for Entry Points

The first step is to thoroughly inspect your car’s interior and exterior to try and locate where the ants are getting in. Some common entry points include:

  • Door seals and weather stripping
  • Window seals
  • AC vents
  • Trunk and cargo area
  • Under the hood
  • Wheel wells

Look for tiny cracks or gaps that ants could be squeezing through. Pay special attention to areas where you see ant trails. Seal up any potential entry points with caulk or silicone sealant to deny the ants access.

Vacuum Thoroughly

Once you’ve identified and sealed any entry points, thoroughly vacuum the entire interior of the car. This includes the seats, floor mats, carpeting, compartments, and trunk. Pay close attention to small spaces and crevices where ants may be hiding. The strong suction will remove ants, eggs, and food crumbs that serve as attractants. Dispose of the vacuum contents in a tightly sealed bag.

Use Ant Sprays

Ant sprays containing ingredients like bifenthrin, tetramethrin, or deltamethrin can help kill ants on contact and provide residual activity. Spray problem areas like door frames, floorboards, seats, and the trunk. For more severe infestations, look for spray concentrates that can be diluted with water and applied more liberally. Be sure to open the doors and allow the interior to air out thoroughly before driving the car.

Apply Ant Baits

Ant baits containing borax or abamectin can be highly effective at eliminating entire ant colonies. The ants eat the bait and bring it back to the nest to share with the rest of the colony, eventually killing the queen. Place small bait stations along ant trails and near entry points. For quicker results, use liquid baits placed directly in the path of ant traffic. Allow baits to work for 1-2 weeks.

Use Ant Dusts

Powdered ant dusts made from diatomaceous earth, boric acid, or silica gel can help dry out and kill ants on contact. Puff small amounts into cracks, crevices, seams, and void spaces where ants may be nesting. Be careful not to inhale the dusts. Reapply if the dust gets wet or blows away. Diatomaceous earth can also be sprinkled around the base of your car’s tires to help discourage new ants from crawling up into the chassis.

Keep the Interior Clean

Be sure to thoroughly clean the inside of your car to discourage future ant infestations. Vacuum regularly, especially the small spaces between seats. Remove trash and food debris daily so it doesn’t accumulate. Clean up spills quickly as sugary substances can attract ants. Consider using a handheld steam cleaner to sanitize hard surfaces. Store snacks and drinks in tightly sealed containers.

Make Repairs

Check for any damaged seals or weatherstripping around doors and windows and make repairs. Cracked engine hoses should be replaced. Leaking fluids under the hood should be repaired. Make sure the trunk closes tightly with no gaps. Damaged seals provide an open invitation for ants to enter your car.

Use Preventative Sprays

As a last step, consider applying longer-lasting ant prevention sprays on the exterior of your car. These repellant sprays create a chemical barrier that discourages ants and other insects from entering. Spray around wheel wells, doors, and under the chassis. Reapply after heavy rain or every few weeks for continued protection. This helps stop new ant colonies from getting established in your car.

When to Call an Exterminator

If you discover a major ant infestation with multiple nests or mounds of ants after thorough cleaning and treatment, then professional pest control may be required. Exterminators have commercial-grade insecticides and can fully treat the interior and exterior of the car. This provides definitive elimination of stubborn ant problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do ants get in my car?

Ants enter vehicles through small cracks and gaps in door seals, window seals, AC vents, wheel wells, under the hood, and anywhere else they can squeeze through. Damaged seals provide easy access. Ants are also attracted to food debris and sugary spills left in the car interior.

What is the best way to kill ants in my car?

A combination of ant sprays, baits, and dusts is most effective. Sprays kill ants on contact. Baits eliminate the colony. Dusts kill ants and dry out nesting areas. Thorough vacuuming and cleaning also helps remove attractants and hiding spots.

Is it normal to find ants in a car?

It’s common to occasionally see a few foraging ants that crawl into a vehicle from outside. But recurring infestations, ant trails, mounds, or swarmers indicate a larger colony has become established in or around the car requiring eradication.

Do I need a professional exterminator for ants in my car?

For minor ant incursions, you can likely eliminate them with thorough cleaning and over-the-counter treatments. But major infestations involving multiple nests may require fumigation by a professional pest control company. They have commercial-grade insecticides and can access hard to reach areas.

How can I help prevent future ants in my car?

Seal any gaps in door and window seals. Keep the interior clean and free of food. Immediately clean up spills. Apply a preventative ant spray barrier around the exterior. Periodically reapply ant killer sprays and baits. Park in the sun when possible as ants dislike heat.


Dealing with ants that have infested a vehicle can be annoying, but with patience and persistence, it is possible to eliminate them and prevent their return. Locate and seal their entry points, vacuum thoroughly, use ant sprays and baits, apply dusts to nesting areas, keep the interior clean, and make any necessary repairs. With an integrative pest management approach, you can kick ants out of your car for good. Just be thorough and proactive and you’ll soon be ant-free.