Rat flap in my 2014 Legacy

Jul 13, 2023
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Ever since I bought this car new from the dealership, I have been trying to find out how the mice get into it. All the time, a lot of mice over the years. None of my other vehicles have this issue.

Well today I found out why. I had set a trap Sunday for the latest member of the Mickey Mouse Club. I forgot to check it Monday and it was 100F. Tue morning I opened a door and OMG. I opened the trunk and found the dead mouse in the trap with assorted flies and maggots. I took the trap and mouse up to the drainage canal and threw it in, not reusing that trap again.

Then I began the disassembly of the trunk, getting every thing out for a good hose down. I pulled out all the trim and panels from the trunk again, done this before looking for the entrance point. Again I searched. But this time I noticed something. I had always assumed it was a box for the side markers and never paid attention to it. But this time I noticed there were no wires going to it.

It appears to be a vent to let air out of the vehicle, one on each side. It’s about 7x9" and has a bunch of panels about 1x2, or so I thought they were panels, they are flaps. They hinge at the top. They are little pet doors for vermin. The other side is behind the bumper cover and there is a little shelf for them to sit on as they nudge the flap open.

After vacuuming out all the mouse poop, pecan hulls, acorn hulls, maple wings and other assorted seed pods and scrubbing down all the little urine trails and removing all the nests they made from the sound insulation used between the panels, I Ozark Engineered a solution to keep them out.

The proper way would be to remove the vents and fix them out of the car, but noooo. Subaru cleverly sandwiched them between the bumper cover and the inner panel. You have to remove the bumper cover, and that means removing the wheels, the mud flaps and the inner fender wells and getting the special tool that releases the bumper cover fasteners. So I fixed it in place with some 1/4" hardware cloth and some wood shims.

BTW, Home Depot hides the hardware cloth and none of the employees know what hardware cloth is, so today was also a training day for me as well, training the HD employees.

rat flap
rat flap1920×1080 105 KB

pet door for mickey
pet door for mickey1920×1080 118 KB

ozark engineered
ozark engineered1920×1080 199 KB
I found out today on the Car Talk forum that all cars and trucks have these and the reason they use flaps is to prevent pressure spikes when the last door is closed and the windows are up. The pressure spike could cause damage to the ear drum and inner ear. But for some reason, the issue with mice is only with this car. I did not remove the bumper cover to see what the outside looks like and I have not even noticed it on vehicle that I have removed the bumper covers on. I usually find bumper covers pretty easy to remove, but not on this Subaru.

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