What to do if you find a spider in your car

huntsman spider

RACV Staff

Posted January 31, 2023

For many people, it’s their worst nightmare - eight spider legs staring at you from the steering wheel. Here’s how to deal with creepy crawlies in your car, and prevent them from getting there. 

It’s just a part of living in Australia, and it can happen to anyone: you’re driving along when your Spidey senses start tingling. Perhaps you’ve spotted a web, felt something brush across your leg, or you’ve spotted eight eyes and legs staring out at you. What do you do? 

The answer is not to panic.

While it may catch you off guard at first, your priority is to remain calm and stay safe on the road. 

Whether you’re trying to keep them out, or need to get a spider out of your vehicle, here are the best tips on the web for dealing with spiders in your domain. And remember, when heading on your own adventure, stay road trip happy by updating your RACV Emergency Roadside Assistance coverage before you leave.

How do spiders get in the car? 

Spiders are curious by nature, with many eyes and legs ready to crawl and explore. While there are over 10,000 different species of spiders in Australia alone, typically, they are attracted to confined spaces providing warmth, dirt, and dust. 

As well as the obvious – open doors or windows – spiders can get into your car through small cracks in the roof, window rails, or the edge of the car door. 

Once inside, your new passenger may wish to crawl to a hiding spot that doesn’t vibrate, such as the car ceiling, steering wheel, dash, or the infamous sun visor.

Without being found, spiders can survive for many months inside the vehicle, particularly if there are other bugs or crumbs present. 

What do I do if a spider is in my car? 

Although it is easier said than done for some, don’t panic. No spider-related deaths have occurred in Australia since 1979, so the chances of this are extremely low. What is more important is that you maintain control of your vehicle to avoid accident or injury.

The best thing to do if you notice a spider in your vehicle is to continue driving until you find a safe space to pull over and remove it.

Remember, the spider is also frightened and looking for somewhere to hide, and will only tend to bite if threatened. As the saying goes – if you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive.  

spider in the car

Not exactly a guest that is welcome in your vehicle. Image: Getty.

How can I prevent spiders getting in the car? 

The best way to get a spider out of the car is to do to your best to prevent them getting inside in the first place. Take the following steps to keep spiders out of your car: 

Keep it clean

Keeping the car clean from crumbs, clutter, rubbish, dirt, and debris is one of the best ways to stop spiders being attracted to your car. Make sure to clean out the interior of your car, including spots they like to hide – air conditioning vents, the roof, carpet, and steering wheel. 

When cleaning the outside of your vehicle, give extra attention to side mirrors, under wheel arches, the bonnet, and any twigs and leaves that have been built up that can provide extra shelter for your creepy crawly friends. 

Close the car securely

The smallest of spiders can get into your car through marginal cracks, so make sure your car is securely shut – doors closed, windows wound all the way to the top, and make sure any gaps in your door trim or rubber seals that they could sneak through are thoroughly closed up. 

Don’t go parking under the wrong tree

Try your best not to park in places where spiders may frequent, such as below trees or near bushes or debris. This can attract spiders, particularly in the wet weather, to crawl into your car for shelter. 

Good vibrations

Spiders get aggravated by areas in the car that vibrate, and so may seek to run away from the source, such as an air conditioning vent, to somewhere quieter like the steering wheel.

Try turning the car off or making sure not to leave the engine idling to stop them coming out and about. It can be a real buzz kill. 

Build a protective web

They say that prevention is the best medicine, and when it comes to keeping spiders out of your car, the same is true by using a natural scent or spray. 

Certain smells, such as eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender, are known to turn spiders off. Dabbing some of these scents on a cotton bud or making into a spray and circulating in areas such as the boot, glove compartment, door frame, air conditioning vent and door frames should assist the spiders in choosing another place to hide.

To make the oils into a spray, add approximately 200 mL of water, five drops of one of the above oils, and a few drops of dish washing detergent into a spray bottle. 

A surface spray can also be used in particular problem areas like under wheel arches, around the edge of side mirrors, and under the back and front of the car. 

 This way, the only way you’ll have to see a spider is on the web.