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I am going on a trip and need to leave my car outside. I found a spot on a friend's private property. I am planning to use a car cover to protect the car from the Texas heat.

Aside from that, is there anything else I should do externally or to mechanical parts?

I am particularly concerned about mice and insects nesting in the car in my absence. Good thing is that there are a couple of dogs and cats patrolling this small property. Hopefully that is enough to deter rodents and other critter (I have had experience with mice in cars in the past ...)

Also, how important is it that the car is started regularly?

In case it matters, it is a ten-year old Toyota Yaris.

Any bits of advice are appreciated.

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Put a few packs of mothballs (opened) in the car in different locations and under the hood, including trunk if it has one, this deters rodents. You can scatter some underneath the car also.

Put a battery maintainer on the battery if you have access to electricity.

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