For years, automakers have been faced with the gnawing problem of rodents chewing into wiring in vehicles. It used to be an occasional thing just from rodents being rodents.
But lately there has been an explosion of rodent-caused damage to new car parts, particularly wiring insulation.
And , there have been lawsuits from disgruntled owners. A class action lawsuit in Indiana is suing Toyota for using materials that it allegedly knows are attractive to rodents, then denying warranty coverage and sticking vehicle owners for repairs ... often thousands of dollars worth.
Soy-based Coatings Are Rodent Food!
The problem began when automakers began switching over to enviromentally-friendly parts in their vehicles. One example is wiring that is now coated with a soy-based biodegradable material instead of plastic. That would all be very nice except that soy is aplant, soy is a food. We eat it, and so do rodents. One attorney said, "It would literally be like putting honey in your car or peanut butter in your car and then acting surprised that insects and ants are being attracted to it.''
The lead plantiff in the class action lawsuit has had repeated damage to his Toyota Tundra including a vapor hose that was chewed almost completely in half, damaged wiring harnesses, and a front brake sensor wire chewed to pieces. The repair cost of about $2,200 was denied by Toyota even though his truck had less than 14,000 miles -Oni t . Mark Buche, owner of B&M Auto Electrical Specialists in Lafayette , Indiana says he sees one or two veh icles a week with rodent gnawing damage. Vehicle owners say they're tired of having to pay for a problem that automakers knowingly caused .
It's not just Toyota at fault, Honda and other carmakers are facing the same type of lawsuits . And it 's not just mice and rats doing the chewing. Squirrels, and even rabbits, have been blamed for gnawing damage to soy-coated auto parts. Mechanics at dealerships have taken to wrapping affected wiring with a special rodent-deterrent tape . Vehicle owners and lawyers say this shows that dealers are well aware of the prob lem. Honda even sells the spicy "chili pepper tape" to customers so they can wrap the wires in their cars. Good luck with that. Those ofus in th e pest cont r ol business know that if a rodent wants to chew on that wire , it will chew , spicy tape or not!