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Rodents are known to find their way into car engines to warm up and chew up the wires.

The damage they do to the car wiring is costing car owners thousands of rands to repair. Chiropractor Paul Mack was on his way to his office when the “check engine” light came on. He took his 2012 Toyota to the workshop. Two hours later he got a phone call. “The mechanic told him, ‘Call your insurance company. You have a rodent infestation,'” Mack said. “I was like are you kidding me?” Rodents chewed through both wiring harnesses, belts and hoses. The repairs cost R 124 000 00.  His insurance company covered most of it. He was even more surprised when he learned what might have made his SUV more attractive to rodents.

A few years ago, car manufacturers started making use of biodegradable, soy-based wiring insulation, because the soy wiring degrades in landfills, unlike older, petroleum-based, plastic-covered wiring. This wasn’t the best decision made, as Soy is food-based, and rodents are attracted to it and are likely to chew on newer wiring. Even worse, automakers are starting to make other car parts, like seat padding with soy materials in an attempt to be more “environmentally friendly”

When he found out soy is being used in the wire coating of many vehicles, Mack said, “Rats probably like it thinking it’s lunchtime. So that can’t be good. Maybe they should rethink what materials they use in insulation.”

A class-action lawsuit by Honda owners might get them to do that. It’s asking that manufacturer to pay for the repairs. The suit covers 2012-2015 Honda’s damaged while still under warranty. One of the plaintiffs bought his car from a Honda dealer.”We open the hood and we know right away. He said the first sign is the rat or mouse poop inside the engine. He found the service bulletin online where Honda recommends using rodent tape in the repair.

“Obviously, they realized these wires are coated with something that attracts them. What’s our fix?
Honda sells rodent-deterrent tape. It’s loaded with capsaicin — chili power. “They’re using the spicy side, I was using the more fragrant side. That’s something I learned from somebody else which has seemed to work,”

In response to the lawsuit, Honda wrote it “cannot possibly be responsible for the normal and natural propensity of rodents to chew anything near them.” Honda filed a motion to dismiss the case.


Content Courtesy of Pest Management Academy – click here for more info on Pest Management training.