Mechanics say soy in car wiring attracts munching mice, so Honda created a solution
9:39 PM, Nov 6, 2013
11:41 AM, Nov 7, 2013
JUPITER, Fla. - A costly car repair caused by a critter? It seems far fetched, and that's why drivers are calling the Consumer Watchdog for answers.
"I bought this hoping it would be my last vehicle," David Fowler said of his 2012 Toyota Tundra.
With just 17,000 miles on it, Fowler couldn't believe why his engine wasn't running right.
"I said I don't believe you. The mechanic said 'Yes, a rodent ate your wire,'" Fowler recalled.
That's right, a mouse nibbled through wires in Fowler's engine.
"I never heard of this before, and I think it's just a way to get money out of the consumer," said Fowler.
Mechanics say it's a common reaction.
"In one case I had to show the woman the rat droppings inside the engine compartment so she would believe me," said mechanic Jorge Goyanes.
Goyanes said he sees cars with wires chewed through a few times a year.
"We've got some bite marks there," said Goyanes.
Mice are known to eat peanut butter and cheese, but wires? Some mechanics believe it's because of the coating on the wires. A coating made with soy as a key ingredient.
It's a more environmentally friendly product with the unintended consequence of attracting some of the most unwanted pests.
"Apparently they are attracted to the soy so it's like ready made food," said Goyanes.
While it's a problem impacting many manufacturers, Honda is turning up the heat adding a spicy chemical to its wire tape so the mice will find another dinner spot.
"They know it and say it happens all the time. Then they should cover it. It should be covered under warranty," Fowler said.
Fowler complained to Toyota and says he got reimbursed for the $600 repair.
He's still not convinced a mouse feasted on his car, though.
"I don't live out in Timbuktu. I live here in Jupiter," said Fowler.
Fowler isn't taking any chances. He doesn't want another uninvited dinner guest.
"I was so pissed off about it when I got my truck back. I went out and put rat traps around my truck. Peanut butter and cheese around and my wife said ok now you are getting carried away," said Fowler.
The easiest thing is to grab a flashlight every once in a while and look around for damage and droppings. If your mechanics says a mouse ate your car -- ask them for proof!