A federal class action lawsuit representing vehicle owners in three states claims soy-based electrical wire coatings have caused rats, mice, rabbits, and squirrels to munch on Honda engines like snacks, causing severe and costly damage.
Lead plaintiff Daniel Dobbs, a Wyoming resident, and owners of Honda vehicles in Texas and Arizona sued Honda earlier this year for breach of warranty, alleging the biodegradable, food-based wire coatings Honda used in 2012-2015 model-year vehicles are defective in their design. The plaintiffs say Honda refuses to cover the repairs.
Another plaintiff, Arizona resident Greg Delaney, took his ’14 Honda CrossTour to have wires that were “shredded through” repaired. Mechanics found “a live rabbit still chewing through the wiring in Mr. Delaney’s vehicle, and provided Mr. Delaney with a photograph of the live animal chewing the wiring in the car.”
The repair wasn’t covered by warranty and Mr. Delaney had to pay $765 to have the damaged wiring replaced.
As odd as they may seem, such cases are not flukes, the plaintiffs claim. A Honda Accord belonging to plaintiff Sean Rickard of Texas sustained $1,400 in damaged wires that had been chewed. After the repairs were made and the plaintiff paid for them out of pocket, he witnessed “a rabbit resting underneath the car and chewing the wiring from that location closest to the ground without breaching the engine compartment.”
According to the lawsuit, “Mr. Rickard noticed that the wiring harness had been chewed through again at approximately the same spot.”
Like more than a dozen other automakers, Honda started using soy-based plastics to cover its wiring because they are cheaper and more environmentally friendly than traditional petroleum-based plastics.
“Unbeknownst to plaintiffs, however, a real and continuous unintended and undesired consequence of this soy-based insulation material is that it attracts rodents and other animals that are drawn by the soy content of the insulation, and proceed to chew through the insulation and electrical wires that the insulation coats,” the class action complaint explains.
The plaintiffs say Honda is well aware that the soy-based wiring it uses attracts rodents and other animals because it “actually sells rodent repellent tape used to wrap electric wiring in order to deal with the propensity of having this wiring chewed through by rodents and other animals attracted to the soy component of the wires.”
According to Courthouse Nws Service, the plaintiffs “seek class certification, actual and statutory damages for breach of express warranty and violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, and creation of a common fund for legal costs and fees.”
Source: Courthouse News Service