As the weather turns cooler, some car owners are finding that their Honda and Toyota vehicles have become a bed and breakfast for mice and other rodents, thanks to the use of soy-based wiring.
Rodent damage in the electrical systems of Honda and Toyota vehicles containing soy-based wiring – wires with an environmentally friendly soy-based outer coating, that is – is not a new problem, but it is a persistent one. Some owners of vehicles with the specially coated wiring say it attracts rodents to nest in their vehicles and feed on the soy wiring.
Lisa Barrett told Raleigh-Durham’s WRAL that mice feasted on the wires in her truck’s engine to the point that the truck no longer started. Repairs cost her $400.
Such complaints have prompted owners of Honda and Toyota vehicles to file class-action lawsuits. Plaintiffs claim vehicles containing soy-based wires are defective because rodents are drawn to the wiring as a food source. The lawsuits seek to have the car manufacturers pay for replacing and/or repairing the soy-based wires.
According to ABC 7 San Francisco, Jon Linkov, deputy automotive editor at Consumer Reports, said complaints about soy-based wiring in vehicles are not uncommon.
“We’ve noticed lots of complaints about rodents chomping their way through car wires. Causing huge headaches for car owners,” Mr. Linkov said.
“If your car sits in the street or garage for a while, it’s a good idea to often check under the hood for rodent damage,” he said, according to ABC 7. “If you do spot some, you can use rodent tape to install over the damaged wires to protect from future damage. Also, if you do see an area where rodents can come in such as a ventilation area, you can ask your mechanic to install wire mesh.”
To help prevent rodent damage to the electrical system in vehicles, Honda now makes a special electrical tape treated with capsaicin extract from chile peppers.
Some lawsuits claim that the tape, which retails for $30-$40 per 20-metre roll online, is an acknowledgment by Honda of the problem posed by its soy-based wiring.
Consumer Reports says that Honda and Toyota maintain there is no evidence to indicate that the soy-based wiring in their vehicles attracts rodents.
“A Honda spokesman went further saying it’s a long established fact that rodents are drawn to chew on wires – whether in cars or in homes,” Consumer Reports added.