Placing dryer sheets in and around the vehicle is an effective way to help rodents away from doing damage to the wiring. James Halderman photo

Reader has questions about rodent damage

Wheels:

Tom L. writes: “For the third time my car is in the shop with significant rodent damage to the wiring harnesses in the engine. This time to the tune of thousands. Come to find out for some time now this has become epidemic in the industry. Why? The stupid automakers, to save money under the guise of being environmentally friendly, have been using soy-based wiring covers instead of petroleum-based products. The soy-based, however, is a feast for rodents. Is there anything a vehicle owner can do to prevent this type of damage?”

Halderman:

You are correct, Tom, that many vehicle manufacturers are now using soy-based wiring insulation. The reason is the European Union has mandated that the vehicle manufacturer, not the owner of the vehicle, is responsible for the “end-of-life” disposal of the vehicle. Plastic wiring insulation is very difficult to separate from the copper wiring, so plant-based materials are used instead.

To help prevent rodent damage, try the following suggestions:

  • Avoid parking a vehicle in a closed space where there is also pet food. Once a rodent gets access to a food source, they go looking for other foods in the area.
  • Store dog or cat food, as well as bird seed, in a different area from where the vehicle is parked.
  • Try using an electronic device that emits a sound only the rodent can hear to keep them away from the vehicle.
  • Place dryer sheets inside the vehicle and several places under the hood. These have a pleasant odor to people, but rodents don’t like the smell and will not stay around.

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