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Eco-Friendly Vehicle Wiring: Food for Rodents?

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Jan. 5, 2018—A recent story produced by Portland, Ore., TV station KGW.com has shined the light on a growing auto industry issue: rodents chewing on the electrical wiring of newer model vehicles.

The Oregon media outlet noted that a local woman, Mary Rait, recently brought her 2008 Toyota Prius into a repair shop only to learn that the hybrid vehicle had sustained $800 in damage due to rodents chewing through electrical wiring.

“Once I got over that shock,” Rait told the TV station, “I Googled it and found a bunch of different stories about people having these repeated issues.”

Jim Houser of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in the Portland area said he sees rodent-related damage consistently, and said he especially tends to see such damage on Toyotas, Hondas, and Mazdas.

Some mechanics theorize that newer model cars use soy-based insulation in the wires—which is biodegradable and more appetizing to rodents than traditional petroleum-based electrical insulation. The Oregon TV station discovered that many car owners have discovered rats under their hood after smelling foul odors; rodents had gotten into their cars via their ventilation systems.  

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