Rodents eating plant-based car wires

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squirrel eating wires
Photo credit: Davina Fisher

APPLE VALLEY — The California Endangered Species Act lists the Mohave Ground squirrel as a “threatened species” but I question this classification since my yard is overrun with them — including my car. I recently had to take it into the shop for repairs due to rodents chewing through wires in the engine.

Why are they eating wires?

Besides the barren landscape, rodents may be drawn to car wires made of soy, peanut oil, rice husks, and various plant-based materials. The wires may produce a faint vanilla smell when it’s warm, which can make car wires appetizing for rodents to chew.

The Kia Soul, Sorrento, Sedona, Sportage, and Cadenza have soy-based wiring. Hyundai also introduced “eco-friendly” soy-based wiring into their Veloster, Accent, Elantra, Genesis Coupe models. In 2016, a class-action lawsuit was filed in California against Toyota claiming the company should cover — under warranty — damage from rodents chewing through insulation for wiring that is now soy-based versus petroleum-based.

How to Keep Them Out

The car shop — Autoworks Specialists Of Apple Valley, gave me two recommendations for keeping the squirrels out of my engine.

#1: Spray ammonia around where the car is parked

Take ammonia and spray it around your car everyday for about seven days. The smell will keep any rodent away.

#2: Leave the Hood Open

The idea is to keep them from getting comfortable inside the engine.  They will not try to nest in there with the hood open.

Fortunately, I haven’t had any more issues with my engine wires. Let me know what you do to keep rodents out.


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