Starting in the early 2000’s, car manufacturers began using bioplastics* (e.g. soy based wiring) in cars. They state their reasoning was in an effort to reduce dependency on petroleum and to “go-green.” In reality, bioplastics are cheaper to produce.
*Note: For more information, see Bioplastics In Cars
It is very common nowadays for newer cars to have wiring that is coated in soy based bioplastics. This has led to a surge of issues with wildlife, particularly rodents, being attracted to these wires for consumption. Now, not only are rodents attracted to the cars for shelter, but also for food.
In researching this, I was blown away by the number of complaints on websites, articles and forums of people reporting rodent damage on their newer cars. To be honest, both of my cars that were attacked are newer (2015 Honda, $2,400+ in damages, and 2012 Hyundai, $9,300+ in damages).
So, are you at risk? Does your car have soy based wiring?
In order to help determine, there are class action lawsuits that were recently filed against Honda, Toyota, KIA, and Hyundai. Here is a list of each class action lawsuit (including some links to more information):
- Albert Heber vs. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
- Janice Toler vs. Toyota Motor Corporation & Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
- Daniel Dobbs et al. v. American Honda Motor Co. Inc.,
- Tsvetelin Tsonev v. Kia Motors America Inc.
- Darla Campbell, Tristin Hibler, and Michael Leppert, et. al., v. Kia Motors America, Inc.
- Michelle Martinez v. Hyundai Motor America, Inc.
From the lawsuits, we can gather that at least the following have soy based wiring:
- All 2012-2016 model year Toyota vehicles
- 2011 Toyota 4Runner
- 2009-2011 Toyota Camry
- 2010 Toyota Prius
- 2011 Toyota Prius C
- 2008-2011 Toyota RAV4
- 2009-2011 Toyota Tundra
- 2009 Toyota Highlander
- 2010 Toyota Venza Ltd.
- All 2012-2015 model year Honda vehicles
- 2012-2017 Kia Soul
- 2012-2017 Sorrento
- 2012-2017 Sedona
- 2012-2017 Sportage
- 2012-2017 Forte
- 2012-2017 Cadenza
- 2012-2017 Optima
- 2012-2017 Rio
- 2013-2016 Veloster
- 2013-2016 Accent
- 2013-2016 Azera
- 2013-2016 Elantra
- 2013-2016 Equus
- 2013-2016 Genesis Coupe
- 2013-2016 Santa Fe
- 2013-2016 Sonata
- 2013-2016 Tuscon
I have also seen numerous complaints that reference earlier makes and models than what is referenced above.
Separately, I have seen reports of rodent damage due to soy based wiring on pretty much every large car manufacturer:
- …and I’m sure there’s many more
To be frank, this is a HUGE ISSUE!!
So to answer the question, “are you at risk?”, if your car is 2008 or newer, then YES! I think the evidence can’t be any more clear that if you own a newer car you need to take preventative action ASAP!
If you are reading this article, I could imagine either you are dealing with this issue or you have a friend that has rodent damage to their car. Here is an excerpt from the Home page (w/ edits for mice) that will tell you exactly what I have done to fix this problem:
“Before we get started I want to make it crystal clear that the instructions below explain the EXACT steps and products I used (and continue to use!) to successfully protect my car against rodents. This methodology factors in rodent behavior and psychology which makes for a very high probability of success.
Exactly How To Prevent Rats & Mice From Eating Your Car Wires
What you will need:
- Tomcat Rat Snap Traps (6 traps per car) – For Rats
- Tomcat Press ‘N Set Mouse Traps (6 traps per car) – For Mice
- Rodent Defense (i.e. peppermint oil spray)
- Bright Light (4 Flashlights or 1 Shop Light)
- Optional: Fake Owl
Step 1: Leave Your Hood Up At Night
At the first sign of damage or rodent droppings in the engine compartment, it is essential to leave your hood up at night. You should do this for the first 1-2 weeks every night and then 2-3 times a week once you feel comfortable that there are no more rodents visiting your car. This essentially eliminates the engine compartment as a potential nesting grounds by taking away the warmth, allowing more moisture to enter, and exposing it to more light.
You will need 6 snap traps total and 3 will be placed at specific locations on the tread of the front 2 tires. Here is video to show exactly where to place the snap traps.
When rodents enter the car, they climb up the tread of the tires so this essentially will block off the entrance to the car. I use the Tomcat Rat Snap Traps and the Tomcat Press ‘N Set Mouse Traps because they are super easy to set (i.e. I don’t feel like I am going to lose a finger when I set them), their design makes it almost impossible for a rodent to take the bait without setting off the trap, and they get the job done!
Step 3: Spray Rodent Defense into the Engine Compartment
In the first 1-2 weeks, spray the engine compartment 3-4 times a week and then reduce to 2-3 times week once you haven’t noticed any new signs of rodents. Rodent Defense is an all natural peppermint spray that was specifically created to deter rodents from chewing on the wires in cars. The purpose of the spray is to confuse the rodent on the safety of the engine compartment by making it more difficult to detect the scent of their urine. As mentioned above in the enemy profile, rodents use urine as a way to mark paths, locations, food, etc., as safe.
Step 4: Shine Bright Lights on the Tread of the Front Two Tires
As mentioned in the enemy profile, rodents always prefer to stay concealed and hate being in the light. The goal of this solution is to deter the rodent from climbing up the tread of the tires by forcing it to walk through a spotlight to get into the car. It would be best if you laid out 4 flashlights on the ground level and shined them on the front and backs of the tread (i.e. essentially you would shine them on the snap traps that are at the bases of the tread). Alternatively, you could take a shop light and shine that under the car at night.
(Optional) Step 5: Place Fake Owl on the Ground Near the Car
This is more the cherry on top, but I have always used a fake owl in my lineup. You can just place it at ground level and move to a different spot every few days. To be honest, it’s effectiveness is unknown, but it makes me feel more comfortable.”
I am certainly available if anyone has any questions or comments. Please drop a note below or visit the Contact Us page.
I hope that you have found this article to be helpful! Thank you!!
Rat King Dave