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Can a SPIDER really cost you $1,440?!

Hey there!

I have a 2017 Toyota Corolla iM with 20,000 miles, still under warranty but the 2 year Toyota Care just expired 4 months ago.

Recently I took the car to the dealership when the dash indicated there was a collision warning system failure and headlight system failure.

The mechanic wrote:

" During inspection, moisture was found in the SRS computer connector. Found the AK evap box was full of water. Inspection with the bore scope found a spider web clogging the drain tube. Recommending replacement of SRS computer and filter"

All together cost, $1440.96.

Can someone give me some insight on this situation? This seems very unusual if not unlikely.

Thanks for your time, and insight if offered


This is becoming more and more common in more and more vehicles.


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Toyota is aware of the problem, there is an insect repellent drain hose tip that can be installed on the HVAC evaporator drain hose. This problem is considered to from an outside influence and not covered by warranty.

This is the service bulletin for the drain hose tip;

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thanks for the info!

I’m curious why it snot covered by warranty, it seems like a design issue.

Bugs and machinery don’t tend mix with great results.

This guy has a bee painted on the engine housing for his jet. It’s there as a memento from the time some bees decided to start a hive inside the engine while it was parked outside for 2 days. When he started the engine, the bee corpses did almost half a million in damage.

So, yeah, critters can definitely cause significant damage. :wink:

Because the design requires a drain hole. Keeping critters out of openings is difficult, and sometimes impossible. It’s not a design flaw. You just got vandalized by nature.


For decades these drains have always been open, manufactures are now improving on the design.

You can contact Toyota corporate, tell them that you are aware of the service bulletin for the improved drain and ask for assistance for this repair.


Because it’s an act of god.


if the car didn’t have a hood the whole engine would be filled with water when it rained. That’s why they designed a hood.

if its a common problem that bugs get in that line causing thousands of dollars in damage, it seems like that design problem should be addressed.

A spider can cost you your life! It’s happened. :skull_and_crossbones::spider::spider_web: :scorpion: :skull_and_crossbones:

You’re still alive and well! Anyhow, since warranty won’t pay, I would activate the comprehensive coverage on my car insurance policy, for which I’d pay zero (my deductible). Your car was vandalized by a critter.

"Animals can damage your car when it’s inconvenient or least expected, and the damages caused can range from minimal amounts of damage to total losses.

“Regardless of the amount of damage caused, your auto insurance helps provide coverage for these losses if [you carry comprehensive coverage.]”

I hope you have a friendly local agent to call and not an “e-gent”. I know my policy would cover me, but you’ll need to read your policy and talk to your agent about this.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:


A friend used his comprehensive coverage when a fish broke his windshield!

An eagle, flying high overhead and carrying the fish, dropped it on his pick-up truck.
Damage from animals large and small is common, although not all the different types of damage are common. Probably the most common are claims made for damage caused by small animals (mice, squirrels…) gnawing under hood wiring.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

Many moons ago I owned a 1990 Dodge Daytona. I seem to recall that it had a duckbill valve (a kind of one-way valve-see pic) on the HVAC drain outlet. That seems like a simple solution to the problem. Is there a reason these aren’t used more, or at all, nowadays? Maybe they get clogged easily?

No harm to ask at a Toyota dealership for some help. It’s a very new vehicle. Tell them you otherwise like your Corolla and you’d like to feel confident buying a Toyota next time you are looking for a car. Grease the skids a little in other words. I think you’ll probably get a little assistance.

Have you ever heard of a computer “bug”? When the computer fails to work for some weird reason. It’s called that b/c in the early years of computers the machines would stop working for no apparent reason. Finally an engineer discovered that spider had got into the circuit boards and that disturbed the delicate electronics and made the computer crash. So they called it a “bug”.

The dealer wants to collect money, not give it away. The manufacture has deep pockets, that is where assistance can be found.

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Dealerships change hands a lot these days so saying your next vehicle will be the same brand means nothing to the dealer. The dealer did not put the spider in the vehicle so why would they even discount their shop fees . Certainly not going to short the mechanic for this.
The advice about contacting the insurance carrier if the person has full coverage is good.

Yeah… I know it sucks and I can honestly see how someone not familiar with machines would feel this way.

Technically the “problem” could be “solved” I suppose… But once all the spider preventive measures were taken into consideration, reviewed by Toyota engineers, scrutinized by NASA, doctors, lawyers and maybe even a few Entomologists and every single measure for Spider prevention was taken and applied to your vehicles system with great success. What about The Mud Dauber Wasp? How bout Ants? Inch Worms? Caterpillars? Beetles? See where this is going?

Your vehicle system needed a drain…and the mfg installed one with a lot more care than you can ever imagine. The car mfg just cant take every contingency into account nor do they want to.

I would have to agree about insurance…that’s what insurance is for. Lloyds of London was famous for insuring almost anything. Hands, your singing voice etc…

We humans have many “design problems” that nobody is looking to solve… Like our pesky mouths that tend to fill up with water and possibly drown us when we swim underwater or our ears, nose…etc. The idea about your car is somewhat related to this. Nobody is looking to or going to “solve” this and for good reason.


This is what you buy insurance for, unexpected damage that was accidental.

I recall two instances where I “vandalized” my own cars. One time I was quite surprised to see the rear glass exploded out of my Dodge Aries, parked in the driveway. How would it happen? I wasn’t sure, but I had just finished running a heavy-duty weed trimmer along the driveway edge where there are some stones between the asphalt and grass. :wink:

Another time my overly-energetic 4 year-old son (takes after his dad, grandfather, great grandfather, and great, great grandfather) jumped up and down in my parked Fiero and broke the windshield with his head! :stuck_out_tongue:

Stuff happens. Both times my agent found the stories amusing and my glass was promptly replaced at no cost to me.

Take your paid Repair Order to your insurance agent. Expect reimbursement, minus any deductible, of course.

That should do it.
If it doesn’t do it then you need better coverage for next time and /or a better insurance agent/company. And you can chalk up an expensive lesson in “saving money” by buying inadequate/substandard insurance.
:palm_tree: :sunglasses: :palm_tree:

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HUH??? Filled?? Engine would be wet - Yes…but FILLED?


The mechanic wants to replace everything. I don’t see why he doesn’t just dry out the connector, drain the AK evap box and remove the spider web and let it go. I really doubt that all this work is necessary, although it is far more profitable.

Talkabout critter’;s causing problem’s the last diesel truck I owned had two tank’s the fuel pump would pull evenly from both tank’s one day I was cruising down the road with the fuel gauge saying I half full tank’s witch would be 50 gallon’s when I ran out of fuel called the service truck he brought a can of fuel went to dump it in the tank next thing I know he is saying I have a full tank I tell him he is nut’s how can I have a full tank when I ran out of fuel we get to checking thing’s out and discover the other tank is empty so put fuel in that tank use starting fluid and truck fire’s up for some reason it is only pulling fuel from one tank. I took it to thee shop to find out what was going on the mechanic found out the tank was not breathng (his word’s] found each tank had had a small diameter rubber hose about ten inch’es long coming from the top of the tank & hanging down the inside of tank to let air in as fuel was used, He pulled the hose off the bad tank & tryed to blow through it nothing so he put compressed air to & the obstruction came out all it was a maggot.

Is this a typo? Do you mean AC evaporator box?

Which filter ? Is this the owner-replaceable passenger compartment hvac air filter?

What kind of relationship does the air bag system have w/the headlights? Those two systems seem on the surface like they would be independent of each other.

And I wonder why the SRS computer would be located by the car’s design engineers near enough to the AC drain box that a simple drain clog would adversely affect the SRS computer? Is that a common configuration in most cars these days? [I realize OP may not know, but asking the general audience here.]

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