CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Rodent ate my wires

Can you tell what they did and how bad shape I’m in financially? Car starts, when I give it has, nothing happens.

I can see some wires have been chewed through.

So until the wiring harness is opened up to inspect the damage, it’s hard to say how much splicing in new wires will cost.

In the mean time to prevent further damage from rodents, see if a local home center sells something like this.

https://www.menards.com/main/outdoors/gardening/animal-insect-controls/animal-traps-repellents/messinas-reg-rodent-stopper-reg-ready-to-use-repellent-spray-32-oz/p-1444439512206-c-10120.htm?tid=-603975945597557288&ipos=33

Tester

1 Like

Thank you the the response

I’d guess somewhere around 2-4 hour labor, so you’re looking in the neighborhood of $300-$500. There’s a risk that there’s other wires damaged that remain hidden though, and finding those could add quite a bit more to the fee. I’ve heard where a wring harness was damaged b/c of a worn engine mount. The resulting movement rubbed through the wire’s insulation and grounded one of the car’s computer network control lines, which sidelined all the computers in the car. Reading diagnostic codes wasn’t helpful b/c each computer posted a dozen or more unrelated codes. Resetting the codes didn’t work, they all came back when the engine was attempted to be started. The in-car diagnostics wasn’t designed for this problem b/c it relies on the network to be working. For that kind of problem $1000 + just in labor wouldn’t be unheard of.

1 Like

If you have full coverage insurance ( liability - collision - comprehensive ) your first call should be to your insurance agent. This might be one of those times where your deductible is less than a repair charge you have to pay yourself.

1 Like

Great i will do that…im hoping.

I’ve found rodent nests in my engine compartment, but they didn’t eat the wiring: did I have different rodents or different wiring?

1 Like

This is not uncommon and this looks like a easy fix. Just open up the harness and trace the color wires. You need to splice in some small pieces of wire and this problem is solved.

Why did it happen? some wire insulation is derived from soy bean oil, corn oil, or fish oil instead of petroleum. When the wire insulation is made from a tasty source it is going to be an issue. Somehow my 60 year tractor never had this issue. Well that was because the wire insulation was made from oil.

I have had this problem on my 99 dodge truck and 97 Ford truck. On my ford, they chewed the rubber gas tank filler hose in 2 pieces. I was lucky that I did not catch my truck on fire when I went to fill it up and the gas was dumped onto the hot exhaust. I don’t drive these vehicles daily and sometimes not even weekly. I find in the winter time, I park my trucks facing north and leave the hoods up helps cut back on the rats nesting in the engine compartment. Somehow one rat got into the cab on my dodge and chewed up the carpet in places, chewed all the wires under the seat, chewed up a handful of wires in the dash.

I have an amazing cat (named Death Ray) that is a pack rat killing machine. Unfortunately he is one small cat in a large area. I have poison traps in areas around the house, barn, and equipment. If you go this route, you must be very careful as the new poison, there is no antidote for unintended targets like cats and dogs. I use the little plastic boxes designed for rats. I was at my local mechanic shop and he had a 2017 truck in his shop for something similar to your problem. He said that he gets something like this in weekly. He uses a small electric trap that fries the rat like a small electric chair.

1 Like

Honda has had so much trouble with rodents eating wire that are soy based that there has been a TSB on it and the dealers are selling repellent spray.