A Reddit user almost got hit by his mother’s car because the brakes weren’t working.
When they popped open the hood, they found a pair of eyes (and some big buck teeth) staring back at them. As it turns out, a furry marmot had chewed through the car’s brake lines.
That story, posted two years ago on the popular internet forum, launched an entire thread about the damage rodents can do to cars.
Experts say it’s not uncommon for four-legged troublemakers to chew on wiring, hoses and other car parts. They can do some serious damage, too.
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As car companies try to please customers by making their vehicles more environmentally friendly, they may also inadvertently be luring rodents under the hood of your car.
People are suing car-maker Honda for using soy-based, biodegradable wire coating, which is apparently irresistible to rats, mice, rabbits and squirrels, according to Consumerist.
Honda isn’t the only brand accused of catering to rodents. A forum about this issue names Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi and dozens of others.
The same thing happened in the mid-1940s, only that time animals were attracted to license plates made from compressed soybeans and fiberboard, according to NBC.
“They come to the recently driven cars for warmth, and once they’re there, they find that many of the materials used for coating ignition cables are soy-based, and the rabbits find that quite tasty,” Wiley Faris, a spokesman for Arapahoe Autotek, told the Los Angeles Times after rabbits chewed up wires in cars parked at Denver International Airport in 2013.
So, how can you protect your car from tiny teeth?
- Before you buy a car, ask what type of coating the manufacturer uses. Avoid soy-based coatings if possible.
- If you already own a car with soy-based coating, Consumer Reports suggests wrapping your car’s wiring with rodent-deterrent tape, which has been flavored with capsaicin, the active component in chili peppers.
- Toss a rubber snake under your vehicle, pilot Robert Favuzza told CBS4 Denver after rabbits at Denver International Airport messed with his car.
- Leave the hood up, suggests AxleAddict. This technique may discourage rodents from nesting or sleeping in your vehicle.
- Coat your car’s wires in fox or coyote urine, which can be found at most hunting shops, Faris told the Los Angeles Times.