Chewed wires? How to keep rodents out of your engine

CHARLOTTE — Rodents have been chewing on car wires for decades, but it continues to happen even as cars become more advanced.

It can be expensive to fix, inconvenient, and even dangerous.

“I had driven it to a local business and parked it and it burst into flames in the parking lot,” Nancy Mosier told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. “That’s a horrible feeling. To stand there and to watch your car go up and you’ve got no help.”

Mosier says the insurance adjuster said rodents had chewed the wires.

She says animals got inside her other vehicle too. She took it to a mechanic. “They’re the ones that pulled the wires and said, ‘Yeah, you’ve got a problem here and it’s probably squirrels,’” she said.

She says her neighbor is having the same problem with a much newer car.

Mosier says she tried a few things to keep rodents away such as parking along her street, which is much noisier than her driveway.

Stoogenke learned that many companies started using wires with soy-based coating in recent years. It’s better for the environment and less expensive. But apparently, critters like to gnaw on those even more.

Stoogenke came across lawsuits against various automakers for this issue, but in many cases, the judge threw out the suits, saying they were too thin.

Stoogenke emailed seven car companies about this issue. Most point out it happens across the industry, not just to one brand. None would confirm that soy-based coating has anything to do with the problem.

Advice from Action 9:

- Try not to leave your vehicle sitting for more than a few days at a time.

- Try moth balls under the hood (but keep them away from moving parts).

- Spray hot sauce or mint on the wires.

- Buy rodent repellent tape. Stoogenke found it on Amazon for about $20.

(VIDEO: Two major insurers refusing to cover older Hyundais and Kias, according to reports)