The Consequences of “Going Green”
Honda switched to a soy-based coating for their wiring that is more biodegradable. It sounds like a pro-Earth move by the automaker, but the real reason is probably a little less triumphant: the coating costs less than plastic. Still, less plastic in the landfill is always a good thing.
But like most good things, they come with consequences.
In this case, that consequence is passed on to the consumer who suddenly finds themselves with an engine full of rodent-friendly chewing material. You see, the soy-coating seems to be attracting rabbits, mice, and other rodents to use as a chew-toy and nesting material.
To be fair, Honda isn’t the only automaker to make this switch or to have this problem.
Rodent damage can be a costly and frustrating expense
A Honda mechanic told CTWatchDog.com that he sees more than 100 vehicles per year with rodent damage to the electrical systems. The repair costs can start at $50, but quickly balloon to $1,000, or — in the worst case he’d seen — $3,000.
“"The soy products now used to create the wire insulation concerns me a great deal. This weekend my wife was driving our car, a 2010 Honda Accord, and while on the road the car started to shake and stutter violently, and would not accelerate. After having our car towed to the dealership, there was evidence that a rodent of some type had chewed on the cables. — 2010 Accord Owner”
There are a few things you can do to prevent rodent damage:
- Regularly open the hood and inspect your engine for signs of rodent activity (so, poop)
- When you move the car, look for any shredded pieces of wire coating or other material that looks like a nest that might have fallen out.
- Clean all food out of your car, including food sealed in bags. This is especially important for dog food and treats.
- Some have had success with putting mothballs, dryer sheets, or liquid peppermint in their engine compartments.
- Wrap your electrical wiring in something rodents can’t stand.
Honda’s spicy rodent tape
Unlike other automakers, Honda does seem to acknowledge this issue and offer a solution in the form of electrical tape treated with capsaicin. That’s the same stuff found in hot peppers that turns chili into five-alarm chili.
The tape is available for purchase through dealerships (part number 4019–2317) and costs about $36 for a 20-meter roll.
Honda Soy-Coated Wiring Lawsuit
A lawsuit says the soy-coated, environmentally friendly electrical wiring that Honda has been using is irresistible to rabbits, mice, and other rodents.
The lead plaintiff says his 2014 CrossTour’s wiring had been used as a chew toy. When he brought his car in for service, the mechanic found a rabbit living in the engine compartment. Can you blame the little guy? Free rides, something to gnaw on, and a warm place to hang out isn’t a bad deal.
When the mechanic said the repair would cost $765, however, the rabbit hopped out on his portion of the bill.
The lawsuit says:
- Honda refuses to pay for repairs because the wiring isn’t a “safety defect”, which is debatable.
- Honda knows about the issue, but still makes owners pay for the tape which can help prevent it.
Vehicles Named in the Lawsuit
The lawsuit paints a wide swath over the 2012–2015 model years. So that means the Accord, Accord Hybrid, Accord Plug-in Hybrid, Civic, Civic Hybrid, CR-V, CR-Z, Crosstour, Fit, Fit EV, HR-V, Insight, Jazz, Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline.
“The 2015 Honda vehicles have a “green” product that consist of fuel lines and various wiring that has a soy based composition. Rodents are eating the fuel lines and wiring because of the soy based ingredient. I know of numerous vehicles that have leaked gasoline due to the damage caused by rodents.” — 2015 Honda Accord owner
Actions You Can Take
This step is crucial, don't just complain on forums! The sites below will actively manage your complaints and turn them into useful statistics. Both CarComplaints.com and the CAS will report dangerous trends to the authorities and are often called upon by law firms for help with Class Action lawsuits. Make sure to file your complaint on all three sites, we can't stress that enough.
Step 1: File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com
CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases. Add a Complaint
Step 2: Notify the Center for Auto Safety
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits. Notify the CAS
Step 3: Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues. Report to NHTSA