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2016 ATS-V, 1969 Cougar XR7 Convertible, 1970 GTO, 1970 Torino GT, 2006 XLR
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
A number of car manufacturers have been using soy based materials as wiring insulation. It is cheaper and effective. But, with every solution comes a new unexpected problem. It turns out that cars that are parked outside are becoming a buffet for a variety of critters like squirrels, mice, rats, chipmunks etc. They really like the taste of the insulation. There are reports of Tesla, Lexus, Honda, Infinity and others having wiring chewed through causing thousands of dollars of damage. Manufacturers are not taking responsibility because they say it is not a manufacturing defect, so customers are on the hook to pay for necessary repairs. I do not know what kind of insulation Cadillac uses. I have decided to be proactive though since my V is parked outside all the time and I am in a suburban area. I bet if you lived in NYC you would have major problems. So I did research and I am sharing my countermeasures. I bought a flashing ultrasonic unit ($20) that lives under the hood. Powered by 2 AA lithium ion batteries that last months. I have strategically placed dryer sheets near entry places but not near hot engine parts. I periodically throw mothballs under the car and if it isn't going to be raining for a few days, I establish a perimeter of Pine Sol around the car. Rodents hate all this stuff. So far, no issues. But, maybe this is like the Deer Repel devices. You think they are working until you hit a deer.
Anyway, just thought I would share.
 

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1985 Cadillac Eldorado
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A number of car manufacturers have been using soy based materials as wiring insulation. It is cheaper and effective. But, with every solution comes a new unexpected problem. It turns out that cars that are parked outside are becoming a buffet for a variety of critters like squirrels, mice, rats, chipmunks etc. They really like the taste of the insulation. There are reports of Tesla, Lexus, Honda, Infinity and others having wiring chewed through causing thousands of dollars of damage. Manufacturers are not taking responsibility because they say it is not a manufacturing defect, so customers are on the hook to pay for necessary repairs. I do not know what kind of insulation Cadillac uses. I have decided to be proactive though since my V is parked outside all the time and I am in a suburban area. I bet if you lived in NYC you would have major problems. So I did research and I am sharing my countermeasures. I bought a flashing ultrasonic unit ($20) that lives under the hood. Powered by 2 AA lithium ion batteries that last months. I have strategically placed dryer sheets near entry places but not near hot engine parts. I periodically throw mothballs under the car and if it isn't going to be raining for a few days, I establish a perimeter of Pine Sol around the car. Rodents hate all this stuff. So far, no issues. But, maybe this is like the Deer Repel devices. You think they are working until you hit a deer.
Anyway, just thought I would share.
I’ve been doing basically the same thing for the last year and a half. So far so good.
 

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2004 Deville, Silver, Gone, but not forgotten, 1972 Eldorado, 1974 eldorado, 1975 CDV
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If possible plant lavender around your property the rodents hate the smell and will stay away.
 

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2016 ATS-V sedan 6 speed manual
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My car is parked outdoors (no garage) and has been for the past 4+ years. Squirrels and chipmunks (and no doubt mice) run under the car all the time. The car isn't a daily driver for the most part. I've had no issues and haven't seen any evidence of chewing in the engine compartment or under the car. Maybe the insulation isn't soy or maybe it's not a big deal - I have no idea.

YMMV.
 

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A number of car manufacturers have been using soy based materials as wiring insulation. It is cheaper and effective. But, with every solution comes a new unexpected problem. It turns out that cars that are parked outside are becoming a buffet for a variety of critters like squirrels, mice, rats, chipmunks etc. They really like the taste of the insulation. There are reports of Tesla, Lexus, Honda, Infinity and others having wiring chewed through causing thousands of dollars of damage. Manufacturers are not taking responsibility because they say it is not a manufacturing defect, so customers are on the hook to pay for necessary repairs.

Are these your own personal observations, or where are you finding these reports of wiring problems due to soy-based insulation and warranty denials? Regardless, I've heard of rodents causing damage to wiring harnesses in outdoor vehicles for as long as I've been into cars, so I don't think soy-based insulation has anything to do with it.

Personally, I've never had an issue with wiring being chewed on (knock on wood), despite having multiple cars that sit outside all the time. However, I have seen evidence of chipmunk and/or mouse food stashing and nesting, which prompted me to start using dryer sheets in my cars that are just sitting in the driveway not being driven for extended periods.
 

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Are these your own personal observations, or where are you finding these reports of wiring problems due to soy-based insulation and warranty denials? Regardless, I've heard of rodents causing damage to wiring harnesses in outdoor vehicles for as long as I've been into cars, so I don't think soy-based insulation has anything to do with it.

Personally, I've never had an issue with wiring being chewed on (knock on wood), despite having multiple cars that sit outside all the time. However, I have seen evidence of chipmunk and/or mouse food stashing and nesting, which prompted me to start using dryer sheets in my cars that are just sitting in the driveway not being driven for extended periods.
I've heard of this happening with rats and Bimmers. You'll find lots of instances if you Google BMW and rats eating wiring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey AAAIIC....These are NOT personal observations. Research it on the net and all of this was confirmed by my local Cadillac
 

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2011 CTS4 Coupe, 2014 ELR, 2018 XT5 AWD
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Lots of articles talking about it on the net.
3 types of articles.
1: Mfg. XXX is has a class action lawsuit.
(90% say the suit has been declined.
2: Why rats are destroying your car wiring.
Then the article states that there is no evidence that soy based wiring is more prone to attack by rodents.
3: Does your car have soy based wiring.

The one type of article didn't find is the one where anyone has any scientific evidence that this actully happens.

I would also submit that if this was a real thing that car companies wouldn't stand for it any more than you would.
 

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I've repaired and replaced quite a few rodent chewed harnesses over the years.

I can't say I've seen any dramatic uptick in rodent chews in new cars that use the soy based insulation, and several friends who have worked at dealers for 15-20 years feel the same way; it seems to be about the same amount of rodent chew problems as always, and the majority of those with rodent problems live in rural areas or near wooded areas, creeks, or waterways with ample food and habitat. People in town with rodent chew issues seem to park near dumpsters and garbage cans that aren't secured, or themselves or neighbors leave bags of pet food out where the rodents can easily get into them. Yards with lots of ivy or similar ground cover are another prime candidate for rodent issues.

My feeling is the outcry that "it's the soy based insulation!" is because wiring harness repairs on new cars are extremely expensive and those who are affected want to blame someone else for the rodent problem and want the manufacturer to pick up the repair bill instead of having to pay for it themselves or pay their insurance deductible to fix the damaged harnesses. Having the manufacturers build the wiring harnesses with a deterrent like capsaicin laced harness wrap right at the factory sure would be nice though.

I'd love to see a true scientific test done where rodents are presented with various wiring insulation compositions and see if they actually do have a preference for the soy-based stuff.

Normally, the rodents want a dark place to feel safe and secure to sleep and nest and cache food-- disturb that safe environment and they'll go somewhere else. I've found just leaving the hood partially raised is typically enough to keep them out since they don't feel safe and secure with the hood up.

However, on modern cars not only are there a lot more wires for them to chew on if they get bored, there's typically plastic covers over everything under the hood nowadays-- and those covers give them many more dark safe places to hide and feel secure since they have a cover right over the top of them... and just leaving the hood up on a modern car often isn't enough to keep them away since there are still plenty of hidden spots under plastic covers that leave them good nesting and caching spots.

As far as keeping them out of your engine compartment in rodent-prone problem areas where you might park, the best deterrent I've found is to put several socks packed with mothballs under the hood and leave the hood popped at least 6 inches. Take the socks out before you drive and top up the mothballs often to keep them fresh.

I've had mixed luck with peppermint and lavender oil as is often recommended on the internet.

The ultrasonic stuff is a mixed bag... I've tried a few in problem areas and set up a motion activated night vision capable camera watching the area and the little bastards will often sit down and groom or eat right in front of the ultrasonic emitters.

The capsaicin based wire harness wraps I've tried are quite effective at discouraging them from gnawing on wiring, but it's very, very labor intensive to wrap everything. And while the wrap might keep them from gnawing on the harness it won't keep them out of the engine compartment in the first place nor keep them from gnawing on other things under the hood like windshield washer hoses, AC and heater hoses, the plastic connectors on the wiring that aren't in the capsaicin wrap, etc.

On a seldom used truck I keep outside under a carport, the capsaicin wiring harness wrap was enough to keep the mice and rats from chewing the wiring but you would still see their footprints all over in the dust under the hood and they would still cache food in secluded corners. Putting several socks filled with mothballs under the hood and popping the hood about 6 inches totally eliminated both the footprints and food caching, they moved onto somewhere else they felt safer.
 

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Lots of articles talking about it on the net. 3 types of articles.
1: Mfg. XXX is has a class action lawsuit.
(90% say the suit has been declined.)
2: Why rats are destroying your car wiring.
Then the article states that there is no evidence that soy based wiring is more prone to attack by rodents.
3: Does your car have soy based wiring.

The one type of article I didn't find is the one where anyone has any scientific evidence that this actually happens.

I would also submit that if this was a real thing that car companies wouldn't stand for it any more than you would.
Exactly.
 

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I worked 30 years for the GM division that manufactures wiring harnesses in a variety of managerial engineering positions including " Cable Engineering".
We experienced a serious problem in a large California storage yard. The resolution was to to relocate stray cats to the yard and feed them daily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited by Moderator)
Plasticbeercan just supports my argument that many manufacturers who use soy based insulation are prone to rodent damage. I was informed recently that a friend that lives nearby and lives in a suburban neighborhood recently had wiring damage to wiring around the right front headlamp area of his V.. He remarked that it necessitated the dropping of the bumper to get at the damage damage. It cost him $600. Fairly cheap compared to some horror stories I have heard. Cadillac did not fix this on their dime and neither do other manufacturers. Just because a class action suit failed, does not mean that the manufacturers are not culpable. When was the last time a manufacturer accepted responsiblity for a problem until their feet were held to the fire so to speak? It is not a coincidence, I think, that older vehicle wiring is not facing this problem. Just because there is no internet reinforcement of the fact that rodents are causing significant wiring damage, does not mean it is not happening. I would tend to go by empirical real world experience from people I know first hand not necessarily what I read on the internet..." meet my french boyfriend model. I met him on the internet" :rolleyes: Additionally, you will find tons of misinformation and untruths on social media and the internet. So if a Cadillac service advisor tells me they see many cases of this in their brand and across other brands, I will believe him before what I read on the internet or read on social media. My V sits outside all year long because my classic cars are in the garages. I have begun spraying the ground with Pine Sol and putting down moth balls on the ground and parking the car over them. I have also installed untrasonics and dryer sheets under the hood. Maybe overkill, maybe not. I am not taking any chances. You guys do what you want, roll the dice and believe what you will, but mothballs and Pine Sol are cheaper in the long run than a wiring repair and the aggravation that goes with it. And no, I have not "drank the Kool Aide"
 

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Plasticbeercan just supports my argument that many manufacturers who use soy based insulation are prone to rodent damage.
How so? He didn't say when the problem happened - perhaps it was at the beginning of his 30-year career, so a few decades ago, long before soy wiring was a thing?


It is not a coincidence, I think, that older vehicle wiring is not facing this problem.
:rolleyes: As a number of us have already stated, rodents causing damage to vehicle wiring is not a new thing. If your Cadillac service advisor painted this as a new problem, then they're misinformed, and now they're making you misinformed as well.

With that said, if you want to expend the effort to keep your car rodent free, knock yourself out.
 

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How so? He didn't say when the problem happened - perhaps it was at the beginning of his 30-year career, so a few decades ago, long before soy wiring was a thing?



:rolleyes: As a number of us have already stated, rodents causing damage to vehicle wiring is not a new thing. If your Cadillac service advisor painted this as a new problem, then they're misinformed, and now they're making you misinformed as well.

With that said, if you want to expend the effort to keep your car rodent free, knock yourself out.
I think what's happening with this issue is...yeah, rodents eating wires has been a problem for, like....ever, but with car companies converting to soy-based products for insulation (in the interest of "saving the planet"), the soy based stuff is super tasty to rodents and thus far more attractive than before, whereas the rubber/plastic-based insulation is interesting to them just because chipmunks, rats and so forth like to chew on wiring as a way more as a way to sharpen their teeth rather than because they like eating synthetic rubber products.

I had a problem last year with rats eating ignition harnesses and underhood weatherstrip on one of our Corvettes. I tried all kinds of rat repulsion measures I found on the internet, like plates of depleted cat litter under the engine, spraying wires with ammonia and nothing worked. Even our cat wouldn't go after them–maybe because it was easier for her to meow for a can of cat food–so, I bought two big f'ing rat traps. That worked.
 

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As I said earlier, some of my friends who have worked at various dealers in the shop for 15-20+ years for manufacturers who have recently switched to soy-based insulation have said they have not noticed an increased amount of wiring harness chews coming through the shop after the switch to the soy-based insulation... they say the amount of cars with rodent chews they see in a given month is about the same as it's ever been after the change in insulation. They do say it's more expensive than ever to replace harnesses, because not only are harnesses more complex and more expensive nowadays, but in 90% of the situations they are NOT allowed to repair any harness damage-- they are only allowed to replace the entire harness even if the damage is very minor and can be easily repaired. This is especially true for any SRS related wiring, CANbus related wiring, or shielded wire like crank sensors that get chewed-- that's an immediate harness replacement even if the chew is tiny and the conductors aren't damaged.

Rodents have always loved to chew on wiring, insulation, and weatherstripping if given the chance and environment where they feel safe enough to nest and cache food. The claim that the soy-based wiring is causing a huge uptick in issues certainly sounds good as a basis for a class action lawsuit though. Until I see a few studies performed in lab environments documenting that rodents really do have a preference for the soy-based insulation I'll remain skeptical that this is anything other than a cash grab to pass off the cost of any rodent related wiring damages to the manufacturer rather than the customer paying for it out of pocket or paying their insurance deductible.

Just be glad the car manufacturers are not using certified vegan, low sodium, free trade, and gluten free soy based insulation-- then your car would attract all the insufferable hipster rodents. You know, the ones who were chewing up wiring before it was cool. ;)
 

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Squirrels are another rodent that must constantly nibble to keep their always-growing front teeth trimmed down. Not long ago I watched one chew right through the side of a 1.5" PVC pipe I used as a bird feeder hanger arm. The squirrel caught a bad case of .22 lead poisoning.

 

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Yep, I've had squirrels and rats chew through PVC pipe as well... PVC pipe, ABS pipe, hard rubber construction cones, drip irrigation tubing, etc... they've chewed through it all. Always growing teeth means they always need to chew on something to keep them worn to length and they'll chew on damn near anything that isn't metal. I'm in a semi-rural area surrounded by walnut and cherry orchards and alfalfa fields and have to deal with rodents frequently. Various neighbors frequently lose cable TV/internet service and phone service from squirrel chews on the poles, the linemen are out in the neighborhood at least 2-3 times a week fixing various chews up and down the street. Also had a tree squirrel chew through wood siding of the shop and build a nest inside where the hawks can't get to them.

Last year I had a tomcat plastic rat trap latch break, so the upper jaw closed over the peanut butter that was still in the bait cup. Didn't notice it for a couple of days, and in that time a rat chewed completely through the plastic of the trap to get to the peanut butter hidden inside... left plastic shavings everywhere. Better the trap than something more expensive.
 

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Woods we got - 2 acres of it in the middle of 30 acres - 120 acre farm to the right.

aerial photo.jpg
 
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