Protecting Your Vehicle From Rodent Damage
I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto personal injury lawyer. Rodents sometimes seek shelter by climbing under the hood of a motor vehicle for warmth and comfort. While it may seem like an insignificant issue on the surface, rodents can cause serious damage to a car by chewing on vehicle wires. To learn more on how to protect your vehicle from rodent damage, please read our detailed article below.
Vehicle Materials and Rodent Damage
Some vehicle components may be coated with materials derived from soy compounds. Soy is an alternative for newer model cars today as it is more biodegradable and eco-friendly compared to plastic. Soy wire coverings used today by certain manufacturers may entice rodents to gnaw on your vehicle’s wiring. Rodent-inflicted damage to a motor vehicle can result in a hefty repair bill, especially if the dealership objects to picking up the tab.
Signs of Rodent Damage
Some rodents, especially squirrels, constantly gnaw on objects to relieve them from their teeth continuously growing too long. The telltale sign of rodent-caused damage to a vehicle includes chewed car wires, which can cause serious electrical and mechanical problems. Some other symptoms of rodent damage include a vehicle failing to start or a check engine light coming on. Your vehicle will need to be inspected by a mechanic in order to determine whether rodents were the culprits of the mechanical failure.
Health Risks from Rodent Exposure
Rodents mostly cause vehicle wiring problems, which can increase the risk of serious injury or death in the event of a car accident. In contrast, there are health risks associated with rodent exposure in proximity of your vehicle’s cabin air filter. If a rodent has been in the vicinity of this filter, there is a chance that you may be inhaling their excrement and dander every time you turn on your air. This may also increase the risk of contracting an airborne virus. If you suspect a rodent has been near your cabin air filter, it may be a good idea to have it inspected and replaced for your well-being.
Cleaning Up After Rodent Exposure
Rodents, mice in particular, sometimes consume their own excrement as a source of nutrients (obtained by the bacteria of the compound) for their body. Mice may also mark their territory, feeding spots, escape routes and common routes with urine which can attract more varmints. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests wearing gloves while cleaning rodent droppings and urine. The CDC also recommends spraying excreta with a mixture of water and bleach, one part bleach to ten parts water, and letting the solution soak over the waste matter for five minutes. Use a paper towel to remove the waste and dispose of the materials in the garbage. Be sure to thoroughly disinfect the area of rodent exposure.
Preventing Rodent Damage
Some of the ways in protecting your car from rodents include:
- Keeping a Clean Garage: Rodents are good at hiding, specifically in cluttered environments. By having a messy driveway or garage, these furry critters have more places to hide and find their way inside your car. If you have a messy garage, it is important to organize your belongings by moving any storage or boxes as far away from your vehicle as possible. While doing so, keep an eye out for signs of rodent presence such as shredded pieces of material or cardboard and feces.
- Hide Pet Food: Pet food, particularly dog food, is considered a holy grail to the rat society. Rats may stash away pet food in empty spaces of your car such as the glove compartment or air filter. Remember to hide and secure your pet food out of reach of rodents as a safety precaution.
- Leave the Hood Up: If your vehicle is parked in your garage for extended periods of time without being driven, a good way of discouraging rodents from seeking a dark place to nest is leaving your hood open. Although this idea may assist in discouraging rodent nesting, it is not a definite resolution.
- Remove Rodent Hiding Places: Cutting down nearby vines and shrubbery is a good way of kicking rodents to the curb from their preferred hiding spots.
- Use Traps: The old-fashioned way of freeing yourself from rodent trouble is by using traps. Some examples include cage traps, glue traps, and rodenticide. Although toxic baits exterminate rats over time, keep in mind that they are also considered a hazard as they can poison pets and domestic animals.
Can Insurance Cover Rodent Damage?
The answer depends on the coverages you opted in for as part of your automobile insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused to your vehicle that was not the result of a traffic accident. Comprehensive protection includes damages such as theft, vandalism, animals, flood or fire. This coverage pays to have your vehicle repaired less the deductible you select, which is typically an out of pocket payment of $500 or $1000. Comprehensive is an optional coverage and must be requested to equip on an insurance policy. If you are unsure whether you are protected under comprehensive coverage, contact your auto insurance agent or read your car insurance declaration page.
Class Action Lawsuits
Various class action lawsuits have been filed against Japanese automakers, Honda and Toyota, for their use of soy-based material coverings for wires in their manufactured vehicles. The lawsuits claim that the automakers should be held responsible for the cost of repairs. Since Honda has released a product intended to prevent rodent damage, the “Honda 4019-2317 Rodent Tape”, the lawsuits also claim that the manufacturer has acknowledged the defective nature of their soy-derived vehicle materials.
Auto Products Liability
The statutes of limitation for product liability in California is two years, meaning that a claim must be filed within two years after discovery if the product resulted in injuries or death. Filing a claim against an automaker for defective vehicle design, manufacturing and marketing can be extremely stressful without the aid of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Modesto. An attorney with years of experience can guide you through the claims process and obtain fair restitution for resulting damages.
Related Articles by Law Offices of Edward A. Smith:
- Auto Insurance Recommendations
- Car Insurance Premium Factors
- Questions and Answers about Auto Insurance
Personal Injury Lawyers in Modesto
I’m Ed Smith, a Modesto personal injury lawyer. Automobile accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries to those affected. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you may call me locally at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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