North Texas

Consumers Sue Automakers Over Eco-Friendly Material Issues

Auto manufacturers' efforts to go green may have gone too far for some car owners. Customers say rodents ate their car wires coated with soy-based materials, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

This week, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of thousands of Toyota owners. Honda is facing a similar lawsuit.

Some car manufacturers wrap wires under the hood in a soy-based material to reduce waste. But we've found numerous technical service bulletins from a number of car manufacturers instructing mechanics on how to fix chewed wires, and it's the car owners who have to foot the bill.

Rupert Welch couldn't believe the reasons for his car troubles, which he experienced not once, not twice, but three times over the course of a few weeks.

"I took the car back, but the next day all the lights went on and the car wouldn't start, and I had to call the tow truck," Welch said.

The lawsuit against Toyota alleges it incorporates soy- or bio-based ingredients in the wiring that baits rodents.

"Toyota is refusing to repair these cars under warranty. These are expensive repairs. There are real damages here, and we're trying to get as a minimum these cars repaired under warranty," said Benjamin Johns, the attorney representing the class action lawsuit.

Honda wouldn't comment on the pending litigation but said that rodents are drawn to chew on wiring in homes, cars or anywhere else, and it significantly predates the introduction of soy-based wiring by several decades.

Toyota adds that it occurs across the industry and is not brand or model specific.

Welch's mechanic wrapped tape around his wires as a deterrent and read that spraying peppermint spray acts as a deterrent as well.

Some insurance companies cover this, but you're still on the hook for the deductible. It may be a good idea to look to see if you have coverage for such an incident.

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