Rats in my car!

I recently acquired a beautiful Infiniti Q50S for personal transportation and business endeavors. I took possession at the end of November and other than an annoying hum coming from the cabin, everything had been working flawlessly.

Not even weeks old and its already being towed away.

As Murphy’s law would have it, Tuesday which is typically a very busy day for me, filled with meeting and visits all over the city, in fact I had a very important one at 2 PM in Arlington, I graved my favorite mug ready for the day, headed to my vehicle and hit the start button…

I got the most ominous message, “Chassis control Failure – Read Manual” followed by another “General failure – Park immediately.”

Q50 Dashboard Malfunction.
Dashboard of my car lighting like a Christmas tree. Fitting for the holidays.

Let me tell you… nothing puts a dent in your Christmas joy like this… or a post-it note on your computer monitor that says “Come to see me” signed by your boss.

Called Infiniti Customer Relations, very pleasant lady lets me know it will be about an hour for a tow truck to be sent my way. I start sending emails, and text messages canceling meetings and going on DEFCON 5 mode.

Enjoyable ride to downtown Dallas, close to Lovefield on the tow truck by a charismatic driver, we arrived at Sewell Infiniti of Dallas… receive my loaner and proceed to try to salvage the day. Then… the call.

“Hi, this is so and so, you were not kidding when you said there are Gremlins in the car, as it turns out a rodent chewed through your main injectors wiring harness and it will need to be completely replaced. Unfortunately, the damage is not covered by the warranty and we have not finished with the assessment but for the wiring harness alone, we are looking into 3,000 to 4,000 dollars in repairs.”

OK… so now Christmas is nearly dead for me.

As I go through my list of options, one of which includes selling everything, getting a good pair of hiking boots and an Osprey Aether, and spend the next five years on the Appalachian Trail, and then maybe become a Himalayan Sherpa, I decided to write this to warn my readers to be careful with your vehicles.

Apparently, according to my service writer and what I have researched on the interwebs, this issue is very common. It is so common indeed that it became a Reddit trending topic and Ford, GM, Honda, Toyota, and Subaru have issued Technical Service Bulletins (TSB) to their technicians instructing them on how to remedy chewed wiring harnesses (Consumer Reports, 2017).

Comically enough, a TSB from Honda suggest covering the wires with a “Rodent deterrent tape” which is your unordinary electrical tape that has been treated with super spicy capsaicin that Honda described as “the stuff that puts the fire in a bowl of five-alarm chili.” It even has a part number (4019-2317) and offered through its dealers for about $36 for a 20 meter roll.

By the way, there are currently various federal class action suits VS Honda, Toyota and surely more to come because as it turns out… several car manufacturers in all their wisdom and lack of foresight decided to use a soy-based coating on their 2012-2015 models. Basically… these car manufacturers decided that it would be a great idea to cover wires with what is essentially peanut butter to rodents.

Solutions to this issue abound, including letting your dogs and cats pee on the garage and parking areas floors, or even buying crystalized red fox urine, keeping the parking area well-lit with an intermittent light, and so on.

Repairs on these damages are incredibly expensive, not covered by any warranty and might or might not be covered by your comprehensive insurance.

So friends… you’ve been warned.