Rats eating wires in cars leads to big repair bills - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rats eating wires in cars leads to big repair bills

Pictured: Not a real rat (Source: WMC Action News 5) Pictured: Not a real rat (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Drivers are facing a gnawing problem that’s leading to big repair bills.

"It could be a rat chewing up your wires,” Kenny Myers of Auto Nation Wolfchase said. "The customers that come in don't believe us."  

Ralph Palumbo believes it. He has spent thousands of dollars on repairs to his vehicles after rats started chomping.

"You go around saying, ‘death to those pack rats.’"   

"Fifty or sixty dollars, that's not so bad,” Myers said. “We're up to about $3,500 in damages."   

The complaints start like this:

"Customers bring their cars in and have a check engine light on. They don't know what's going on. It could just not be running right." Myers said. "We lifted the car up and out jumped a rat and went scampering out into the field."

Myers said there was also a rat’s nest with two babies inside the engine compartment.

"They get in the engine compartment. They'll start chewing wires. Next thing you know, you could have a big problem. I've been in the business over 40 years and I've seen it hundreds of times."

Consumer reports said it has been getting more complaints about rats sharpening their teeth on wires or hoses. It is believed the problem is increasing because newer cars have biodegradable materials to reduce waste.

There is one product consumer reports found that may solve any rat problem. It is TSB rodent deterrent tape that is treated with a really hot spice: capsaicin, an ingredient in chili peppers--hot enough to chase off any rat. 

Other suggestions to solve a rat problem is installing a metal mesh around your wiring and rubber hoses and any openings where rodents could crawl into your ventilation and intake systems. Another suggestion: put strobe lights around your vehicle.

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