Lawsuit Claims Honda Refuses To Fix Vehicles With Soy-Coated Wiring That’s Irresistible To Hungry Critters

If a car’s insides are an appealing snack for mice, squirrels, and rabbits, should the company that made the vehicle pay to fix the soy-coated wiring when those critters throw themselves a feast? The plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against Honda think so, and say the carmaker is refusing to pick up the tab for repairs.

Drivers from three states sued Honda last week for breach of warranty, reports Courthouse News, claiming in the federal class action that the soy-based coatings in 2012-2015 model year Honda vehicles attract hungry critters.

One car owner said he took his 2014 CrossTour to the dealer because the wiring was “shredded through.” But the dealer said the repairs weren’t covered by warranty.

He says the dealer happened across “a live rabbit still chewing through the wiring in [the] vehicle, and provided [the plaintiff] with a photograph of the live animal chewing the wiring in the car,” and that he ended up paying about $765 to fix it.

This wasn’t an isolated incident, the lawsuit says: another plaintiff paid a $500 deductible from a $1,400 bill after some critters gnawed through the steering wiring in his Accord. Again, the lawsuit claims, Honda refused to repair the damage under warranty.

Honda says the soy-based stuff used to coat the wires costs less and is better for the environment because it’s biodegradable.

“Unbeknownst to plaintiffs, however, a real and continuous unintended and undesired consequence of this soy-based insulation material is that it attracts rodents and other animals that are drawn by the soy content of the insulation, and proceed to chew through the insulation and electrical wires that the insulation coats,” the complaint states.

There have been other reports in the media about the issue, the lawsuit points out (including this report of squirrel damage in Oklahoma last year, and a rodent damage story from Toronto in December as well), and claims that Honda is more than aware of the issue.

It “actually sells rodent repellent tape used to wrap electric wiring in order to deal with the propensity of having this wiring chewed through by rodents and other animals attracted to the soy component of the wires,” the complaint says.

The lawsuit is seeking class certification, actual and statutory damages for breach of express warranty and violation of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (which covers consumer product warranties), and creation of a common fund for legal costs and fees.

Class Claims Soy-Based Honda Insulation Is Yummy to Mice [Courthouse News]