Several automakers are now choosing “green” insulation coverings in vehicles, which they believe are more environmentally friendly. But, such design, although friendlier to the planet, is proving to be a headache for consumers. These soy-based insulation covers are attracting rats and other animals who chew through the “tasty” wiring causing vehicles to stall or malfunction. The Newport Beach law firm of Bisnar Chase has filed a class action lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. on behalf of a client who has suffered similar losses.
Soy-Based Insulation Causes Infestation
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Central District of California, the plaintiff, Albert Heber, had the soy-based insulated wiring in his 2012 Toyota Tundra chewed by rodents three times. It happened for the first time around October 2013. It had been barely 10 months since he purchased the truck. Heber took his Tundra to the dealership because the “check engine” light came on. The dealership determined there was rodent damage to the vehicle’s EVAP tube, but declined to fix it at no cost saying it wasn’t covered under the warranty.
Barely eight months after the first incident, the rats were feasting on the gas tank harnesses. He paid out of pocket this time to get the vehicle repaired. A year later, he found himself in the same situation again. Once again, the dealership told him the vehicle was not covered under the warranty for this problem and that he would have to pay out of pocket. This time, Heber took the vehicle to a third party to get it repaired. So, eventually, he had to pay out of his own pocket for a problem that occurred because of defective design and unsuitable materials used by the automaker.
Toyota’s Refusal to Take Action
The plaintiff also contacted Toyota, but they took absolutely no action to help him or replace the damaged wiring. It is interesting to note that Heber is not alone in his experience. A number of consumers have reported similar problems with soy-based insulation covers. In fact, automakers such as American Honda Motor Company, who also use soy-based wiring, came out with a special electrical tape that has a capsaicin (the active component of chili peppers) coating to deter rats from chewing on and eating the wiring.
So, manufacturers are well aware of the problem. They know it’s caused by decisions they made in terms of vehicle design. However, they refuse to take responsibility for it. We hope our class action lawsuit helps shine a light on this issue and encourages manufacturers to do the right thing and pay for these damages instead of unfairly passing down the cost of their mistakes to consumers.