RATS and mice snacking on plastic bits of cars are responsible for about 200 insurance claims a year, a special investigation by WhichCar can reveal.
Statistics provided by insurance group Suncorp – the owner of car-related brands including AAMI, APIA and GIO – has revealed wayward rodents have consistently chewed through plastic parts on cars for the last five years.
And it appears their diet is quite varied, too.
Suncorp spokesman Michael Mills told WhichCar that in most instances where an animal had caused damage under the bonnet, it appeared rats were the ones responsible.
“Rats are the prime culprits,” Mills said. “They chew things and they like to nest under the bonnet.”
According to Mills, chewed wiring – where the animals strip the plastic insulation off the hundreds of wires that control modern car engines - was the most common cause of damage. However, other examples of damage include:
● Chewing the rubber around the rear tail shaft
● Eating through brake lines
● Chewing the plastic off spark plugs
● Chewing a hole in the windscreen washer water reservoir
● Chewing through the brake fluid reservoir
● Chewing radiator hoses and fuel lines
Mills said rats and mice would also sometimes get inside the car, and munch on seatbelts and upholstery.
Sometimes it was not until the owner had jumped in behind the wheel before they had noticed there was a problem.
“Customers have reported a wide range of symptoms including cars not starting, airbag warning lights and other warning lights going on, air conditioning not working property, brakes not working and vehicles unable to accelerate properly,” he said. One customer reportedly only found out that rats had attacked her brake hoses after the brakes failed and she crashed her car.
Mills said Suncorp encouraged car owners to regularly check over their vehicles “to ensure they are well maintained and in good condition”.
“These types of claims are more prevalent in the winter months, so keep a particular look out at when the temperature cools,” he said. “If the car is in a garage, ensure your garage is inspected whenever you have your home inspected for pests.”
How are you finding our new site design? Tell us in the comments below or send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FWD vs RWD vs AWD – which is the safest kind of car?
With so many drivetrains in the market to choose from, powering either the front wheels, the rear wheels, or both ends... which setup is right for you?
Buying your first brand-new car from a dealer – the dos and don’ts
Buying a brand-new car from a dealer can be a daunting experience, so here's a few pointers
Boot sizes of Australia’s favourite SUVs
Not all SUVs are created equal when it comes to the cargo department