I talked about this last year, in this post and that post. The bad news is, they are back. Couple weeks ago, when I went to dealership and install the new battery on Sienna, the service advisor mentioned there are some biting on the cables, and I said “yeah I know, last year I have been here 3 times to fix the squirrel biting cable problem”. Looking back they already visited this year (2015).
My wife noticed the problem on Thursday afternoon when she saw the check engine and “Trac Off” light are on. So I brought the minivan to dealership on Friday, and they were able to fix it on Saturday. Needless to say, I am annoyed again. Service advisor’s advice is to put moth ball in the hood. This was essentially what I did last year. Not fail-safe and there is this moth ball smell which could be harmful to human. I did a little more research and reading (1, 2, 3), but I have not seen a perfect solution. Another possibility is the laundry dryer sheet, or spicy sauce. I may try the dryer sheet tomorrow. Here I wanted to summarize some of the possible approaches to prevent the rodents coming back. I hope this might be helpful for people in similar situation like me, last year once I recall the service advisor told me a customer came back multiple times due to this problem, in other words I am not alone.
1) Use repellent such as spicy sauce, moth ball (this is unproven and has side effect according to some);
2) Power wash the engine compartment, to get rid of the smell from rodents’ previous visits. Note there is different opinions on this topic (see one discussion here). I also noticed Waterway Car Cash offers this service. I never did that before and don’t know how they do this.
3) Don’t park in the same spot when parking outside. Keep in mind do this both in winter and spring: the rodents get in in winter because it’s warmer inside, and they chew the cable for fun, in spring it’s mating season for squirrel, the make nest there.
4) Last but not least, trade in the problem car or minivan. I did give it some thought, and I think if the problem persists, and since I could not buy a townhouse/single family house with car garage, that’s one option I may pursue.