Toyota Recalls One Million Prius and C-HR Hybrids Over Fire Risk

Toyota is recalling over one million Prius and C-HR crossovers due to engine wires that pose a potential fire risk. Involved in the call-back are roughly 192,000 vehicles in the United States, according to estimates made by the automaker on Wednesday. However, the vast majority of the 554,000 affected vehicles reside in Japan.

While no injuries have been reported, an alleged incident occurred in February 2018 where a wire harness connected to the vehicle’s hybrid power control unit shorted out.

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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Rodents Eating Automotive Wiring

We previously discussed how the implementation of bio-plastics in the automotive industry contributed to new claims that rodents have developed a penchant for wiring insulation. While rats gnawing on wires of cars isn’t a novel problem, some believe that the new materials used have exacerbated the issue.

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against various manufacturers on the grounds that the soy-based compounds used in modern-day wiring is irresistible to rodents. One of the more recent legal bouts involves Toyota. Brian Kabateck, a Los Angeles attorney involved in a class-action lawsuit against Toyota Motor Sales, filed on behalf of an Indiana resident after their Toyota Tundra become a meal for rodents three times. The total damage was estimated at roughly $1,500, which Kabateck said Toyota refused to cover.

The case, which involves multiple plaintiffs all represented by Kabateck, has been dismissed without leave to amend — meaning it cannot be refiled. Is this an unfair victory for Toyota and hoards of hungry rats, or are these wiring claims lacking the substantive elements required to be taken seriously?

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Rodents May Have Flavor Fetish For the Wiring Insulation in Newer Vehicles

Shortly after the dawn of new millennium, automakers started implementing bio-plastics made from corn starch, genetically engineered bacteria, or vegetable fats and oils. The rationale for this was that sustainably sourced materials were better for the environment and lowered dependency on petrochemicals. Unsurprisingly, bio-plastics gained in popularity at roughly the same time as ethanol.

Since at least 2010, soy-based bio-plastics have been a popular alternative for wiring insulation in automobiles. But there’s a problem — rodents love how it tastes. This has allegedly resulted in a surprisingly high number of owners reporting that rats chewed through the wiring inside their automobile.

While the problem isn’t entirely new, the frequency of the incidents appears to have been spurred by automakers using more palatable materials. In fact, the issue has grown so bad in recent years, numerous lawsuits have cropped up demanding manufacturers pay for damages. Honda was named in a suit from two years ago involving 2012 to 2015 model year vehicles, and Toyota was hit with one for cars produced between 2012 to 2016.

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Piston Slap: The Body Control Module Electric?

Gary writes:

Good Afternoon,

Today when I got into my 2002 Saturn SL2, the power door locks started chattering. Each door, over the space of about 45 minutes, had the same thing happen. Sometimes it would be one at a time, other times it would be two or more. I also noticed that the inside locks – the “up/down” button, not the little lever you use to manually unlock the car – would not work, only later to work. For now I have removed the lock fuse and that stopped the problem. I wait and plug the fuse back in, and the sporadic chattering once again begins. Sometimes it is completely quiet. Any thoughts?

Thank you!

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Piston Slap: Occam's Razor Cuts Hardbody Headlight Headaches?

Robin writes:

Hi Sajeev,

It’s me again, steady reader, random poster/questioner, with another D21 question. My good old ’94 Nissan D21 is soldiering on, 213,000 and steady on. Of course I don’t ever thrash it which I’m sure makes a difference.

But to get to the point: the other day I went out to go to work and presto! No low beams. High beams, check. All signals, markers and brake lights, check. Just no low beams.

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Piston Slap: A Snowpocalypse Kills Old Cars?

TTAC Commentator Pete Zaitcev writes:

Dear Sajeev:

Here’s a qustion that’s not “what car should I buy”. My town had a “snowpocalypse” event: it was 65F for a week, then an inch or two of snow fell and the temperatures fell into low 30s for a day. The usual followed, like a miniature Atlanta. But what surprised me the most was the number of broken cars parked alongside highways. They didn’t fall to accidents, they just stopped. But why?

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Piston Slap: Affalterbach's A-faltering Headlight! (Part II)

Martin writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I just wanted to follow up the post with the resolution. I’m not sure if this is important to you all, but I see that it’s an issue with Bimmers sometimes as well. I switched the bulbs from right to left. My passenger side light had been flickering off. When I switched the bulbs, the issue went to the driver’s side, which seemed to narrow down the issue to a bulb problem.

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Piston Slap: Affalterbach's A-faltering Headlight!

Martin writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I’m writing you because I’ve searched and asked model-specific forums, and mechanics, to no avail. I have the last of the 1st Gen SLK AMGs. I love this car, and I’ve loved it since the first non-AMG launched in the late 90s. Overall, it’s well maintained – a trend which I continue – and I’ve had it for a few years. I have one major issue.

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Entire Universe of Chrysler Products Available For Replacement Headlight Switch On A100 Hell Project

When we last saw the A100 Hell Project, I’d junkyard-engineered a new gas pedal as part of my “get this thing on the road as quickly and cheaply as possible” initiative. The lack of headlights, due to a corroded-by-12-idle-years switch, was the next big annoyance I needed to tackle.

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  • ToolGuy Make the hood taller, and I'm in. 😉
  • El scotto It leaves the loading dock/loading are in the morning. It gets parked in the same place. Bubba/Bubbette plugs in and it charges overnight. Driver forgot to plug in?First time a warning, second time no pay while their vehicle is recharging. That problem will correct itself.
  • El scotto Hmmm, because it would take ohh another 20 minutes; if you rent an EV on the company dime stay at a hotel on the company dime that has EV chargers. I know crazy talk.Common sense would dictate don't rent an EV where there aren't chargers. No, I'm not downloading a find a charger app for a business trip either. People who don't like EVs won't rent them. Some do like EVs and will rent them. However most EV research on here consists of: I bought a dozen eggs, four large dill pickles, and a loaf of bread; therefore I have egg salad."
  • 28-Cars-Later Here's another thing you can't buy; and another, and another!
  • JREwing It suffered the same small back seat problem that the Ford Contour and Mercury Mystique did. 2 more inches in wheelbase or a taller roof would've helped a lot.But the biggest issue was that it wasn't a SUV/crossover/soft-roader with 3 rows in a market that couldn't get enough of them.