Toyota Tacoma warning for owners who camp or park their vehicles outdoors
During one of my home jobs while in college in Arizona, I was in charge of the owner’s brand new Toyota Camry with leather upholstery and all the bells and whistles. The owner told me I could borrow his car anytime if needed. I thanked him, but declined the offer because I had an old Buick LeSabre that was sufficient for my needs. Additionally, I’ve had a history of bad luck with other people’s cars—a jinx if you will.
Long story short, my Buick died shortly after I sat at home, and I needed to drive into town to get a part. Exception—just this time— I went to the owner’s garage and started the engine of his Camry, which had been untouched since the day he left. The car started fine and went into town.
However, as I was stopping at a stop sign, I noticed that the paint on the hood was boiling. Fortunately, there was a large parking lot nearby, and I drove into it. Then I got out of the car and started to lift the hood, but I saw flames rising around the edges. My lower brainstem functions kicked in, and I dropped my plans to open the hood and turned to call for help and call the fire department.
Before I could reach a nearby phone (only drug dealers and yuppies carried cell phones in those days), I heard someone screaming and I turned around. There was the car with the front end on fire… moving across the parking lot. I don’t know how or why it was moving, but I was about to be responsible for a multiple car fire. Then the strangest thing happened—a car owner in the parking lot got out of his car and hit my burning car and either started it or used the emergency brake to stop it. The strangest thing I’ve ever seen someone do to protect a car.
By then, I could hear the sirens blaring and sat down on the sidewalk to watch the show. The car was completely engulfed in flames by then. After the fire department did its job, one of them pointed his finger at me and the fire chief asked me to take a closer look at the burning hull of molten plastic and metal.
Lifting the cover up where the fire originated were the charred remains of some rodent and an eagle’s nest-sized collection of twigs, leaves, cacti, paper, &c. Apparently, while sitting in the garage, the car became home to desert packs.
The car was completely totaled, I was home from work as soon as the owner found out, and I did not get a part from my car that day.
Why the true story?
The reason for this story is that it can happen to anyone… anywhere – whether it’s in the desert, in the suburbs, or in the middle of a crowded city. Furthermore, the damage done can sometimes be much greater than just a chewed wire or a nut-stuffed exhaust. In fact, the damage can easily amount to thousands of dollars or more…and happen overnight.
This happened to a Tacoma owner
That message was recent Toyota maintenance An episode of the YouTube channel where the host shows what happened when a 2018 Tacoma owner parked his truck at work for a new job located in the great outdoors of a national park. Apparently, the local garden rodents took a particular liking to the rubber boots on the transmission, CV boots, and suspension…which were discovered unannounced. The damage was only discovered during an inspection by the host and will now require a few thousand dollars to repair.
Follow along with the host and you will be amazed at how bad the rodent damage is. After the video, there are some tips on how to avoid this problem which will serve as a good course of action when you go camping overnight and/or leave your favorite car parked outside or stored in the garage during the winter.
How to avoid attracting critters
At this time last year, Consumer Reports View the following steps to avoid attracting critters to your car:
- Ideally, park away from places known to attract rodents, such as near garbage cans or natural food sources, such as vegetable gardens.
- Park your car in a closed garage, if possible, and keep the doors closed.
- Make sure the garage does not contain stored food items and essential items such as newspaper, cardboard, straw, rags and patio furniture cushions.
- Look at gaps around garage windows and doors for places where rodents can sneak in. Weather strips under the side doors can help seal them. Likewise, check the vertical seals on retractable garage doors for damage.
- Do not store used trash cans for food waste in the garage.
- Keep the car interior free of food wrappers; Their scent can attract rodents.
- Move the vehicle regularly, preventing pets from taking up residence. Sometimes I honk the horn before starting the car to scare away any sleeping creatures.
Rodent avoidance product for cars
In addition to the tips above, CR’s analysts also recommended trying “…a rodent deterrent tape, which is essentially electrical tape treated with super-hot capsaicin, which Honda describes as ‘the thing that sets a bowl of five-pointed chili on fire,'” according to the bulletin Honda technical services as a solution to this problem.
For more strange stories about carsHere are a few to consider:
Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. He has experience in early car restorations, and he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications to improve performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites For daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.
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