Lawsuit: Rats attracted to, chewed through eco-friendly car parts

Lawsuit claims eco-friendly changes attracted rats that chewed through car parts
Published: Nov. 24, 2017 at 9:22 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2017 at 11:07 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Just two months after Maui resident Diane Shuey bought a new Subaru Forester back in 2015, she discovered a leak in her vehicle's main fuel line.

"I drove right down to the Subaru station, and they told me that I probably should not have driven," said Shuey. "(They said) rats had chewed through the lines and fuel was leaking all over the place. They told me that thing could have caught on fire."

In a class-action lawsuit filed earlier this week, Shuey's attorneys allege that Subaru made a change to soy-based plastics for wiring insulation and fuel hoses that rats apparently find delicious.

"This is not an uncommon event. Cars have been coming in for this kind of repair and this kind of obvious rodent damage," said attorney Chris Bouslog, who filed the suit with lawyer James Bickerton.

Reports from the mainland of rats in Subaru engines are common on the Internet. Shuey says the defects have cost her more than $3,000 in repairs because the rat-related issues were not covered by warranty.

"It was a nightmare after just two months of driving this thing, and it has continued for two years," said Shuey. "I love my Subaru. I'm so frustrated and I'm very disappointed in Subaru Corporation."

Subaru's local distributor declined comment on the specifics of the lawsuit, but instead issued this statement:

"Our customers and their safety are our priority and, as we do with all vehicle complaints, our policy is to work with each customer to try to reach a mutually agreeable resolution," Servco Pacific Inc. said.

Shuey says she's tried rat traps and all kinds of home remedies that have pretty much eliminated the Forester's new-car smell.

"Coyote Urine... That's disgusting stuff," she said. "Every single night, I have to spray these little yellow chickees with coyote urine. I put one on top of each wheel in the front and one on top of the air filter."

Bouslog said the lawsuit seeks a full refund of the cars costs, since costs to replace each of the soy-based wires and hoses would be too extensive.

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