By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support local journalism.
Sudie Crouch: The four-wheeled drive of frustration
auto shop
Photo by Laurel and Michael Evans on Unsplash

Let me start off by saying, I am not a girl that gives two flips about what she drives. 

As long as it gets me from Point A to Point B, I’m fine. 

I do however like for it to be safe and get decent gas mileage. 

Over the course of my lifetime, I have had some clunkers, junkers, and some darn good cars.

My first car was a used one that my grandparents bought me, a big hunk of American steel that was so big, Granny had to make me a cushion so I could see over the steering wheel. 

It was, in my Pop’s thinking, a car way too clunky for me to go fast in or, more importantly, want to be seen cruising around the Piggly Wiggly in on a Friday night.

When I started college, Mama got me a little car that was safer, more dependable, and great on gas mileage. My little Geo was basically a Toyota and had it not been totaled, I’d probably still be driving it. 

Needless to say, I am not someone that really gives a rat’s tail about the make and model of what I drive. 

If anything, a car can be nothing more than a headache and just be one more thing to maintain. 

But – and here’s the but – if I have a vehicle that has a warranty, especially an extended warranty, I expect things to be covered. 

That was not the case with my most recent issue, and I hope this will serve as maybe a caution to some, in case someone finds themselves in a similar predicament.

I don’t like for the gas gauge to drop below half a tank, so when Lamar said the fuel light indicated I was out of gas, I knew that was wrong. 

Even after he put gas in it, it still showed no fuel available. 

It’s a new vehicle, I bought it in August of last year, and it has less than 10,000 miles on it because we never went anywhere before the pandemic and I work from home. 

The problem was alarming, but I thought it would be a minor repair that would be covered.

When I arrived for my appointment, I confirmed with the service tech that my warranty would cover everything other than my scheduled oil change and tire rotation. 

“Well, it depends. If it was caused by something like an animal chewing on the wires, it won’t be.”

What?

Why would an animal want to chew on a nasty wire? And if they had to basically take my vehicle apart, take the seats out, drop the fuel tank, and all that other stuff that basically sounds like a hot mess on wheels, how in the heck did they expect, let alone fathom, that a rodent would find its way up in the guts of my vehicle to chew on a wire. Are they hiding blocks of cheese in the engine I’m not aware of?

Since the service would take longer than I had allotted that day, I told them I would have to bring it back. 

When I did, the service manager said the wires had indeed been chewed so it would not be covered by the warranty – to the tune of around $900.

It is not my fault; it is not something I had any control over, so why would I be stuck with the bill, when I have not only a regular warranty but an extended warranty that’s supposed to cover some of the stuff the regular ol’ plain warranty doesn’t? 

After I got over the initial shock, I was livid. 

When you have basically a brand-new vehicle with a warranty, you don’t expect to be looking at this kind of repair bill unless you do something you’d expect to have to pay for. 

I called the manufacturer to see if they could do anything. 

They assigned me a case number and a case manager, who apparently went on vacation the day she was supposed to be following up on my case. I’ve yet to hear back from her, which makes me wonder why doesn’t stand behind their vehicles—do they have so many complaints and issues, they can’t possibly handle them all?

Since I Google everything, I Googled “rat chewing car wires” and the first thing that popped up was how insurance may cover it, depending on your policy coverage.

I called my agent and thankfully, mine did. 

Apparently, or so I was told, it has to do with the wires being coated in some soy-based product that the little boogers like to eat. 

One would think that should fall under the warranty since the wires are a part put on the vehicle, and I have nothing to do with what they are coated with or made of.

The moral of this little story is, mice and squirrels seem to like the wires, and warranties aren’t what they’re cracked up to be, no matter how comforting and reassuring we think they are. 

But that comprehensive insurance coverage is worth every stinkin’ penny.