VW Damage from a Rat

At some point in every car’s life, it will break. Whether it is a part failure, a workmanship issue or outside influence, we can all plan to see it at some point. Then there are the strange things we hear about. Things that you don’t really expect to happen.

This a Jetta that got attacked by a rodent of some kind. Okay, I am not 100% sure this was a rodent, but it was a creature that did this damage. Maybe a Bigfoot, or a Chupacabra 😉 I am sure this is something that mechanics in rural areas see more than I will. So when we see damage from animals, it is a big, and usually expensive deal.

VW Damage from a RatI am not really sure what made this critter was doing here. There was about 10 inches of chew marks. This is the heat shield attached to the bottom of the car. My guess is, this didn’t feel to great on his teeth.

VW Damage from a RatThis was the main reason the customer brought the car in. The critter chewed the wiring harness for the rear oxygen sensor. That caused the check engine light to come on. All 4 of the wires for the O2 sensor were chewed. The little bit that you see here was all he left.

The wires were chewed from the sensor to the connector. The only right way to make this repair is to replace the sensor and harness. The wires are molded into the case of the sensor. They technically could be repaired, but it may be an unreliable repair.

VW Damage from a RatHere are some more damaged wires. This a a vacuum pump for the brake system. These wires are not chewed all the way through, but will still need attention. If left alone, the wires will corrode and break. There are a few different ways we can go about repairing these wires.

  1. Cut the chewed sections out, and splice in new wires. That is not a bad way to make a repair. There will be 2 connection per wire if the repair is made this way. If the repair is done properly, it should hold up just fine.
  2. Replace the terminal and wiring. This would be the proper VW wiring repair. The damage is really close to the connector. That gives us the option to replace about 6 inches of wiring including the terminal in the connector. This is the best way to make the repair. It will only have 1 splice in the wire.
  3. Just tape over it. I would not recommend making the type of repair here. That is not a long term type repair. The strands of wire are jagged, and could pierce the tape. The heat level at this location can get really high. That can weaken the tape and cause moisture to get in the harness. Also remember this is outside the car AND on the bottom. When making a repair in this location we need to consider road debris, road temperatures, and water all affecting the repair.

VW Damage from a Rat

This is another shot of the damaged wires above. The damaged section is about 3 inches. Dang that little critter.

What do you guys think? Have any of you seen stuff like this before? If so, please share your story in the comments below. I always like hearing this kind of stuff. I am sure that many of you have seen this type of thing before.

Okay, I have a few other things I need to tell you all about.

  • If any of you have damage from the hurricane, I hope you are okay. I have been obsessively watching the coverage on TV. The damage is crazy, and we have only just begun to see the full scope. Hang in there.
  • If you ever have an idea for a post, please let me know. I want to make sure that we are talking about the things you guys want to know. Some of the best topics come from you. Just contact me, or post your thoughts in the comments of a post.
  • If you are in the Raleigh NC area this weekend, PLEASE come to the DubsForACause. I will be there hanging out. I am also one of the official sponsors 🙂 It is free but please bring some canned goods to donate. I am sure that they will take cash too. Cool cars, great folks all for charity, what is not to love.
  • Somehow I missed that we passed 200 posts! not really sure how I missed it. This is actually number 205. With that I want to thank you all for being so awesome. I really appreciate the help and support you have all given me. It has been a lot of fun. I have also learned so much it is not even funny. I hope that the information here has help you out in some way.

9 replies
  1. Brett Donadeo
    Brett Donadeo says:

    I wish I could see the damaged parts in person. The tooth marks on the heat shield don’t look like rodent teeth to me, but it’s hard to tell from the picture.

    Reply
    • Charles
      Charles says:

      @Brett,
      HA, I want you to know that I was thinking about you the entire time I was writing this. That is why I didn’t just call it a rat the entire time. 😛

      Reply
  2. Pat McCloud
    Pat McCloud says:

    I have seen spark plug wires chewed through. The car started up, but ran rough. It was one of the wires on the back cylinders on a V6, so it took us a bit to find the problem.
    Then trying to find an open parts store on Sunday in rural Minnesota completed the adventure.

    Reply
  3. Uwe
    Uwe says:

    Oh yeah. Critters love the wiring in my son’s 2007 Golf, but for some reason, they haven’t bothered any of our other VWs or Audis so far. This makes me wonder if the like some “flavors” of wires better than others?

    Reply
  4. r.c.
    r.c. says:

    I seem chewed wiring before never seen anything like that heat shield. I would pull the pin and replace that section of harness. Ps this is my first post and as a independent Volkswagen audi and BMW tech I have really enjoyed what I have seen so far. I have a question for you about dsg service if you wanna shoot me an email.

    Reply
  5. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    We’ve had problems here in western Virginia with squirrels. They have chewed through the gas tank on my dad’s Dodge truck as well as the gas cans behind the garage used for the lawn mowers. With living in the wooded country, squirrels are everywhere , but really, why they are attracted to the rubber that leads to gasoline??
    My moms car also has a critter than gets inside the glovebox and tears up paper or napkins that are in there and makes a cozy little nest. Crazy animals.
    Luckily my Cabrio hasn’t fallen victim to either of these issues… Yet. Hopefully being inside the garage will prevent this from happening.

    Reply

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