Pack Rat chew damage on truck wiring harnesses and more


Staff member
We spent part of the winter of 2023 at Palm Creek Resort in Casa Grande. We were there for about 6 weeks, then Austin, TX for about 2 weeks. We had no troubles with the truck while in AZ and TX. On the way home in March, we both thought we could smell something strange in the truck heater.

We got home and the truck sat on the driveway for about a week. I started it up to move some furniture for a friend and was surprised to see a ton of warning lights and even some of the dash display was off. I opened the hood for a quick look to see if I could see anything wrong. Boy, was I surprised.

I was talking to David at HPL about the rodent damage and he informed me about Pack Rats in the US Southwest. That little bugger rode all the way back to IL in the air intake of the A/C system, but didn't do any damage until we parked in IL. We smelled his pee on the way home.

I found the pack rat a couple days after the truck was fixed, because it warmed up into the 70s and the smell of a dead pack rat is awful. It did take a while to find it in the cavity under the wipers. Of course, right where the heater fan pulls air into the cabin. Ugh, that was awful.

The total cost to replace the end on the wiring harnesses and replace two sensors he chewed the wires off, was about $1k.

When we go back to anywhere in the Southwest, I have a plan. Peppermint oil, which I will post about later.
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Ugh, that sucks, and stinks. Could always wrap things in the Honda rodent tape if you think it might be a continuing problem.
Did you notice while in Casa Grande that some people have rope lights on the ground surrounding the trailer? Supposed to keep rodents away. Also lots of people prop the truck hood up a foot or so with something to let light in the engine bay. Peppermint oil works, we have it in our trailer at the storage lot. There's a product made in Az for pack rats, it's a flashing LED that you mount under the hood or wherever you don't want rats. A friend had a rat do $1500 damage to his Tundra, the mechanic recommended the flasher. He put one in, didn't do anything different and never had another one.


It looks like Honda rodent tape is a thing:

Did you notice while in Casa Grande that some people have rope lights on the ground surrounding the trailer?
I did, but thought they just liked the lights for curb appeal or something. I have to learn everything the hard way.
It looks like Honda rodent tape is a thing:

Yep, they came out with it when they switched to soy-based wire insulation. It is impregnated with capsaicin, mice apparently don't like it and won't chew through it. Not cheap, but cheaper than replacing harnesses I reckon.
I'll bet not much is put on proactively. Probably to prevent the 2nd attack.

Yep, probably why they get $50 a roll for it. People will spend that to keep from having to pay untold amounts to replace a harness. Good marketing strategy.
I doubt a rodent is detered by a light.
Supposedly if you put a rope light on the ground around the perimeter of your trailer, then Pack Rats won't cross the light barrier. Also strobe lights under the hood of a vehicle will freak the rats out enough that they won't stay to chew.