But the carmaker says there's nothing it can do.
Tesla has been plagued with problem after problem in recent months. Not only is the manufacturer being investigated by the NHTSA for a spate of recent car accidents, but the brand also faces a significant recall of Tesla Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in China. To top it all off, it seems like rats have taken a liking to their cars. According to the New York Post, Sarah Williams, a 41-year-old physician who lives in Manhattan, recently discovered a rat in the glove compartment of her Tesla Model 3. The rodent had caused thousands of dollars in damage. This isn't the first time we've reported on rat-on-car terrorism. A couple of years ago, Toyota faced a similar problem, and it seems that rats have taken a liking to modern car wiring insulation.
Williams, who drives her 2018 Model 3 to work every day, took the vehicle to her local Tesla dealership in mid-May after her air conditioner had stopped working. The bill for the damage totaled $5,000, which Tesla refused to cover, and after two months, the repair job is yet to be completed.
"Most auto manufacturers use the soybean vs. oil in their wire insulation for newer vehicles because it is less expensive and better for the environment. The use of this material would not be considered a 'defect' in design or use … Considering there are too many factors outside of Tesla's control we cannot cover this under a warranty or repair," said Tesla service adviser Jose Solis in an email to Williams.
The rat-friendly soy-based wiring insulation has caused headaches for many manufacturers of late, but carmakers claim that damages caused by rats are an act of nature, and thus they cannot cover the damages caused. In 2018 a judge tossed a lawsuit against Toyota by 21 plaintiffs for a similar issue related to the soy coated wiring. Williams recommends that prospective Tesla buyers hold off until the brand fixes the problem. "Who cares if you have this great technology if a rat is in there eating the wires?" she said.