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Woman says rodents love her Toyota Prius

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A rat's next in the cabin air filter (Source: 3TV) A rat's next in the cabin air filter (Source: 3TV)
Karen DeDonato has tried a variety of pest-control options. (Source: 3TV) Karen DeDonato has tried a variety of pest-control options. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

From a spray bottle full of Tabasco sauce to boxes full of rat poison left all over her carport, Karen DeDonato is using every trick in the book to keep rats and mice from targeting her Toyota Prius. 

"This is part of my arsenal," she said as she showed 3 On Your Side the items. "It's horrible. It's absolutely a nightmare."

On this day, DeDonoato could not even show us her Toyota Prius because for the second time in just a few weeks, rodents have crawled into the engine compartment and gnawed through the car's wiring system.

She has pictures that her insurance company took before it shelled out more than $8,000 to repair the damage. But after her car was repaired, rats hit it a second time. 

"Six days after I got it back, I found a dead rat in my carport," she said. "The rat had been sitting on my car engine eating the poison."

It ate the poison, but not before getting to the car's new wiring system.

DeDonato is frustrated because she said she's the only one at her complex who has this so-called rat problem.

She went online, typed "Toyota Prius" and "Rats" into a search engine, and she couldn't believe what she found.

There are numerous blogs and articles from consumers claiming their Toyota Priuses are being targeted by rats and mice.

But why? Well, according to Internet comments, the Prius reportedly uses special wiring. 

"Because the wires are soy-based wires, they have starch and sugar — things that attract rats. So, the wiring tastes good."

Is that really true? 3 On Your Side wrote Toyota Motor Corporation numerous emails asking if the Prius used different wiring that might attract rodents. We also wanted to know why so many consumers are complaining online about rodents being attracted to the Prius.

Toyota said it would look into the issue, but three weeks later, 3 On Your Side had not received an answer. 

"I think when a manufacturer concedes and lends themselves to this kind of a problem, the first thing they're going to do is deny it," said Glen Hayward, who owns Good Works Auto Repair in Tempe. It's a shop that specializes in fixing the Toyota Prius.  

He said he's read the numerous complaints on the Internet claiming the Prius' alleged sweet-tasting wiring system attracts rodents. He said even if there really is a connection, you won't hear it from Toyota.

"As soon as they say or admit to anything, they're opening themselves up to some kind of a liability," he said.

As for DeDonato, she wants answers and believes it's only a matter of time before rats strike her Prius again. 

"None of my neighbors who park in their driveways and who also have carports have not had any rat damage."

3 On Your Side is still waiting for a response from Toyota. When we get one, we'll air an update.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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