Dealer sold 2015 with mice infestation

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Main Forum' started by framistat, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    That's odd, but Toyota apparently doesn't expect owners to do much. This is the index for "DIY maintenance". Changing the cabin air filter is a big moneymaker for the dealers (and not just Toyota). VW quoted me $40 to change the cabin filter, and oddly enough every time they touched the car (always for warranty service) it needed a new filter; sometimes within a month or so of me putting in a new one. Subaru wanted about the same, perhaps a bit more, if I recall.

    This is a 5 minute job, including emptying and refilling the glove box. If you want to clean any debris out of the filter housing (if there is any), add 5 more minutes.

    upload_2019-6-14_14-51-33.jpeg
     
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  2. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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    Unless it is a "mouse house" :(
     
  3. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    A Shop Vac will clean that out quite quickly.
     
  4. framistat

    framistat Junior Member

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    Dealer is taking headliner completely out of the car, sanitizing with isopropyl alcohol and steam, and reinstalling, then leaving an ionizer in the car for a day. Not the first time they've dealt with this. Their detailer will send before and after photos since I'm not close by to see in person.

    I'm happy with that. Feels like they are trying to make it right.

    I will have some work ahead of me to make sure all the entrances are screened. Peppermint oil on order. Cats being groomed so tufts of fur can be placed strategically.

    Thanks for the comment re "fresh air" mode leaving the door open! I would have missed that one.
     
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  5. kc5dlo

    kc5dlo Active Member

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    Glad you were able to come to a conclusion that satisfied you.

    Mostly unrelated experience I had when getting my "Free" 20,000 mile oil change. Service writer came to me in the waiting room and had a print out with an estimate of almost 70.00 to change the cabin air filter. Said the tech inspected it and it was "Filthy and clogged up". I passed as I had bought a few cabin air filters when I bought my supply of Oil and air filters after buying the car new. I did question the 50.00 charge to install it if they already had the old one out to inspect? Got home and looked on YouTube at how to get at it and it looked like new.
     
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  6. MelonPrius

    MelonPrius Active Member

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    The 2 simplest DIY jobs for the Prius are the air filters under the hood and in the cabin. The dealer (not just Toyota) tries to overcharge for the cabin air filter, while many Jiffy Lube type places like to nail you on changing the engine air filter.
     
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  7. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

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    That's too bad.
    What should the OP do?

    Well, I think there are two basic options. Either exiting the whole situation, by selling the vehicle and/or trading it in on something else, OR repair, restoration and keeping the vehicle.

    Only the OP can really answer whether they think they can reach a point where they would be at peace with the vehicle. Be able to enjoy the vehicle.
    I think rodent damage, can be reversed. Assuming no further exposure, headliners can be replaced, wiring harnesses replaced. At what cost is the question.
    If the vehicle has screens installed by the previous owner, and the vehicle was detailed by the dealership, I find it hard to believe they wouldn't of discovered or been aware of the possibility of a rodent infestation. Any good detailer would of noticed.
    But the OP admits that the vehicle had no outward signs of a problem in this regard before they purchased. Only noticing the installed screens at a later date.
    So I think the OP would be hard pressed to recover anything but "good will" work to the vehicle. The dealership is just going to say that they were as unaware of the problem as the OP.

    So I'd try politely to see what they might cover or assist with. But when the bullet hits the bone, how much do you want or think you absolutely need a new headliner?
    Is the original headliner physically damaged? Would it be possible to disinfect it and clean it?

    Plus yes, I think now, you need to have the entire vehicle checked. That would include the cabin filter and at least a thorough visual inspection of the entire vehicle. If rodents got into the headliner, it's a good bet they were in other places.

    Which kind of leads me to the reality that it's probably impossible to totally find and remove any and all contamination. It could be almost anywhere. On this very site, there are some amazing pictures of where and what rodents have been able to do to a Prius.

    If it was me? I think I would do the very best I could. Maybe replace the headliner, clean the vehicle as well as possible. Try to have as much of the vehicle checked for damage as possible.

    Then the question is, can you be happy with the vehicle?

    If no amount of replacement, repair and cleaning is going to allow the OP to be happy with the vehicle. If the constant thought of rodent infestation is going to a constant angst?
    Then maybe there is no choice but to move on.

    It's too bad, because it sounds like the OP did a fair amount of homework before purchase. But a chewed wire hidden under a headliner, and what was a detailed vehicle showing no immediate outward signs of a rodent infestation, would be a trap.

    Is there any maintenance records? Anything in the history about a rodent infestation problem?
    If at some point the previous owner installed screens, then THEY knew about the problem.

    And you'd think if the vehicle reached the rodent infestation point of having screens installed? There might of been damage done that would show up in a maintenance history.

    Hard for me to believe the chewed wire under the headliner was the first and only damage done.
     
  8. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    OP, I totally sympathize with you, as I am currently dealing with a rat problem.

    A few weeks ago, I started smelling a strong urine smell every time I started up my Camry. I thought a homeless person took a leak on my car near the windshield cowl, as I park in a multi level garage at work that is known to have homeless people around.

    After a week of not being able to rid the car of the strong urine smell in the vent system, I decided to take a look at the cabin air filter. I found rat droppings and even saw evidence of gnawing on the filter pleats. Like a dummy, I put my nose near the filter and inhaled. Yup, definitely smelled strongly of urine. Big mistake, apparently, as mentioned above, rat droppings and urine can carry several diseases, including hantavirus. Hantavirus can cause HPS, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, which is about a 30% fatal. I replaced the cabin air filter with a new one I had on hand, and the smell was gone immediately.

    Wouldn't you know it, that subsequently, I have developed several symptoms, including headaches, flu-like symptoms, and a cough, and some shortness of breath. Notably absent is a fever though.

    Additionally, this is what I have found in our Prius. A rat, or THE rat (hopefully there's only one) chewed a third of the windshield washer fluid reservoir cap and tube!

    I've indicated the areas of damage with the orange lines. The critter even gnawed on the steel frame near the cap, but I guess it found the steel a bit too hard for his razor sharp teeth.

    Now I have to try to source a windshield washer fluid cap and top tube. Hopefully, I won't have to get a whole reservoir assembly. We'll see. Screenshot_2019-07-20-08-35-44.jpeg

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #28 xliderider, Jul 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  9. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    Here's a close-up of the wash reservoir fill tube and cap. Looks like damage from a Dremel tool, but it was gnawed on by a rat. 20190803_172046.jpeg

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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  10. milkman44

    milkman44 Active Member

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  11. Prodigyplace

    Prodigyplace Senior Member

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  12. xliderider

    xliderider Senior Member

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    Thanks guys, but a new fill tube has been installed. Cost me $35, shipping included.

    Came with the cap and dipstick for checking the wash fluid level.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
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