In recent years, the auto industry has become very focused on the initiative to “go green” with a major shift to try and reduce reliance on petroleum based products. This has led to a whole variety of car parts being made from different organic substances such as soy, corn, sugar cane, recycled wood, castor beans, etc. Building car parts out of these organic substances has enabled car manufacturers to create more environmentally friendly and efficient products, BUT it hasn’t come with out its consequences.
If you have read one of my most popular articles, Does your car have soy based wiring? you will know that soy based wiring is causing some very costly issues to newer car owners with rodents being attracted to the car engine wiring for food. This has resulted in a few recent class actions lawsuits being filed against both Honda and Toyota in 2016. Though soy based wiring seems to be getting all of the recent media attention, the fun isn’t stopping there. Car manufacturers are making a whole slew of other organic car parts and the damage reports are just starting to come in.
Here is a list of each of the organic car parts that we know of*:
- Rilsan PA 11 – Made from castor oil and is used in flexible tubing and monowall fuel lines. Ford had agreed to use these in their vehicles.
- Rilperm multi-layer fuel lines – Made from castor oil and is used in quick connectors, pneumatic brake hoses and friction parts. It is also used in conductive fuel pump modules for General Motors cars.
- DuPontTM Zytel RS, PA 6.10 – Made from castor beans and sugar cane. Used in the 2009 Toyota Camry as the automotive radiator end tank. This was proposed to be used in all new Toyotas so this may potentially be in use for all current Toyota vehicles. Toyota was awarded with the Most Innovative Use of Plastics award in the Environment Category from the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) for this product.
- Bioplastic head liners, sun visors and floor mats in the Toyota SAI and Prius.
- Castor Oil based fuel lines in FIAT cars
- Bioplastic door trim and panels, structural insert parts and air ducts for Mitsubishi vehicles.
- Ford is in talks with Jose Cuervo to use agave fibers for wiring harnesses, HVAC units, and storage bins.
- Mazda has announced that they have created a bioplastic that is 88% corn and 12% petroleum that can be used for electrical parts.
- Soy based polyurethane foams in seat cushions and seatbacks for many 2010 to 2013 Ford models including the F-150, Mustang, Focus and Escape, including the Lincoln Navigator, and Lincoln MKS.
*It was difficult to find the information to put together this list. Many of the car manufacturers do not publish this information due to the proprietary nature of the technology being used and none of the above has been specifically confirmed directly with the car manufacturers. Much of the above was taken from public announcements that the car manufacturers made. Many car manufacturers have refrained from making recent announcements regarding the use of bioplastics in cars and I could imagine this has something to do with the recent lawsuits being filed and to try and limit their liability.
To make matters even worse, Ford has even created a 2016 Ford Cook Book with the different types of foods they use to make their organic parts!
Recent data has shown that the car manufacturers are looking to increase the amount of bio-based plastics in cars by 400% within the next 5 years. Given that the industry is showing no signs of slowing down the use of bioplastics in cars, this could just be the tip of the ice berg for rodent damage to cars. Hopefully these recent class action lawsuits with Toyota and Honda will ensure the appropriate testing is done on new bioplastics to ensure unwanted wildlife is not attracted to these parts.
Given the current disregard for responsibility by car manufacturers for rodent damage to cars, we can’t expect that they will change their stance any time soon. This ultimately means that it is up to YOU to stay protected and to keep an eye on things. If you haven’t already, please check out the article The 5 Minute Check That ‘Can Save Your Car (and your sanity!). If you find the presence of rodents, take action ASAP and head on over to the Home page.
I hope that this article has been helpful! For any questions/comments, please drop a note below!
-Rat King Dave
This page contains Amazon Affiliate links. I will receive a commission for any purchases made through these links, though at no additional cost to you.