If Chevy Traverse attracts squirrels, try Honda tape
Q: Is there something in the 2018 Chevy Traverse that attracts squirrels? The car had to go to the dealer twice for repairs. The last time the car was towed because the squirrels chewed the transmission harness. I have two other cars the squirrels do not touch. We had relatives with a 2018 Traverse that stayed a few days at our house. The squirrels started attacking it the next morning.
— A.Q., Plainfield, Ill.
A: Seldom do carmakers announce a recall that doesn’t involve a safety issue or an emissions issue. Ravenous rodents don’t count. The insulation on many wires is made from soybean-based compounds that squirrels (and mice and other rodents) find appealing. It is not just Chevrolets. Honda had such a problem and even developed a tape made with capsaicin — the active ingredient in chili pepper heat — to protect the wires. Amazon sells a 20-meter (65-foot) roll of Honda tape for $44.63. That should be enough to share with your relatives and then some. The tape even has images of mice with “X’s” on them.
Q: While driving through Missouri (on Interstate 44) in late September, the pop-up highway signs said, “Did you check your blinker fluid?” and “One good turn signal deserves another.” We need some more catchy phrases to get drivers’ attentions.
— S.B., Wadsworth, Ill.
A: There are others. We recently saw “Keep your head out of your apps” and “Santa’s coming. Have you been a good driver?” In Illinois, one reportedly says, “The holidays can be stressful, slow down.” Many states are getting into the clever highway signs act. Most welcome suggestions from the driving public.
Q: The warning light on my tire pressure indicator lit up at 62,000 miles on my 2012 Hyundai Elantra. Cost to replace one is $130, but they told me two were out. I don’t feel I need them and would like to have them disabled. Can I do that?
— P.M., Grayslake, Ill.
A: You do not have a choice, maybe. In several states that have mandatory vehicle safety inspections, the car will not pass if the TPMS light is glowing. Yet there currently is no law in most states requiring TPMS sensors be replaced if defective or if their batteries die, which can be anywhere from five to 10 years. Illinois does not have annual safety inspections, but the sensors are a worthwhile safety feature.
Q: A couple of months ago I purchased a 2018 Toyota RAV4. Recently, I noticed the speedometer indicates that the car’s top speed is 140 mph.
I am assuming that this is only there as a subtle reminder to never allow a teenage boy to drive the car any long distances without a mature adult in the car. For what other reason would it be there? Who, why, where and when would anyone drive a RAV4 at anywhere near this speed?
— J.K., Bolingbrook, Ill.
A: No matter how much you flog it, your RAV4 will never reach 140 mph. It will probably top out way before 100 mph. Part of the reason for the display is marketing. Despite being a measly crossover, the driver may get the impression that it performs like a Porsche.
Another reason is the cost savings of installing a speedo that ends up in other models in the company’s lineup. And the fact that the needle being about at the midpoint when cruising on the highway acts as a psychological cruise control.
Send questions along with name and town to Motormouth, Rides, Chicago Tribune, 160 N. Stetson Ave., Third Floor, Chicago, IL 60601 or motormouth .tri[email protected]
Squirrels seem to love chewing on wires in the 2018 Chevrolet Traverse, but there's a possible solution.