If Chevy Tra­verse at­tracts squir­rels, try Honda tape

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - BUSINESS CYCLE - Bob We­ber

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]

ROBERT DUFFER/CHICAGO TRI­BUNE

Squir­rels seem to love chew­ing on wires in the 2018 Chevro­let Tra­verse, but there's a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion.

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