Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Three weeks later...

My 2014 RAV4 went into the shop due to rodent invasion on November 10th. The vehicle was totally disassembled the very next day. It has been sitting in the service department in pieces ever since while the insurance adjuster and the rodent invasion specialist play a cat and mouse of avoiding one another and coming to an agreement as to the amount of damage from mice that my SUV has sustained.

Meanwhile, I am driving around in a 2017 Toyota Corolla rental car that the insurance company is covering while the vehicle is in for repairs. I bout my first Rav4 in 2009 because I was having trouble getting into and out of my Mazda Protégé due to rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain and stiffness. I had an occasional mouse nest in the engine compartment of that Rav but never had mice IN my vehicle itself.

The 2014 Rav4 design evidently has no barriers between the engine compartment and the dashboard area which allows easy access to every imaginable place in the vehicle to mice. Toyota has admitted it's a design flaw. The mice originally ate through the cabin air filter to gain access. I didn't know I had mice in my vehicle until last winter when I turned on the defroster for the windshield and all these bits of gray foam stuff came flying out of all the vents like monochromatic confetti. That's when John found that the air filter has been eaten. He bought a new filter, built a wire mesh screen around it and things were okay there, but there were other places the mice were getting in. They ate the headliner. They got into the door panels and chewed the wire for the keyless access. I kept finding chewed up Kleenex and paper towels all over the inside, mouse pee on my light colored seats.

Kelly saw a mouse leap out of the front grill one time when I backed out of the driveway and she was waiting at the mailbox to jump in. Then there was a second mouse who also emerged from the grill and was clinging to the license plate holder for dear life.

And then there was the mouse I ran over on Christmas Eve when I got home from work, pulled up too far in the driveway and rolled backwards right over it.

The mouse invasion expert at the Toyota dealership service department estimates $10,000 in damages. The adjuster showed up on a day the man wasn't there, looked at the disassembled vehicle and decided on $2500. Meanwhile, the insurance company is sending us a check when the adjuster hasn't really seen or grasped the extent of the damage because no one was there to point it all out.

I am just so frustrated at this point. I miss my SUV,especially on cold mornings because I have heated seats...but have been afraid to sue them for fear the mice gnawed the wiring and the seats will catch on fire. It's also possible they ate the air bags.

Three weeks... I would have had my car back by now if I'd been in an accident!

I no longer think field mice are cute.

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