All Wheel Drive Auto: Independent Seattle Subaru Service


Kirkland Washington Subaru Repair Tip


The case of the missing dog bones.

A story about a Subaru, a busy rat, and a dog that went without.

This is a true story, and more importantly a tip to avoid costly repairs on your Subaru.
Last Friday my wife complained that the check engine light illuminated on the way home from work in her Subaru Outback (yes we drive what we service). I asked her to pick up some dog treats at the store as it seems the kids must be spoiling our Golden Retriever as we are out of dog biscuits. She pulled into the garage at the house and shut the car off. I went back to the shop and picked up Our Subaru Select MonitorII to diagnose the check engine light. When I arrived back home, we opened up the garage and my wife let out a terrible scream, there was rat in our garage. The rat ran out of the garage and I proceeded to diagnose the problem with the wife’s mobile. The check engine light had set an evaporative emissions flow code. So I opened the hood, and low and behold the rat had made a new home under the hood of our Subaru and had taken an entire box worth of dog biscuits to his new home (see pictures).
This very hungry rat, had chewed through the bottom garage door seal to get into our garage, and the only food that is in there is the dog’s food and biscuits. Now as for the car the rat chewed through a great many wires. I ultimately have had to replace a wiring harness and some vacuum lines. This was not a fun surprise and not the way to start a weekend.

This is the sort of thing that can really be expensive, and there isn’t a whole lot you can do, EXCEPT for some preventative measures to try and avoid the hungry rat or mouse from being drawn to your Subaru.

Needs tips to avoid repairs.
The same thing can be said for regular automotive maintenance, while not every repair can be avoided, you can greatly reduce the risk and potential expense of costly surprises to your Subaru with a preventative maintenance service from All Wheel Drive Auto.

Justin Stobb

All Wheel Drive Auto
Your Independent Subaru Specialist


6 Responses

  1. We had a bird pass up my Forester and make a nest under the hood of my husbands Blazer. It made a nice nest and chewed through 3 wire harnesses to do so. Our insurance covered it.

  2. Deborah,

    The loyal manual trans can be towed a short distance with all 4 wheels on the ground with a tow strap in neutral if that is what you are trying to do just be careful when using a tow strap and check your local laws as it is not legal in some ares to do so.


  3. I have a 1994 subaru loyale station wagon that needs to be pulled to my house, I was told that it would have to be put on a trailer and then I was told I could pulled if I put the car in neutral, it is a standard and is 4 wheel drive.

  4. Hi Ellen,

    Subaru’s offer rats a nice flat and dry surface to build a nest.

    Japanese car makers will use soy oil to coat wiring harnesses to prevent corrosion and help the wires slide into place.

    This can attract rodents as can anti freeze.

    They really are a nuisance sometimes.


  5. Hi again Justin,
    About 4 years ago, we were headed up to Los Angeles from San Diego (about a 2-3 hour trip), when our engine overheating light surged to the top “Stop driving ASAP or your engine will die” message. We took it to a local oil change Jiffy Lube type place, where we had the oil changed the day before. They just could not figure it out, except to say they did not do it. Driving just 3 miles further with the overheat light at its peak, we went to a general repair shop, where we were told that a rat (and perhaps his entire family) had chewed through numerous wires and cables. These were replaced and we drove to L.A. Those rats do get hungry. We cannot figure out what was so enticing under our hood. (No dog bicuits that we knew of).

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