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Varmints tried to eat our Hyundai Palisade!

Most of, Our time with our 2021 Hyundai Palisade has passed endlessly. And finally it’s my turn three-row SUV a few months ago. I had a trouble-free couple of weeks, until one fateful week when I parked it at the airport on a press trip. When I returned, I discovered an orange omen Check engine lights on the digital instrument cluster. Thinking it was just a fluke, I shut down and restarted it a few times, but the lights were still on all around. Fortunately, Palisade Seems to be running fine, so I sent a note to Zac Palmer, our always-industry Road Test Editor, and drove home. So began a headache that lasted for months.

After the work week started again, Zac called the local Hyundai seller to schedule a diagnostic appointment. They can reach us as early as November first. We called on October 1st.

So for a month we had a car with a mysterious check engine sign. It seemed to run fine, but out of an abundance of caution, I left the SUV parked in my driveway the whole time. That worked fine for me, as I have several personal cars, plus press cars come and go. But for someone who depends on this as their only or primary vehicle, parking a Palisade for a month is a big deal.

Electrical wiring of Hyundai Palisade

A month later, I drove it to the dealer for a final diagnosis, and it’s still running fine. I dropped the key and went into the lobby to do my job while the dealer technicians did theirs. An hour or two later, one of the technicians came out saying the car was ready, but not fixed. Apparently, something got in and gnawed the wires leading to the O2 sensors. Indeed, something has had a very good time working through the wires, leaving three perfectly frayed points to trigger the warning lights. We don’t know what caused the damage, or when it happened. Oddly enough, one of the seemingly thousands of squirrels in my neighborhood snuck into the engine bay and started chewing away. On the drive to the airport, the wires were messy enough to break the connection and trigger the light.

It won’t be a quick or painless one fix. Dealers had to specially order the new O2 sensor and wiring harness. For those people, plus the labor, the repair estimate is well over $1,000. I wonder if those lovely squirrels realized what a hearty dinner they had.

I drove the Palisade home and talked to Zac. Then he started to find out if we could fix it with insurrance or guarantee. Negative on both. One more insult to injury, It’s still a month before the parts arrive and we can bring the SUV back in for repair, doubling the car’s parking time and will make the owner happy. Doubly disappointed.

Final repair bill: $1,198.

There are a few things you can do to prevent a similar situation from happening to your own vehicle. Based on Consumer ReportsSome of the best options are to keep your vehicle in a completely closed garage or, if it’s outside, make sure you’re moving it on a relatively regular basis. With some other vehicles, I don’t drive the Palisade very often and leave it parked in the driveway, which may have created an opportunity for a fluffy guy to hover under the hood. In addition, there are sprays that taste bad for animals, many of which are available at pet stores and are used to prevent pets from chewing on furniture.

In addition, you can:

  • Look for signs of rabbits or rodents near a parked vehicle, such as droppings.
  • Set traps or bait boxes nearby or hire a termite specialist to do it.
  • If pests have entered the vehicle inside the garage, find and eliminate entry points.
  • Check to see if Animal Control can help.
  • Empty any nearby trash or food sources that might attract creatures. That said, they are often attracted to coatings or insulation on the conductors themselves.
  • Search for and remove any nearby water sources, such as standing water old tires or containers.

Now the Palisade is back in our hands and we look forward to spending a few (hopefully) trouble-free months with it. Assuming Mother Nature doesn’t send her minions after it anymore.

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