A new class action lawsuit claims hundreds of Subaru vehicles are defective because they contain soy-based wiring insulation that mice, rats, and other rodents love to eat, resulting in expensive repair bills for their owners.

Just one month after purchasing a new 2015 Subaru Forrester from Servco Subaru, Maui plaintiff Joy Diane Shuey says she took her vehicle to a Subaru service facility because her check engine light was on and there was a pervasive odor of gasoline. At that time, the vehicle’s odometer showed less than 600 miles.

Upon inspection, it was discovered that the Subaru vehicle’s fuel line and rear wiper hose had been chewed through by rats and needed to be replaced. According to the Subaru class action lawsuit, the vehicle fuel lines and wiring employ a soy-based insulation and composition purported to be biodegradable and more environmentally friendly and less expensive than traditional insulation.

Shuey says she shelled out about $320 for this initial repair in August 2015 from her own pocket since Subaru did not cover the rodent damage under warranty. Since then, Shuey has reportedly contacted Subaru headquarters on at least two occasions, where she was told that Subaru was not responsible for rodent damage to insulation.

Unfortunately, Shuey continued to experience repeat rodent damage to her Subaru vehicle and had to take her car back for service in November 2015, July 2016, and August 2017 where technicians found evidence of “rodent droppings and evidence of nest building”, and she again she was forced to pay out of pocket to repair the rodent damage, allegedly caused by the soy-based wiring, the Subaru class action lawsuit states.

The last straw came when on August 24, 2017, just days after her last costly repair, Shuey drove her vehicle back to the Servco Subaru Maui service facility and reported that the digital dashboard was malfunctioning with fuel gauge bars not displaying, a low fuel light was blinking, and the engine light was on. Servco discovered that the rear wiring harness had been damages and noted “rats chewed wiring harness”.  The damage cost Shuey $2,433.40 to repair.

Shuey says she has tried to prevent rodents from chewing the soy-based wiring, including rat traps, home remedies, and even spraying coyote urine every single night on top of each front wheel and on top of the air filter.

However, despite these efforts and the fact many Subaru owners have experienced similar rat-related problems, as evidenced by several online complaints, Subaru refuses to cover repairs for these vehicles, leaving owners with little choice but to pay thousands out-of-pocket. Shuey asserts that Subaru could have easily avoided this issue if it had paid more for a non-soy based insulation, but instead the vehicle maker chose profits at the expense and safety of their customers.

The proposed soy wiring Subaru class action lawsuit seeks to represent a class of consumers who purchased Subaru vehicles sold or distributed by Servco Subaru during the period Nov. 22, 2013 to the present. Along with recovery for monetary damages, Shuey is requesting the court grant a permanent injunction requiring Subaru to replace all insulated wiring, hoses and lines subject to rodent damage on all Class members’ vehicles.

Shuey and the proposed Class are represented by James J. Bickerton, Bridget G. Morgan, and Christopher S. Bouslog of Bickerton Dang LLLP.

The Soy Wiring Subaru Class Action Lawsuit is Joy Diane Shuey, et al, vs. Servco Subaru, Inc, et al, Case No. 17-1-0490, in the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, State of Hawaii.


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