Monday, June 2, 2014

Pack rats ate the Ken Carr car

The Ken Carr car is still broKEN.

But, I've gotten a possible first clue what may be wrong with it:  A pack rat attack.

Thanks to a Facebook connection, a really nice guy I've never met before named Barry was kind enough to come over to my apartment complex today where my car is currently sitting (and won't start).  He works at a local auto shop and has mechanical knowledge I only wish I had.

He hooked up a device to the computer on my car and it showed a failure code.  Then, we popped open the hood.  He pointed to the exposed firewall insulation and said, "Pack rats have been in here".

Here's a description from the 'Pack Rat' Wikipedia entry that describes their behavior:

"Pack rats are nest builders. They use plant material such as branches, twigs, sticks, and other available debris. Getting into everything from attics to car engines, stealing their ‘treasures’, damaging electrical wiring, and creating general noisy havoc can easily cause them to become a nuisance.  A peculiar characteristic is that if they find something they want, they will drop what they are currently carrying, for example a piece of cactus, and "trade" it for the new item. They are particularly fond of shiny objects. These two traits have inspired an anecdote about a man finding his dime replaced by two nickels. They can also be quite vocal and boisterous."

"Getting into everything from attics to car engines".  Car engines.  There's my problem.

My best guess (without any actual evidence but a solid theory) is that my car encountered a hungry pack rat (or rats) while it was parked in the back gated lot where I work at KGUN 9.  It's located next to an adjacent field where I've seen all kinds of desert dwelling creatures from rabbits, bobcats, and a snake or two... and apparently pack rats.  I have been parking my car in that lot for the last couple of years because it always has an open spot.  My car sits there each day I'm at work for about ten hours and obviously was ripe for the chewing.

Barry's initial guess is that there may be an electrical issue related to a pack rat attack.  He attempted to start the car, it cranked but wouldn't start.  The battery is getting weak from the attempts so he's going to return tomorrow with a 'jump box' to give the battery some extra juice and a floor jack to see under the car to possibly determine what kind of electrical damage the pack rat(s) may have caused.  I'm hoping for the best but fearing the worst.

If it turns out that pack rats caused the damage that have incapacitated my ride, I'm going to buy a large mouse trap and tape it to the bottom of the car.  That'll show 'em.

One of these cars has been attacked by pack rats.
Unfortunately, it appears to be the one I own.