Car troubles – there’s a mouse in the engine!

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 10:01 pm by admin

Last evening I followed Daniel to the local Nissan dealer in my car. He was dropping his car off for state inspection and wanted them to check a progressive hesitation on acceleration he’s noticed for several months. This morning, it took less than fifteen minutes to drive him to work. Just after 11:00 I received an email from him with the subject line reading “Rodent Problems”. I thought it was a joke of some kind. As it turns out, his problem was with mice. They had made a nest in the air intake filling the air filter with nesting material, seeds and poop, and they had chewed the coil wires. The wires had to be spliced and shrink-wrapped, and the air filter was simply cleaned. He has just 9,000 miles on the car, and it’s only two years old. The mechanic told Daniel over the phone he sees this quite often.

I assumed when Daniel wrote about rodents, he never stated mice, that it was probably squirrels. Over the years, I’ve seen squirrels come out of the grill of various cars I’ve owned. I picked Daniel up from work and we drove to the dealer. After Daniel paid the bill, I popped the hood and there all over the engine were mouse droppings. As we were pulling out from the dealer, I had to wait for traffic to clear and Daniel made it through the intersection before the light turned red. I had to wait for the next green light, and just as I crossed the intersection my cell phone rang. It was Daniel, his car had died at the next intersection a mile down the road. He coasted down the road and turned off onto a side street. I told him to immediately call the dealer and tell them to send a tow truck.

I found him parked about four feet from the curb so I pushed his car as he steered it to the curb. About ten minutes later, the mechanic who worked on his car drove up in his own car. He connected a computer to the car and found that the electronic throttle wasn’t registering. He guessed that perhaps a few seeds or nesting material had been scattered when he cleaned the filter, and then sucked into the throttle which caused the engine to stall. He was able to get the car running and he drove it back to the dealer. I drove Daniel home. Sometime after 9:00 this evening, the mechanic called and told Daniel he had a new throttle assembly in stock and replaced it at no charge.

Tomorrow I’ll take Daniel to work and then we’ll drive to the dealer in the afternoon to pick it up.


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